January 14, 2024

Ballistics and parallax


We have successfully ended another semester of School of Young Physicists. The last two of last semester's sessions were about ballistics and astronomy. In the former we explored how trajectories of long range projectiles are calculated and how the Coriolis effect is taken into the equation to achieve accurate results. For the practical part our team set up strings from the 7th floor to the 5th floor so that the students could drop a clay ball at a target from a release mechanism that slides along the string, for which they needed to calculate the release time. For the more in depth lecture we had a guest from the Latvian armed forces drone division.

The final session in the last semester was about astronomy. In the popular science lecture we got a chance to learn about extreme objects in space and many methods that are used to calculate distances in the outreaches of space. For the practical task we dived into parallax. We used the parallax method to first calculate how far an object is from a phone on the table, and then we sent the students outside to calculate distance to far away buildings. In the in-depth lecture, we discussed black holes and relativity.

Both of these sessions were met with great reviews and it could be seen that the students had fun during both the lectures and practical task. This season has been a great success, and records have been broken, we are looking forward to the new year.

Season 14 of school of young physicists


We have started the 14th season of School of Young Physicists with flying colours.

At the start of the Autumn semester, we were invited to appear in a national TV morning show, where we had the opportunity to talk about what we do in our monthly sessions. Even before that we had set a new record for attendance with more than 350 students coming to session in September. With every month the amount of ambitious high schoolers and middle schoolers, that we had the chance to educate about numerous concepts in physics, has grown. In September when the topic for the session was nuclear physics, we decided to do something new, since it is hard to touch single atoms. Thus we created a debating competition, where the students could compete in debates on whether nuclear power should or should not be used in our own country. The pro and against argument was assigned randomly. This was surprisingly well received among the students and can be called a definite success.

Our team is happy that the number of students coming in search of knowledge outside of the school program is increasing with hopes that it will increase further.

July 14, 2023

Conclusion of season 13!


The thirteenth season of School of new physicists is over. This has been a long year, a lot has been done, accomplished, worked on. Lets take a look a the most memorable moments.

We have had sessions on engineering physics, culinary physics, optics, quantum physics and chaos.

In the engineering physics session, we learned how we evaluate material properties, and how they are used to construct stable, earthquake proof structures. In the lab work, we had a competition for building the most earthquake proof tower. It was a lot of fun seeing the towers crumble under the pressure.

In culinary physics we looked at how ice crystal size effect ice cream consistency and taste. The microwave was put to test, we learned how it works. In the practical part, we measured how the foam in carbonated drinks decreases in time.

In optics we learned about how to take the best photography, what are the apertures and all the other numbers and letters on your camera. After that, we built our own spectroscopes, and analyzed different light sources.

After that, some quantum physics was necessary, we started from the basics, with the historical development. Then, something new was needed, we learned about what are quantum games, how they are used to analyse simple systems and how to explain the CHSH game.

In the end, we finished chaotically – with chaos. We looked at weather forecasts, and why they tend to be so inaccurate and ended with Romeo and Juliet, and their chaotic love story.

It was great to be together with you all, see you next year.

Activities of the season


This has been one of our best years in recent history. Our attendance has increased, a high of the last few years, reaching more than 350 unique students of our school, not counting people reached at different festivals.

We participated in many different activities. Not only our usual session at our home – The House of sciences, but also went to other cities, and participated in festivals, reaching an audience otherwise unreachable.

All year long, our students competed in our competition – the best test taker. Each session, they had to take a short test of 10 questions about the lectures given. Usually, we give out small prizes for the best test takers, however, this year, we had a much larger prize. We have been working with CERN, and in collaboration with them, two of the best test takers, one girl and one boy, were able to take an all expenses paid trip to the CERN accelerator complex. Two students from the tenth grade were the best, beating all the other, both younger and older highschoolers. And at the start of July, they went on a three-day trip to the accelerator complex, visiting the Latvian scientists working there and enjoying the fruits of their labor. They visited the CMS or compact muon solenoid detector and also the anti-matter factory. Finishing on the anniversary lecture of the discovery of the Higgs boson.

A lot has been accomplished this year, but we are looking forward to the next season, more physics is coming. See you all next year.

January 14, 2023

School of Young Physicists partners with CERN


This year has brought us many new things. One of the most interesting one is our collaboration with the European Organization for Nuclear research, otherwise known as CERN. A surprising, but a welcome guest to our community.

In recent years, Latvia has become a member country of CERN. This brings new opportunities to all Latvian students, especially doctorate students. We have partnered with the Latvian team at CERN on popularizing physics and showcasing the opportunities we have at CERN.

As a part of our collaboration, in September we had a session on particle physics, where we talked about all things CERN. As we have partnered with CERN, we had a live virtual tour of CERN laboratories, accompanied by the Latvian scientists working there. Two scientists working there, virtually joined us here in Latvia, while walking in the CERN campus through the labs. A few other of the Latvian scientists working in CERN joined us also here, for a questions and answers session, where the students were able to ask all questions of interest about how it is to work there, what do you need to do to get there, and especially, something of interest for all of us, how much are they getting paid and many, many other questions. Our partnership brings many opportunities to our students. Throughout the year, we will give out tests, and the best performing girl and boy will get a prize. It will be an all paid two-day trip to CERN. They will be accompanied by one of our members and will be able to see what the scientists do there, experience the amazing scientific atmosphere and see all the amazing equipment they use to discover particles.

Season 13 of School of Young Physicists


We have welcomed 2023 with another School of Young Physicists session.

This year has been a resurgent year for our community, as all restrictions have been lifted, we have experienced a rapid growth in our numbers. In our 13th season, we have had 5 sessions so far. We have covered particle physics, electronics, colour physics, hydrodynamics and engineering physics. In the particle physics session, we explored all things CERN. What it is, what they do and how we can help. And in the practical session, we did our best to try and see muons. We build small cloud chambers from glass jars, which did a surprisingly good job of catching the muon tracks. In October we put on our electronics hats and put ourselves in the role of electronics engineers, we designed and built different kinds of circuit boards. In November we talked colour phyics, how our eyes work and perceive colours. Talked about how the quantum world plays a role in the way we see things. In December we explored the world of hydrodynamics. In the practical part of our session, we studied the Reynolds number and how it describes laminar and turbulent flows and the changes in the flow. In our most recent session, we look at how we build stuff that withstand earthquakes and strong winds. In the practical session, we tried to build earthquake proof towers, some withstood them, but some failed to do that.

We still have 4 more sessions to go this season, and we look forward to bringing physics to the forefront of our society

July 14, 2022

Solving crimes with physics


In our first session back in person, we explored forensic physics. In the popular-science lectures we explored how physics is used in crime scenes to get information about what happened. The interesting part of the session was the experimental part, where we put the gained knowledge to test – we solved a crime ourselves.

In this crime a member of the School of Young Physicists was “murdered”, and we had to find his killer. There were 3 parts to the task. Students were given a list of suspects and their alibis and what they were doing at different times. Firstly, students had to narrow the time frame of the murder, this was done using Newton’s law of cooling. This allowed them to eliminate some of the suspects. The second task was blood splatter analysis, there was a sheet filled with blood splatter, and measuring the blood droplets, they could gain information on suspects height. The third task was ballistic analysis, figuring out the bullet’s trajectory. All the collected information allowed them to make a calculated guess at who is the “murderer”. They were able to check hypothesis by shining an ultraviolet light at their prime suspect’s hands, because the murderer’s hands were covered in “gunpowder”, which glows under UV light, they had one try, the most careful and attentive students found the “killer”.

This has been one of the more interesting experimental sessions we have had, students had a lot of fun and gave great reviews to the session, an interesting and fun experience for everyone.