Autumn 2002 (10.3)
Youth Win Physics Olympiad Gold
This past July 21-30, four students
from Azerbaijan competed and won medals at the 33rd International
Physics Olympiad held in Bali, Indonesia. The annual competition
tests high school students' mastery of physics and identifies
future outstanding physicists. This year's event drew 310 participants
from 69 countries, including China, Russia, Iran and the UK.
Three of this year's 42 gold medalists are from Azerbaijan. They
include: Tural Badirkhanli, who ranked 13th overall, Agshin Heybatov,
who ranked 19th, and Zohrab Niftaliyev, who ranked 27th. Emil
Nurmammadov was a silver medalist. Tural and Emil are recent
graduates of the Azerbaijan Turkey Private Lyceum in Guba, Agshin
is currently an 11th-grade student at the Lyceum in Guba, and
Zohrab is an 11th-grade student at the school's Dada Gorgud branch
Photo: Young physics whizzes Zohrab Niftaliyev, Agshin
Heybatov, Tural Badirkhanli and Emil Nurmammadov received three
gold medals and a silver medal at the International Physics Olympiad
held in Bali, Indonesia this past July.
Individual competitors at the Physics Olympiad sit for two intensive,
five-hour examinations comprising three theoretical problems
and two experimental problems. This year's theoretical problems
related to ground-penetrating radar, biological mechanisms for
sensing electrical signals underwater and the forces that act
on a heavy vehicle moving up a steep incline. The experimental
competition involved problems related to water electrolysis and
optical phenomena. All problems were given to the students in
their native languages.
At the closing ceremony, students were awarded gold, silver or
bronze medals or honorable mentions, according to their scores.
Those who scored at least 90 percent out of 100 percent received
a gold medal.
According to Unolag Zohrab, Head of Olympics Affairs for the
Azerbaijan Turkey Private Lyceum, the students spend several
years preparing for international Olympiads in the areas of Physics,
Chemistry, Biology, Algebra and Information Science. Students
from this Turkish private school system have received a total
of 80 medals in such competitions.
"We start dividing students into groups in the seventh grade,
based on their fields of interest and their exam results,"
Zohrab explains. "The students who are selected to prepare
for the Olympics start their training at the beginning of eighth
grade. On weekends and during summer vacations, they receive
extra instruction from teachers from Baku State and other universities."
"These kids never rest," says Murad Chapan, Vice Chairman
of Educational Affairs for the Azerbaijan Turkey Private Lyceums.
"While all of the other students go home for weekends and
vacations, they stay at school and study. Even when they go home
for 15 days in the summer, they still have assigned homework
to do while they're there."
Chapan adds that the students run a risk if the Olympiad conflicts
with the dates for their college entrance exams. "We worry
about the future of these students," he says. "At schools
like Moscow State Lomonosov University, students who win the
International Olympics can enroll in the university without taking
an exam. But here in Azerbaijan, our students are faced with
a dilemma about their future. If they travel abroad to go to
the Olympics while the entrance exams are being held, then they
have to petition to take a makeup exam later on. Even though
they are the cream of the crop, the Ministry of Education still
requires them to take the exam. If we look at other countries,
students with these kinds of accomplishments wouldn't have any
problem entering universities or institutes. We hope this policy
can be changed in the future."
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