Luke Porteous and Stanley Sarkies have been selected to join the New Zealand International young Physicists Squad which will compete in a week long physics tournament in England later this year. Stanley and Luke have been chosen alongside 6 other New Zealand students to compete for 5 places in the final team which will be announced after training camps in May and June. Exciting times indeed and a wonderful achievement for both students continuing a tradition of outstanding results at these competitions for Wellington High students.

The International Young Physicist Tournament is an organisation which runs the annual ‘Physics World Cup’ in which national teams from all over the world ‘fight’ with physics. A list of 17 problems are published a year in advance and each team is challenged to present a solution to a problem. The 12 minute presentation is then challenged by the opposing team in a debate to determine the correct solution. A team of jurors award points for good physics, for presentation and for good critical thinking.

Following the Wellington High team victory at the regionals and silver medal-winning second place at the New Zealand final, Luke Porteous and Stanley Starkies were selected to join the NZ International Young Physicist Squad, competing with six other students from Kings, Grammar, AGC Parnell, Burnside and Riccarton, for the five places in the New Zealand Young Physics Team.

Students were given just two weeks to investigate and produce solutions to an intriguing open-ended problem. Luke had to investigate and explain the movement of a ball when it is placed on a rotating saddle-shaped surface. Stanley investigated the way in which the surface of a balloon cools when it rapidly deflates.

At the selection meeting, each student was ‘auditioned’ for a place in the NZ team. They were given just 15 minutes to present the fruits of their intense two-week project and then were asked probing questions from the selectors. The standard was very high, all eight students were definite possibles…. but in the end both Wellington High boys made the cut.

This year the final will be at the historic public school of Shrewsbury School, in England. Teams from up to thirty countries are expected to attend for the week-long physics tournament.

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