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Students discover the physics of fencing

Posted on 02/12/2011
The physics of fencing

Teams of sixth formers from schools across the South East visited Royal Holloway, University of London this week for a special science competition in celebration of the upcoming London 2012 Games.

It is one of a series of events held by the College to mark its involvement in the London 2012 Games as an official athlete village. During the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the College will be hosting the world’s elite rowers and sprint canoeists on campus.

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

Schools and Colleges, including Tonbridge School (Kent), Langley Park School for Girls (Berkshire), and Strodes College (Surrey), were invited to enter teams of six students to the Olympic Physics Competition on Wednesday (16 November) to go head-to-head to discover the hidden physics in sport.

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

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

Bob Small, who teaches physics at Langley Park School for Girls, said: “This was a fantastically enjoyable event. The students had a great time and were really involved in all aspects of the day. It was a great mix of education and sport.”

Dr Simon Reynolds, Physics Outreach Officer at Royal Holloway, said: “Our Physics of Fencing event was a great success - the teams from seven different schools all worked really hard and seemed to be inspired by the opportunity to work on something a little different from usual science lessons! It was nice to see so many sixth form students working so well in teams, and getting involved to solve the challenges.”

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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