Azerbaijan International

Autumn 2002 (10.3)

Azeri Youth Win Physics Olympiad Gold
by Jean Patterson

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 in Baku.

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."


Back to Index AI 10.3 (Autumn 2002)
AI Home
| Search | Magazine Choice | Topics | AI Store | Contact us

Other Web sites created by Azerbaijan International
| |