July 14, 2021

Q&A session with Jeff Wiener


In the last session of this season we had the great opportunity of having Jeff Wiener with us on our Q&A session. Jeff is a staff scientist, managing CERN's national and international teacher programme and conducting physics education research with high school teachers and students. Besides, he is investigating how best to use medical applications of particle physics as a tool for science diplomacy in low- and middle-income countries.

In the Q&A session we discussed, how it is working at CERN, and why there are people working there 24 hours a day, since when the experiments are done, they are running without a stop for a long period of time. He gave us ways how students could start working there. And we talked about the intricacies of working in CERN. One of my favourite stories Jeff talked about was about napkins. In the cafeteria in CERN, a couple of years ago the food providers wanted to stop giving paper napkins, but the scientists at CERN were enraged. The reason for this was because usually during lunch, when they are talking about what they were doing that day and explaining the problems they have come across, it is in these moments that often breakthroughs happen, and the solutions are always written down on these paper napkins. It is said that all of the important ideas are written down on napkins in CERN

We hope to have more brilliant people with us in the Q&A sessions next year as well.

The end of season 11


The 11th season of School of Young physicists is over. Another year full of interesting physics and fun experiments. In the second half of the season, we had sessions, in which we learned about computer modeling, and how we use math, programming and physics to simulate the reality on the amazing computers. The second one was about units, we explored the SI unit system and the bizarre world of natural units, where we say that the speed of light is equal to the Planck’s constant and both are equal to 1. In the third session we explored the world of biophysics and how physics can explain the deep blue of the morpho butterflies wings, we also looked at the interesting problem of protein folding, and why solving this problem is so important for the future medicine. Then followed the session on energy, where we looked at the types of energy and how they transform into one another, and untangled Albert Einstein’s famous equation E = mc2 and the bizarre outcomes it predicts. And we ended on the Standard model of particle physics. We explored the road of a proton in the particle accelerators from the hydrogen atom to the collisions that helped us discover the Higgs Boson particle. Besides that, we looked at symmetries and why they are so important in theoretical physics and of course dug deep into the Standard model to try to understand what it is.

As I said I would keep you updated on our survey of sin and cosine, I can now officially say  to cosine is the superior trigonometric function, as our Q&A session guests have voted in favor of it in 8 to 1.

This has been another great year of physics, and we are looking forward to the what the next season of SYP will bring.

January 14, 2021

Sine or Cosine

This year, to better accommodate to the times right now, we have slightly changed the format of our sessions. Instead of a thorough lecture of the sessions subject by a professor or a professional of it, we have added a Q&A session with them. This allows more of a back and forth discussion between the students and the guest. 

Students present question they want to ask them in the sign-up, which gives them time to think of interesting questions to ask. And after we are done with their questions, as an ending question to the Q&A session, we came up with a question of utmost importance:” Sine or cosine”. So far, in the four sessions we have had, cosine has been the preferred trigonometric function and has won with a result of 3:1. I guess it has better and more useful properties than sine, however, lets wait for the next semester and see what the others will say.

First half of season 11

This is our 11th season of School of Young Physicists. The semester has been full of new challenges, obstacles and hope. We started the semester in September with an in-house session again, for the first time since February, although a significant part of the students joined the session online. However, the hope that Covid would slowly disappear was short lived, and in October we were back only online. 

This semester the sessions covered subjects of artificial intelligence and machine learning, magnetohydrodynamics, astrophysics and orbital mechanics, and the most recent one was computer game physics. In the experimental sessions we studied a rocket and whether it could take off of Mars and orbit it, whether a pan could stop a bullet and many other scenarios.

July 13, 2020

Anniversary session

This was a special year, it was our 10th anniversary season. For ten years we have been giving students the possibility of learning about the intricacies and beauty of physics. Although our initial plan of the season ending session had to be canceled, we adapted and even brought lectures to a larger audience. In this anniversary session a re-run of some the most popular lectures of all 10 seasons combined with a few other interesting topics was given, thus providing the possibility to hear about interesting phenomena and topics to students, who had not heard them before. The video lectures were made by some the founding members of the organization. The lectures covered topics like movie physics, Archimedes force, what is cold, why the Sun shines, pandemic prognosis, molecules in a mole and describing the world with dice. Altogether 7 video lectures were made, and they can be found on our Youtube channel “Jauno Fiziķu skola”. 
We have thoroughly enjoyed this experience and we are looking forward to another ten years of bringing physics to the public.

A recap of season 10

The 10th season of School for Young Physicists was the most successful of all time. The average attendance was the highest ever – around 300 students each session and one of the sessions had the highest evaluation given by students of all ten seasons.
In the second part of the season we covered topics like electronics, sound and acoustics, material physics, quantum physics. And in these sessions, we learned how computers detect and fix errors in digital data, how to build an amphitheater with great acoustics and how we find composite materials. In the in-house experimental sessions, we looked at some interesting circuit designs, measured frequency of a vibrating rubber band and tested the strength of chocolate composite materials.

Despite the difficulties the Covid pandemic caused, we were able to conduct the last two sessions online through Youtube lectures, which can be seen on our Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_V5Wzm6Waj6ouyIPyZOj7w/featured). In these lectures we learned about the history and the progression of quantum physics, and about quantum cryptography. And in the last session, which was our anniversary session we had a re-run of the most popular lectures of SYP history, 7 lectures were published.
And in the annual school cup, with 326 points “Fizmatiķi” claimed victory over “Cikliskie Pingvīni” by only 3 points, which was the closest margin of victory of all years the school cup has been held.
We are looking forward to seeing all the amazing and smart students in autumn hopefully in our home The Science House.

January 14, 2020

Season 10 of School for Young Physicists is here

We are happy to have worked already for a decade to bring bits of the wonderful world of physics to schoolchildren eager to learn. Ten years ago, when the first session took place, we could never have imagined such a continued interest both from physics students and schoolchildren, who already have lots do in their studies. We hope this speaks for the quality of the lessons we provide, and we will keep working hard to improve even more.

After summer, it seems people were impatient for some physics as we gathered a record number of schoolchildren on the first lesson of season 10. We had to accommodate a whopping 340 children, which we could thanks to the new location of the faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Optometry of the University of Latvia.

In the first half of season 10 of SYP we touched upon the physics of telecommunication, the mechanisms of climate, the motion of rotation, and lastly cosmology and astrophysics. A couple of experiments in these lessons were very well received. The children created Faraday cages and using them determined the wavelength used by their telephones, and they discovered and exoplanet using real raw astronomical observation data. Additionally to organizing the sessions in the capital Riga, we also regularly visited cities further away from it so that we can bring these lessons to people who can’t make the regular journey to Riga.