Norwich Science Olympiad July 1-2 2009

Robin Catchpole

The Frank Halliwell Memorial Lecture at the secondary event was The Universe Unveiled by Dr Robin Catchpole, Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University

The lecture took us on a tour of the heavens; from the Solar System to the edge of the Observable Universe. Dr Catchpole explained that light is the messenger. It tells us what things are made of, and, because light travels at a finite speed, it allows us to look back in time, as we look deep into space. His magnificent images were used to illustrate a journey which told us how and where stars are born, how they die, what happens when galaxies collide, why we think there is more dark matter than ordinary matter, and how the ultimate fate of the Universe is controlled by something mysterious called vacuum energy.

An Egg trophy

The day of competitions for the primary children took as its theme the Year of Astronomy. Some of the children tried to build vitamin C powered rockets while others were trying to land an egg safely on the moon's surface, some had to build a gantry in order to launch a rocket and the others were busy with a buggy which was destined for planetary exploration.

Winners of the competitions are presented with trophies and gold, silver and bronze medals. The primary trophies were originally for "Egg Races" hence the magnificent wooden eggs that the school keeps for the subsequent year.

Finals were also held of the internet based quiz Top Class which runs in the terms prior to the Olympiad. Both primary and secondary competitions had lavish stage-show finals.

The primary final of Top Class

Programme of events

Download secondary programme here.