Winners of the high school science competition have been presented their awards by the FZU director

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Coilgun, observation and processing of miner planet occultation using CMOS cameras or determination of the atomic structure of surfaces using ion scattering - these are the winning works in the field of physics of the 44th year of the national showcase of high school scientific activities. The students were presented their awards by the FZU director Michael Prouza and his deputy Antonín Fejfar.

After two years, thanks to the #socjededal initiative, the competition was restored in a face-to-face format, and sixteen finalists competed in physics alone. "Your choice of physics was definitely the right one. It is a field in which we have long held leading positions, and this is evidenced by the recently published results of the 2022 Shanghai ranking by field, which compares universities worldwide," Antonín Fejfar began the awarding ceremony and at the same time excused Jakub Hadač’s absence. Jakub placed second in the competition and collected his cheque in Prague later.

"I am happy to meet talented students who have fallen under the spell of physics, and I hope that the visit to our unique laboratories motivated you to the offered internships and that after completing your studies you will join us and contribute to the solution of the fundamental problems of physics," the director of the Institute of Physics, Michael Prouza, welcomed the students.

Then it was the awarded students’ turn. "This year I entered a modified Maturita exam paper titled Coilgun. My supervisor wanted me to have entered the paper the previous year, but I didn't really want to because the competition was held online due to COVID-19," explained the winner of the competition, Mathias Palme, during the ceremony. The quality of the submitted paper is also evidenced by its nomination for the Czech Head award. A graduate of the Liberec grammar school Doctrina – Podještědské gymnázium is going to enrol at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in the autumn.

"It is certainly a good choice, the Institute of Physics cooperates closely with the faculty, and associate professor Stanislav Vítek also serves on our supervisory board. At the faculty, I would definitely advise you to attend lectures by professor Petr Kulhánek, who works at the Department of Physics," praised the choice of future studies the director of the Institute of Physics, Michael Prouza.

Matyas Výhonský from Gymnázium Zlín, who competed with a paper called Determining the Atomic Structure of Surfaces Using Ion Scattering, was also presented a cheque in the director's office.  After graduation, he is going to study at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University, and the director recommended this choice as well.

Accompanied by Antonín Fejfar, the winners of the competition went to see the pulsed terawatt iodine laser in the PALS centre with a laboratory and peeked into a special laboratory for testing silicon detectors where components for CERN are tested. The head of the laboratory, Marcela Mikeštíková, told them about the laboratory itself and about the contribution of the Institute of Physics to this year's CERN upgrade.

"The high school science competition (SOČ) offers students the opportunity to focus on a physics issue of their choice throughout the whole year, to prepare a final report on the results, which they then defend in front of an expert committee in regional or even national rounds of the competition. In contrast to Physics Olympiads, where participants must solve assigned theoretical or experimental tasks in a single day, the SOČ competition gives students an opportunity to focus on the chosen theoretical or experimental work long-term and systematically, often resulting in the construction of functional apparatus. The winners of the national round of the competition can continue in international competitions and in the study of physics or technical fields at Czech or foreign universities, where, according to our experience, they are among excellent students and graduates," explains František

Fendrych, who has been working for the Institute of Physics for 12 years as a judge for the field of physics in the national rounds of the competition.

The 44th year of the SOČ competition, organized by the National Pedagogical Institute of the Czech Republic, took place in Kutná Hora at the Jiří Orten grammar school again after ten years. The patronage of the field of physics was assumed by the director of the Institute of Physics, Michael Prouza.

Competition results:

  1. Mathias Palme (CZK 5000) Coilgun, Doctrina – Podještědské gymnázium, Sokolovská 328, 460 14 Liberec 14, Liberec Region

  2. Jakub Hadač (CZK 3000) Observation and processing of miner planet occultation using CMOS cameras, Gymnázium Václava Hlavatého, Poděbradova 661, 440 01 Louny, Ústí Region

  3. Matyas Výhonský (CZK 2000) Determining the atomic structure of surfaces using ion scattering, Gymnázium Zlín – Lesní čtvrť, Lesní čtvrť III, 1364, 760 01 Zlín, Zlín Region