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Randolph to host international high school physics tournament

More than 100 high school physics students and around 100 additional teachers, industry professionals, and other guests from around the world will travel to Randolph College for the annual United States Association for Young Physicists’ Tournament (USAYPT) next week.

The first four rounds of the two-day tournament will take place Friday, Jan. 29, and rounds 5-7 will be on Saturday morning, Jan. 30. In these opening rounds, the 12 competing teams will debate answers to open-ended physics questions, and responses will be judged by a panel of six jurors. The winning teams will advance to playoff rounds on Saturday afternoon, and the champion will be announced at a closing ceremony in Smith Hall Theatre.

A member of the USAYPT Board, physics professor Peter Sheldon is the organizer for the 2016 competition, and helped Randolph become the first college to host the tournament.

“It really is a high-energy competition,” Sheldon said. “It involves solving high-level physics problems, but teams also have to have debate skills in order to convince the judges that they have the best solution to those problems.”

In addition to the head-to-head team matchups, Randolph physics professor Katrin Schenk will deliver the keynote address, Mobile Monitoring, and students will participate in a poster competition Saturday. Students will also be offered tours of the Randolph campus.

“I feel very privileged and honored to be able to bring this kind of competition to our campus,” Sheldon said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for these students to compete and demonstrate their skills, but it’s also a chance for the College to show some of the brightest students from around the world what Randolph College is and what we can offer them.”

Members of the College community are welcome to attend tournament events. For more information about USAYPT, visit http://www.usaypt.org/



Friday, January 29
– 9:30 a.m. – Opening Ceremony with welcome from Randolph College President Bradley W. Bateman, Smith Hall Theatre
– 10 a.m. – Round 1 begins in Nichols Theatre and Quillian Conference Room, and Klein Board Room (Student Center); Alice Ashley Jack Room and Anne Jeter Ribble Lounge (Smith Memorial Building); and in Classroom 537 (Leggett Building)
– 11 a.m. – Round 2 begins (same locations as round 1)
– Noon – Round 3 begins (same locations as round 1)
– 2 p.m. – Round 4 begins (same locations as round 1)
– 3 p.m. – Keynote address by physics professor Katrin Schenk, Smith Hall Theatre
Saturday, January 30
– 9 a.m. – Round 5 begins in Nichols Theatre, Quillian Conference Room, and Klein Board Room (Student Center); Classrooms 535, 537, and 602 (Leggett Building)
– 10 a.m. – Round 6 begins (same locations as round 5)
– 11 a.m. – Round 7 begins (same locations as round 5)
– 12:45 p.m. – Announcement of “playoff” teams and draw for playoff matrix, Smith Hall Theatre
– 1 p.m. – Playoff round 1 begins in Smith Hall Theatre
– 2 p.m. – Playoff round 2 begins in Smith Hall Theatre
– 2 p.m. – Swartz Poster Session, Hampson Commons (Student Center)
– 3 p.m. – Playoff round 3 begins in Smith Hall Theatre
– 4 p.m. – Playoff round 4 begins in Smith Hall Theatre
– 5 p.m. – Closing ceremony in Smith Hall Theatre


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