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Outstanding Talents in Physics

February 8th, 2019

Physics Olympiad at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron in Hamburg

It was "full commitment to physics" from February 2nd – 8th for the 49 students who came together in Hamburg from all over Germany for the national round of the selection competition for the International Physics Olympiad 2019 at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY). Young talents from a selection of almost 900 participants qualified for this round and demonstrated their physical skills in demanding theoretical and experimental tasks. Fifteen participants impressed the jury with particularly good solutions and made it to the German final round, where the five German Olympic athletes will compete in Garching in April. These five physics geniuses will then be able to compete against international competitors in Tel Aviv in July 2019.

The Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN) at Kiel University organizes the annual selection competition for the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO), the Physics Olympiad in Germany, on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and in cooperation with the Ministries of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder.

This year the federal round took place at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg. A team of scientists from DESY, the competition management at the IPN and former participants carried out the tasks and experiments. They presented some challenges to the young physicists, who had already managed to assert themselves nationwide in two preliminary rounds among about 880 students: Scattering of electron beams, sliding conductors, the giant magnetoresistance and the inflation of a balloon were only some of the topics of the week.

In addition to the exams, the young talents could also explore exciting physical phenomena. The seminars and tours offered in the afternoons showed many aspects of the relationship to current research topics at DESY. A colorful supporting program that included a visit to the Airbus plant and a variety of contact opportunities with employees and working groups of the research center rounded off the program for the students. Equally important, however, were the meetings with like-minded people and the lively exchange among each other.

At the award ceremony, Prof. Melanie Schnell gave a lecture entitled "Spectroscopy and the Molecular Fingerprint" in which she gave insights into another exciting field of research at DESY. Afterwards, Manfred Fleischer, Research Manager High Energy Physics at DESY, Arnulf Quadt, former board member of the German Physical Society (DPG), Felix Klein, deputy chairman of the young DPG, Thomas Bressau from the Hamburg School and Vocational Training Authority and Stefan Petersen, competition director of the Physics Olympiad in Germany, honored the young talents for their outstanding performance in physics.

The 15 best young physicists on the German team qualifying for the final round of the Physics Olympiad in April in Garching are:

1st place: Tobias Messer, Martin-Andersen-Nexö-Gymnasium (Dresden)
2nd place: Jonathan Gräfe, Grammar School Dresden-Bühlau (Dresden)
3rd place: Max Schneider, "Glückauf"-Gymnasium (Dippoldiswalde)
4th place: Erik Sünderhauf, Landesgymnasium Sankt Afra (Meissen)
5th place: Lucas Kersten, Fallstein-Gymnasium (Osterwieck)
6th place: Jannis Hering, Schadow-Gymnasium (Berlin)
7th place: Lukas Hellmann, State High School "Albert-Schweitzer" Erfurt (Erfurt)
8th place: Titus Bornträger, Georg-Cantor-Gymnasium (Halle)
9th place: Paul Schmitt, Gymnasium Broich (Mülheim an der Ruhr)
10th place: Luis Glahn, Goerdeler-Gymnasium (Paderborn)
11th place: Timo Hofmann, Wilhelm-Ostwald-School (Leipzig)
12th place: Fabian Raab, Alfred Delp School (Hargesheim)
13th place: Dominik Seip, Tilemann School (Limburg an der Lahn)
14th place: Nick Hartmann, Hansenberg Castle boarding school (Geisenheim)
15th place: Franz Loose, Martin-Andersen-Nexö-Gymnasium (Dresden)

Four particularly young students also received an invitation to the selection seminar for this year's European Science Olympiad for their achievements. They can look forward to a ticket to Almada in Portugal in this overall scientific team competition. The four are Nick Hartmann, Oliver Iwanek, Franz Loose and Tobias Messer.

In addition, two candidates can further deepen impressions gained during the week with a research internship at DESY. The recipients for this special prize were Andreas Faika, Geschwister-Scholl-Schule (Constance) and Kai Käfer, Internatsschule Schloss Hansenberg (Geisenheim). The participants who did not win any of the main prizes in this round also deserve recognition for their remarkable achievements - they reached a slot in the national round among almost 900 participants. As the DPG, the Spektrum der Wissenschaft Verlag and Casio all agree, they have rewarded the students with an annual subscription to a scientific journal and a calculator.

Contact for the competition management:
Dr. Stefan Petersen   
IPN at Kiel University   
Olshausenstrasse 62   
24118 Kiel   
Tel.    +49 (0) 431 880-5120   
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