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Boonsboro students compete in Physics Olympics

March 23, 2009

Eleven Boonsboro High School students competed in the 17th annual Central Maryland Physics Olympics Feb. 28 at Liberty High School in Eldersburg, Md. Team A with Andrew Bitner, Chet Price, Tayler Wennick and Tyler Walsh finished sixth place overall out of 49 teams from around the state.

Two other Boonsboro teams also competed. Team B included Thaddeus Atkins, Sean Clark and Matthew Johnson. Team C members were Marcus Allnutt, Craig Buwala, Camille Heim and Tyler Thompson.

The students will compete in a Physics Olympics at University of Maryland College Park on April 18.

Physics Olympians race against the clock using materials provided to build devices that perform a given function, said Boonsboro High physics teacher and team coach Ralph von Philp.

As with Destination Imagination team events, Physics Olympians know ahead of time what three of the tasks will be, but approach the other three tasks blindly. Events test understanding of physics principles and ingenuity of team members.

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This year, the theme "Change!" was common to the events, which included:

o Pennies from Heaven - a challenge to build the most economically successful device from paper and tape to safely deliver a monetary package dropped from a height of four meters

o Bail Out - the goal is to transport as much money as possible across a barrier and place it the greatest distance from the barrier without losing value

o Float a Loan - an event to test which team could build a barge of aluminum foil to float the greatest number of pennies

o Rising Interest Rates - a challenge to build the tallest freestanding tower of four sheets of legal-size paper and plastic tape that can support a roll of pennies at its highest point

o Exchange Rate - answering questions based on the thinking of physicist Enrico Fermi

o Drop in the Bucket - the goal is to build a projectile device using paper towel tubes, pennies, rubber bands, tongue depressors, paper clips and masking tape that will fire an object with the greatest reliability

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