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NewVIc students win the British Physics Olympiads using a spoon





16 March 2017


NewVIc students win the British Physics Olympiads using a spoon


Two NewVic Students Gabriela Silva and Lorena Mhilli, both in their first year of A levels, participated in the National British Physics Olympiad's Experimental Project and won commendations for their outstanding work.


With 50 entrants in the national competition; both students will now have the opportunity to enter the international contest. The British Physics Olympiad is based at the University of Oxford and is a charitable trust managed by five committee members, run by a large team of volunteer physics teachers and academics from across the country, they work to encourage the study of Physics and promote excellence in young physicists throughout the world through their five competitions:

  • Physics Challenge (GCSE)

  • AS Challenge

  • A2 Challenge

  • British Physics Olympiad

  • Experimental project

This year the Experimental project, set by BPHO, was titled theRotational Motion of a Rattleback. Both students had to observe measure and determine the behaviour of the toy. Faced with adversities Gabriela explained "We found out about competition ourselves and didn't have long to complete, we did not have the correct instrument so had to make a rattleback with a spoon. The project was concerned with the rotational motion of a ‘boat-like objet,the rattleback, theclockwise and anticlockwise rotational motion, so at times it was difficult to record".


Remarkably both students have been studying in the UK for under 8 months, Gabriela was born in the UK, but spent most of her life in Brazil and returned here 7 months ago to study Maths, but since doing this project said ‘'I thought I wanted to pursue a career in Maths, but since doing the project I am much more interested in physics now''


Lorena said "I really enjoyed the project my passion is in Physics, however I would like to pursue a career in finance, I came here 7 months ago and I'm glad because of all these opportunities"


The girls' research included experimental tables, graphs, recordings of all stages and an experimental report. Tony Dunn Physics A-level teacher, who supported them, said ‘the Olympiad is a very prestigious award, both Gabriela and Lorena worked independently, so we are very proud that our students have received this award.''

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NewVIc (Newham Sixth Form College) is a place to learn, thrive and achieve for students aged 16-18. It combines high quality facilities with excellent teaching, tailored support and a strong sense of community. An investment of £10million in a new building which opens in 2017 provides a new university-style learning resource centre and lecture theatre.


Established in 1992, the College celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2017. It has 2,500 students and is based in Plaistow, Newham.



BPhoThe British Physics Olympiad is a charitable trust overseen by a committee of trustees. On a day to day basis the BPhO is   run by five committee members and run by a large team of volunteer physics teachers and academics from across the country. There is always an opportunity for new teachers to become involved in one of the many aspects of the BPhO, from writing questions, checking exam papers, supporting students through online mentoring, coming to one of the training camps, developing questions for the team, helping with practical experimental training or helping to develop the BPhO in new ways. With the BAAO we are looking for interest and expertise in a new field. Teachers develop their skills through gradually becoming involved and one does not join the team as a fully-fledged expert in this field. A Management Committee steers the BPhO, coordinates the events and training camps and oversees the general running.