In August 2023, Mali Jongman-Rios was selected to represent the UK for The International Physics Olympiad team after successfully completing all the various stages in the national competition.
The International Physics Olympiad is the World Championship Competition for college students that is held in a different country each year. The first IPhO was held in Poland in 1967 and this year it took place in Tokyo, Japan. Over the years, the competition has expanded to include participants from over 80 countries from five continents.
Over the course of Mali’s week-long excursion to Tokyo, she was tasked with completing two exams, which consisted of five-hour papers on experimental and physics theory. Throughout this process, Mali would be contained in a small, office-styled cubicle, which she commented was quite the experience.
I have never felt five hours pass so fast! I was so engaged in the experimental equipment and questions to notice the clock ticking. It was also quite amusing to have to stick out a flag with 'help' or 'toilet' whenever you needed something!Mali Jongman-Rios
I am honoured to have had the opportunity to take part in this incredible experience. Although I was thrilled to receive a bronze medal, the most important part of this journey was the activities and the friends I made along the way. The members of the UK team and from other countries were fantastic. It was one of the best weeks of my life and a memory I will cherish forever!Mali Jongman-Rios
Aside from completing exams in the National Youth Olympics Center in Tokyo, Mali had the opportunity to explore Japan and some of the fantastic cultural activities that it has to offer. From drinking tea (Sado), partaking in Japanese calligraphy (Shodo), learning the art of Aikido and even visiting a Japanese-style festival, where her group did a traditional dance to the YMCA, Mali certainly kept herself busy!
Mali also took part in four excursions in Tokyo and around the Kanto region. During her half-day excursion in Tokyo, she visited Yokohama, the Skytree and the famous Shibuya crossing. Her group would also visit Kamakura, where they visited a temple, saw a giant Buddha, and drank matcha in a bamboo forest.
After a long coach journey but well worth it visit to Hakone, Mali went on a pirate ship ride where she had a view of the torii gates on Lake Ashino, and on the way back was able to get a view of Mount Fuji too!
By the end of the competition, the UK team managed to walk away with a full batch of five medals, including three silver and two bronze, one of which now belongs to Mali. We want to congratulate the entire team on their success and Mali for representing the UK and the College and her fantastic accomplishments.