MESA supports Wellington Junior Physicists Tournament

In November last year MESA sponsored the local physics competition Wellington Junior Physicists Tournament (WJPT) with prizes for the winning team.

WJPT is a physics competition where students under the age of 15 years work to solve three open-ended physics problems. This year the problems were:

1. Floatation
A piece of chocolate, which is dropped into a glass of soda water, periodically sinks and goes back to the surface. Investigate the dependence of the period of these oscillations on various parameters.

2. Flour craters
If you drop a small object in flour, the impact will produce a surface structure which looks like a moon crater. What information about the object can be deduced from the crater?

3. Sound from water
When you heat water in a kettle you hear a sound from the kettle before the water starts to boil. Investigate and explain this phenomenon.

The participants compete in teams of three students and each round the team presents their solution to a problem and another team poses critical questions and discusses the findings. The two teams are then scored by a jury of physicists and teachers on how well they performed.


The winning team came from Onslow College in Johnsonville. The prize was a Arduino kit in a laser cut box (designed by Leo Browning) and a VIP tour of some of the labs at the MacDiarmid Institute at VUW. After the tour they were taught how to use their new arduino kits and how to find more information about Arduino.



Thank you to Felicia Ullstad, Shyamal Prasad, Leo Browning and Matthias Meyer for lab tours and teaching the students to use Arduinos.