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ORAU hosts U.S. Invitational Young Physicists Tournament for high school scholars

Oak Ridge High School among teams from five U.S. states and China competing at 6th annual edition of physics contest

Feb. 1, 2012

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Timothy Blackwell, Stephen Schwahn, Sean McCord, Richard Merian and Zachary Pickett, students at Oak Ridge High School, will receive a taste of international competition as they compete against a team of students from Shenzhen, China this weekend during the 2012 U.S. Invitational Young Physicists Tournament, hosted by Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

The tournament will take place on Feb. 3-4 in the Pollard Technology Conference Center and Center for Science Education on the ORAU campus, and will also include high school teams traveling from California, Virginia, New York, and Maryland.

“This tournament provides a unique opportunity for high school students to not only complete research, but to also challenge their peers on the same research problem,” said Marie Westfall, group manager of ORAU’s Center for Science Education. “Students also have the opportunity to interact with professional physicists, who act as judges during the tournament.”

Teams will compete against each other in a round-robin tournament, 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 competition is in its sixth year and is the second year it has been held at ORAU.

In addition to competing in the tournament, students will tour Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where they will visit the National Center for Computational Sciences, 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 12:30 p.m. and all day Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. The public may attend all or part of this event at the 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, SAIC and the University of Tennessee Department of Physics.

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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