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Success at the French Physics Olympiads


22 February 2019

Telopea Park School students receive their award in France L-R: Teacher Floriane Michel with students Matthias Guillin, Marion Halas, Isabelle Harris, Laure Petitdidier and one of the members of the jury. (Photo supplied).

Telopea Park School students receive their award in France L-R: Teacher Floriane Michel with students Matthias Guillin, Marion Halas, Isabelle Harris, Laure Petitdidier and one of the members of the jury. (Photo supplied).

Four Telopea Park School Year 9 students came home with the goods after participating in the 26th French Physics Olympiads this year.

With their project ‘Particles in fog’, the group of students were awarded third prize out of 25 schools, of which only two were not French – Telopea Park School and a school from Hanoi.

Guided by their teacher Floriane Michel, the students looked at how many particles crossed the designed cloud chamber per minute. The project was inspired by the cloud chamber exhibition at Questacon, which allows the public to watch as tiny vapour trails form.

Thanks to ANU scientists Cédric Simenel and Matthew Gerathy, the students were able to compare their results to scientific theory.

The students - Matthias Guillin, Marion Halas, Isabelle Harris and Laure Petitdidier - travelled to Lille, France in January-February this year where they presented their project to a panel of judges.

The students - Matthias Guillin, Marion Halas, Isabelle Harris and Laure Petitdidier - travelled to Lille, France in January-February this year where they presented their project to a panel of judges.

“It was a very rewarding and enriching experience for the students. They had to defend their project in front of ten scientists and explained it to the public!” Ms Michel said. “As they were coming from so far away, they were the attraction of the competition and got everyone to taste Vegemite and Tim Tams, including members of the jury.”

Their proud teacher added: They were the youngest of the competition, so they can be very proud of the cohesion in the group, the investment and maturity they’ve shown.”

The competition, organised by a national committee of scientists under the patronage of the French Ministry of Education and the French Ministry of Industry, requires applicants to present a scientific project to a panel of judges.

The Telopea Park School students first presented their project via video-conference on Wednesday 5 December. Of the 46 schools from around the world who entered the semi-final round then, only 25 schools were selected to compete in the finals. Telopea Park School took out first place in the semi-final round and was rewarded with a prestigious spot in the finals round.

“It was our first official success. We were moved, it was a very emotional moment.  At the same time, we were looking forward to participate in the final and travel to France and were proud of our work!”student Matthias Guillinsaid.

The students are their teacher enjoyed some sightseeing whilst in Paris. (Photo supplied)

The students are their teacher enjoyed some sightseeing whilst in Paris. (Photo supplied).