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The hidden physics of sport

Posted on 15/11/2011
Tom Bennett

Teams of sixth formers from local schools will be visiting Royal Holloway, University of London next week for a special science competition in celebration of the upcoming Olympic Games.

Schools and Colleges have been invited to enter the Olympic Physics Competition on Wednesday (16 November) and will go head-to-head to discover the hidden physics in sport.

The day, organised by South East Physics Network (SEPnet) in conjunction with Royal Holloway, is themed around fencing, with the wider SEPnet competition focusing on different Olympic sports.

The Year 12 students from schools across the South East, including Tonbridge School (Kent), Langley Park School for Girls (Berkshire), and Strodes College (Surrey), will spend their day competing in two different physics challenges, both themed on fencing.

Judges will include GB fencer and Royal Holloway alumnus Tom Bennett and staff from the College’s Physics Department. The competition will also include a 45minute fencing tutorial run by British Fencing.

Tom is currently ranked 3rd in the country's Senior Men's Epee and is awaiting news of whether he will qualify for the London 2012 Games.

Dr Simon Reynolds, Physics Outreach Officer at Royal Holloway, said: “Royal Holloway's fencing-themed physics competition is a great opportunity for these Year 12 students! They get to make use of their Physics skills in a competition against teams from other schools, whilst learning all about the sport of fencing. Most will never have had the opportunity to try fencing before, but we have invited British Fencing here to run a taster session for each team.”

He added: “By working for a day with our physics students, in the Founder's Building on campus, this day will hopefully also inspire a few of these young physicists to continue with their studies to university."

This competition is just one of a wide variety of outreach events organised by the Physics Department. The outreach work with school groups is aimed at providing inspirational activities that will re-kindle the students’ interest and aspirations in science and physics in particular.

The events also provide a link to university life, so that people can find out what cutting-edge research is being carried out, and school students can get a taste of what life is like at university.



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