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Two silver and three bronze medals for German student team at the 50th International Physics Olympiad in Tel Aviv

July 29th 2019
Two silver and three bronze medals for German student team at the 50th International Physics Olympiad in Tel Aviv

The German student team of the 50th IPhO in Lisbon. From left to right: Max Schneider (silver), Jonathan Gräfe (silver), Titus Bornträger (bronze), Lukas Hellmann (bronze) and Tobias Messer (bronze)

The five members of the German team have won two silver and three bronze medals at the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) and achieved an 18th place among all participating nations in the top European ranking.

The International Physics Olympiad - IPhO for short - brings together the best young physics talents from the participating countries. They demonstrate their skills in physics and try to win one of the coveted Olympic medals. At the 50th IPhO, which took place in Tel Aviv, Israel, from July 7th to 15th, 2019, 363 students from a total of 78 countries took part. The competition was organized by the Israeli Ministry of Education in cooperation with Tel Aviv University.

Competitors on behalf of Germany:

Titus Bornträger (Georg-Cantor-Gymnasium, Halle)

Jonathan Gräfe (Grammar School Dresden-Bühlau)

Lukas Hellmann (Albert-Schweitzer-Gymnasium, Erfurt)

Tobias Messer (Martin-Andersen-Nexö-Gymnasium, Dresden)

Max Schneider ("Glückauf"-Gymnasium, Dippoldiswalde)

One silver medal each went to Max Schneider and Jonathan Gräfe. Titus Bornträger, Tobias Messer and Lukas Hellmann were awarded a bronze medal. In the unofficial country ranking by points, the German team achieved 18th place among the 78 participating countries and is one of the top 25% of the participating nations. Among the 42 European delegations, the German team even took 6th place. The most successful participating countries and also the most successful Olympic athletes once again come from Asia.

The five students of the German national team won a ticket for the competition at the four-stage Physics Olympiad in Germany among almost 900 students nationwide and were then prepared for the IPhO. Accompanying them to Tel Aviv were Dr. Stefan Petersen from the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN), who is responsible for the selection and training of the team, Bastian Hacker (MPQ Garching) and Philipp Schmitt (University of Copenhagen), two former IPhO participants.

In Israel, the participating delegations found an excellently organized competition. Extensive tasting of Israeli cuisine and insights into the multicultural society were as much a part of the competition as excursions to the country's various sights.

A central element of IPhO, however, were the theoretical and practical physics problems that the Olympians worked on in two five-hour exams. These were thematically exciting and extremely challenging. The theoretical tasks covered the case of a Slinky spring, the functioning of a microwave and a thermoacoustic machine. The practical exercises included high-precision optical measurements and investigations of the thermal conductivity of metals. As in the previous year, the assignments were so broad that most of the participants lacked the time to fully appreciate them. In the otherwise excellently prepared assignments, only about a quarter of the Olympians were able to achieve more than 35% of the maximum number of points in the end.

The team of the Physics Olympiad in Germany would also like to thank all supporters of the competition for this past year and is looking forward to a successful selection competition for the 51st IPhO 2020.

Dr. Stefan Petersen

Olshausenstrasse 62
24098 Kiel
Ph.: +49 (0)431 / 880-5120
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