Jayme Russell | August 4, 2014
On July 24, the Department of Physics and Notre Dame’s Physics Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program hosted the annual Physics Olympics in the Jordan Hall of Science. REU students from Michigan State, Purdue, and Notre Dame participated in the challenges. The Physics Olympics allows the REU students from these three universities to participate in friendly competition.
The contest included three main events to test the students’ physics knowledge and hands-on skills. From plastic straws, aluminum foil, and rubber bands, the students designed and built rafts. Ultimately, the rafts were then tested for the maximum amount of weight that each could carry without sinking. The students also built electromagnets from copper wire, nails, tape, and batteries. These closed circuits were then used to attract as many paperclips as possible, therefore testing the students’ ability to maximize the strength of their electromagnets.