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Neil Eckersley, Former Pupil and Theatre Producer

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Pupils Enjoy Physics Olympics

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Forget London 2012, the only Olympics on the minds of budding Year 9 scientists from across the Bolton borough was a Physics Olympics.  The second such "Olympics" held at Bolton School saw teams of four gifted and talented students from 16 local secondary schools compete in a series of day-long challenges while utilising the expertise and facilities at the School.

The event was organised by Mr Brendan Ickringill, who is Bolton's Ogden Physics Teaching Fellow based at Bolton School.  He enthused: "It's been a great day for further stimulating interest in Physics. The pupils have been asked to think and learn but the practical tasks they have been set have been fun and have really engaged them with the subject matter, showing them how Physics is applied to real life situations. There has been a real buzz as pupils and teachers have enjoyed spending the day surrounded by fellow enthusiasts.  I would like to offer my thanks to the teachers involved in making today such a success and to our own Sixth Form students who have been a great help throughout the day." 

Each school sent a team of four pupils (with some schools sending two teams) who moved around the laboratories undertaking five 30 minute Physics-related tasks.  Delayed Timing involved pupils having to maximise the time a ball-bearing spends on a ramp over a set distance; Generation X saw them constructing a turbine to turn a generator to produce the highest possible voltage; they attempted to build and launch an air-powered rocket in the Pressure Bullseye challenge; Sink or Swim, using marbles, tested their understanding of buoyancy; and Jelly Baby Towers their construction skills.

Mrs Barbara Grundy, North West Consultant for the Ogden Trust, attended the event and thanked the pupils for their participation by saying: "I am so pleased to see so many pupils involving themselves in Physics and I hope we have inspired some of them to consider going on to study Physics at A level and beyond." 

The overall winners on the day was a team from Westhoughton High School, second was St Joseph's Roman Catholic High School and third was Rivington and Blackrod.  Every pupil walked away with a goody bag containing various Physics related items from the Ogden Trust and the Institute of Physics. 

Bolton School was the first school in the country and second only to the University of Warwick in having an in-residence Ogden Physics Teaching Fellow.

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Westhoughton High School - Physics Olympics winners

The 2012 Physics Olympics winners at Bolton School was Westhoughton High School

Rivington and Blackrod School

Rivington and Blackrod pupils get to grips with the Jelly Baby Towers exercise

Mount St Joseph

St Joseph's Roman Catholic High School pupils take on the Delayed Timing challenge