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The Schmooze

Israeli Teenagers are Winners at the International Physics Olympiad

The Israeli team at the 42nd International Physics Olympiad returned home from Bangkok, Thailand with some serious bling around their necks. Each of the team’s five members came home with a prize. The teenagers won five medals – two gold, two silver and one bronze – ranking Israel 13th in the world, four places higher than last year.

Delegations from 84 countries attended the competition this past week, which included a theoretical examination and a practical examination. In May, the Physics Olympiad for Asia was hosted at Tel Aviv University and involved 120 youth from 16 different countries. At that competition, the Israelis won a gold, a silver and two bronze medals.

The Israeli team was greeted upon their return by Education Minister Gideon Saar at Ben-Gurion International Airport. The gold medalists are Gal Dor from Petah Tikvah and Asaf Rosen from Modiin. Gur Peri from Mazkeret Batya and Ben Feinstein from Modiin received silver medals, and Aviv Frenkel from Netanya is the bronze medalist.

These high school students and recent graduates rose to the top from an original pool of 2,500 students nationwide who underwent a grueling elimination process of tests and physics camps.

In an interview for a local Modiin newspaper, silver medalist Ben Feinstein said, “It was fun to meet so many people from so many countries and to discover that we have a lot in common with them. Not just physics, it turns out that we are all teenagers with a lot of common interests.”

It wasn’t all just fun and socializing though. Although he found the exams at the international competition to be easier than the ones earlier this year in Israel, they were still pretty hard – even for physics prodigies. “There were all together three theoretical questions, which we took five hours to answer. Two days later we had five lab hours to work on two practical questions. It was challenging.”

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