Boonsboro, North High students compete in state Physics Olympics

May 13, 2012

Students and teachers from across Maryland gave up a Saturday for their love of physics at the annual Physics Olympics at the University of Maryland in College Park.

On April 21, three teams from Washington County Public Schools competed in the event, two from Boonsboro High School and one from North Hagerstown High School. It was Boonsboro’s 16th consecutive year at the event and North High’s first.

The Boonsboro White team finished in second place of 18 teams with 271 points (out of a possible 300), the Boonsboro Blue team finished fourth with 262 points and North Hagerstown 15th with 177 points.

In its debut, North High earned the highest score on the mystery question about the temperature of liquid nitrogen. Boonsboro White finished second in the egg drop.

“According to the students, this was a fun way to apply the physics concepts learned in class and to see the different creative approaches from other schools,” North Hagerstown High physics teacher Paula Bright wrote in an email.

Other events required teams to build bridges, balloon distancers (self-propelled vehicle) and projectile launchers in advance, following specific criteria. Paper egg drop devices were prepared at the competition and the laser bull’s-eye, optics and two mystery events were think-on-your-feet challenges.

Ralph von Philp is the physics teacher at Boonsboro High. Both he and Bright helped judge events at the competition.

“The Physics Olympics is a wonderful event because it gives the students a chance to apply their physics knowledge in a setting beyond the regular classroom,” von Philp wrote in an email.

Last year, Boonsboro High had one team that finished second and in 2010, its two teams finished first and second in the event.

Boonsboro Blue team included Rebecca Bushko, Ben Gantz, David Heim, Lee Manolopoulos, Sasha Margob, Tommy Prunty and Mark Johnson.

Students on the Boonsboro White team were Michael Carroll, David George, Seth Greenbaum, Steven Kurapaty, Conor O’Brien, Tyler Politte and Rami Yanes. Aaron George helped prepare for the event, but was unable to attend.

North High’s team members included Shawn Hummer, Alicia LaMarche, Peter Lang, Eli Millman, Ethan Robson, Aydynbek Shubladze, Charles Tark and Jessica Taylor. Carly Lewis supported the event, but was unable to attend.

For more information and to see additional photos and results, go to

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