Turkish high school boffins outsmart rivals to top international physics contest

Turkey scooped three gold and two silver medals to claim victory at the 3rd European Physics Olympiad in Riga, Latvia.

Yunus Emre Parmaksız, Alkın Kaz and Abdurrahman Hadi Ertürk struck gold while Kutay Akın and Bayram Alp Şahin received silver medals at the event, which ran from 31 May to 4 June 2019.

The all-male team’s haul meant Turkey finished top of a table of 35 countries with 136.5 points, nearly 20 more than closest rivals Estonia, who picked up one gold and three silver medals.

Slovenia were third on 112.3 points.

The results were revealed in a series of tweets by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and also posted on the Olympiad’s official website.

Mustafa Varank, Turkey’s Technology and Industry Minister, congratulated the brainy boys on Twitter.

“We are grateful to the students who brought us this achievement and pride,” he wrote.

“We are going to implement Turkey’s incredible potential in science and technology with our science-dedicated youth.”

The first European Physics Olympiad was held in Estonia in 2017, with last year’s event hosted in the Russian capital Moscow.

The concept for the competition is “similar to real research situations, with short problems description and plenty of space for creative solutions”, according to the European Physics Olympiad Facebook page.

This year’s competition included participants from outside of Europe too. Student teams came from Armenia, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, adding to the international feel of the event.

The youngsters will now be gearing up for the physics “world cup” – the International Physics Olympiad. The event will take place in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv from 7 to 15 July.


Main photo, top, of Turkish high school physics team, whose performance topped the medals table at European Physics Olympiad (EuPhO), Latvia, 2019. Photo © Twitter / TUBITAK