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Hills Road Students Excel in National Physics and Chemistry Competitions

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20 Jun 2018
Hills Road Chemistry and Physics students have recently achieved magnificent results in several national competitions, including the British Physics Olympiad and UK Chemistry Olympiad.

The College were honoured to welcome the Chairman of the British Physics Olympiad (BPhO), Mr Robin Hughes, who attended an award ceremony to present students with their certificates. A total of 63 Hills Road students took part in the various different rounds of the BPhO with 45 achieving Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates.

The examination-based competition has a dual purpose: to challenge and reward the best physicists in British schools and to select the UK Physics Team for competition at international level. Most students entering the British Physics Olympiad are in Year 13.

Robin Hughes said “The Olympiad competitions provide a focus for enthusiastic and able students to engage in the subject to a greater depth. They are successful through having the courage and determination to take part, risking failure, which is more a perception than an actuality.”

“To try in competitions at this level is to succeed. Many leading professional physicists have taken these papers at school and got nowhere; what has developed their physics is that willingness to persevere, endeavouring to develop an expertise in the field, more than worrying about competition success.”

“The competitions are fun and a focus for many students who want to challenge themselves, but not a signature of future success or failure. You can do either of these with or without the Olympiad, but success is achieved by doing something to succeed and the Olympiads offer that opportunity."

Hills Road student, Robert Vickers has done exceptionally well, receiving a Gold award and also finishing within the top 50 nationally in round one of the competition. In addition to this achievement, he was the only student from Hills Road to enter the British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad (BAAO) competition where he received a Silver award. Robert has been offered a place at the University of Oxford to read Physics.

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Meanwhile, students of Chemistry celebrated their successes in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Olympiad competition, the AD Schools’ Analyst Competition and the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge at a lunch organised by Hills Road Chemistry teachers, including buns iced with the elements of the periodic table, thanks to Chemistry teacher Mrs Summers. 53 Hills Road students took part in the national Chemistry Olympiad competition, making up 1% of the total entry. A stunning 45 students were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze certificates as a result of their academic excellence in the competition.

The Chemistry Olympiad is the leading chemistry competition for students in secondary education across the UK. Run annually, the Olympiad is an opportunity for teachers to challenge their chemistry students, helping them to develop problem solving skills and apply familiar knowledge in new and interesting contexts.