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ORAU to host U.S. Invitational Young Physicists Tournament

High school science competition hosts teams from four states

January 26, 2011

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) has been chosen to host the 2011 and 2012 U.S. Invitational Young Physicists Tournament. This year’s tournament will take place on February 4-5 in the Pollard Technology Conference Center and Center for Science Education on the ORAU campus. High school teams traveling from Virginia, New York, California and Tennessee will compete against each other, alternately presenting and then debating the results of their team’s research on three physics problems. The presentations and debates will be juried by panels of physicists and physics professors and teachers.

“The uniqueness of this competition is that it involves formal presentations of results followed by head-to-head debates on the scientific usefulness of the results, just like the proceeding of a professional scientific research conference,” said Marie Westfall, group manager of ORAU’s Center for Science Education. “We would like to make physics and research more available to pre-college students and believe this competition can help provide the spark to engage the next generation of physicists.”

In its fifth year, the U.S. Invitational Young Physics Tournament is a round-robin tournament between school-based teams debating their proposed solutions to physics problems based on the students’ own research of the problems.

In addition to competing in the tournament, students will tour Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where they will visit the National Center for Computational Sciences, EVEREST Visualization Lab, the High Flux Isotope Reactor, and the Spallation Neutron Source.

Open to the public, the tournament will be held on Friday from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and all day Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. The public may attend all or part of this event at Pollard Auditorium in Oak Ridge. Among the teams competing will be students from Oak Ridge High School.

Sponsors of this year’s U.S. Invitational Young Physicists Tournament include ORAU, ORNL, the American Nuclear Society, the University of Tennessee Department of Physics, and Jeffrey Chapman, an ORNL employee.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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