The 1st International Physics Olympiad took place in April simultaneously in Pembroke, N.C., and the Siberia city of Tomsk.
UNCP’s Physics Olympic team – Posing with Russian physics textbooks are, 1st row from left: Sabrina Fletcher and Stefanie Burr; 2nd row from left: Matt Hoover and Keith Everhart; not in photo are Ron Hunt and Mike Everhart.
Separated by 12 time zones, students at Tomsk State Pedagogical University (TPSU), a prestigious teachers college in Russia, and at UNC Pembroke completed a 100-question examination. TPSU was declared the winner, and the competitors exchanged gifts, according to Dr. Jose D’Arruda, a UNCP physics professor.
“I was very pleased with our students performance, and we will do better next time,” Dr. D’Arruda said.
Irina Luksha, visiting professor from TPSU, proctored the exam at UNCP, and Dr. D’Arruda and chemistry professor Dr. Len Holmes traveled to Tomsk.
“The Russians are outstanding in physics, so it was a good challenge for us,” Dr. Holmes said. “It took brains and courage for our students to volunteer for this.”
UNCP’s student contingent included Sabrina Fletcher, Stefanie Burr, Matt Hoover, Keith Inman, Ron Hunt and Keith Inman, who had the highest score on the U.S. side.
“It was a great experience, and, as a senior, I was happy to be part of the first competition,” Fletcher said.
“I was glad to do it because it showed some areas that I need to work on,” Burr said.
“It was pretty cool to compete against students from another country,” Hoover said.
It was also a learning experience for the UNCP science professors who were able to tour school classrooms and labs and meet with professors and administrators.
“Tomsk has many more physics majors than we do,” Dr. D’Arruda said. “We visited a very well equipped high school classroom. They do a good job.”