Events for the 2010 Western Kentucky Physics Olympics
Judges determine the overall winner based on each team's score in
the five different events.
• Edible Musical Instruments: the Do-Ahead Project
• Wind Generator: the Plan-Ahead Project
• Slow-Haul Dirigibles: the Calculation/Communication Challenge
• Impromptu Team Physics Activity:
• Fermi Questions: the Order of Magnitude Quiz
Event 1: Edible Musical Instruments – the Do-Ahead Project
Each team is required to design and construct from completely edible
components, one musical instrument capable of playing the children’s song, The
Itsy Bitsy Spider. There are five notes that must be played: G, A, B, C, &
D (the three occurrences of low D can be omitted). The scoring will
divided into four components: the ability for the performer to make the
instrument accurately hit the necessary notes, quality of the team’s
individual performance, participation in the all-competition band performance,
and edibility of the instrument.
One team member, selected by the team, will describe the design and
function of the instrument and will play the five required notes: G, A, B, C,
& D. A microphone and computer will be used to digitally capture the sound
tests, and the computed power spectrum of the tones will allow the judges to
compare the results to the standard musical frequencies.
The first assessment for this event will be the sound test. The scoring
will be based on nine criteria: the ability to accurately create the primary
frequency for each of the five notes and the spacing of the four intervals
(difference in frequency between each successive note). For the most accurate
measure of the pitch your team's musician needs to sustain each of the five
required notes for at least one second. The standard frequencies (
http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html ) for the five notes are:
G = 196.00 Hz,
A = 220.00 Hz,
B = 246.94 Hz,
C = 261.63 Hz, and
D = 293.66 Hz.
The interval between any two successive whole notes is f1 = f2
Each team will then perform the song The Itsy Bitsy Spider, with one
team member playing the instrument and the other three accompanying with the
traditional hand gestures. The scoring will be based of the overall quality of
the performance. Teams must download the linked
PDF file containing the sheet
music for the officially approved version of the song. Without the time
signature, the notes to be played are:
- G G G A B B B A G A B G
B B C D D C B C D B
G G A B B A G A B G - - G G G A B B B A
G A B G
Points will be earned when the designated musician joins the
all-competition band and performs the song while being digitally recorded for
eventual public distribution via the Internet (e.g., WKU Physics & Astronomy
website and YouTube).
Finally, the entire instrument must be eaten in front of the judges at the
indicated time following all testing and performances. Any and all team
members may participate in the consumption of the instrument. However, if,
prior to the lunch break, any team member regurgitates or in any way fails to
“keep down” the ingested part of the instrument, that team will lose any
points earned for the group performance. Failure to completely ingest the
entire instrument will result in disqualification for this event.
The final ranking will be based on the sum of the four component scores.
Ties will be broken in favor of the quality of the team’s individual
Event 2: Wind Generator – the Do-Ahead Project
Teams will build a blade assembly that consists of any kind of propeller
/ pinwheel / rotor attached to a compact disc (CD), which will be used to
capture wind power and generate voltage. Each team must bring one
pre-constructed blade assembly attached to a standard CD. The CD must fit on
the mount found in a standard CD player. Modification of the CD (except for
the center hole) is allowed. When mounted, the blade assembly cannot have
any portion extending behind the mounting plane of the CD. The maximum
diameter of the blade assembly is 25.0 cm. The blade assembly may be
made of any nonmetallic substance. Commercial blades (modified or
unmodified) are not permitted.
- The organizers will provide all testing materials, which will be the
same for all teams. The wind source at each station will be a 20”
multispeed box fan, mounted in a fixed position with the bottom of
the grill at least 15 cm above the table. Other testing materials
include: a ring stand which allows for vertical and horizontal adjustments
of the blade assembly, clamps to allow teams to orient the mount to any
angle with reference to the fan, a portable CD player motor used as the
generator, and a multi-meter to record voltage.
- There will be two stations - one high speed and one low speed - to test
the blade assemblies. Teams must set up and complete the testing within a
3-minute period at each fan.
- The blade assembly can be oriented and placed in any position or angle
in front of the fan. The teams must mount their blade assembly to the
generator and position / orient it in front of the fan prior to the fan
starting. Once mounted, blades may not be modified except between runs.
- The designated team’s test leader informs the event supervisor when the
team is ready. The supervisor starts the time when the fan is started and
begins recording the highest voltage, in millivolts (mV),
during a one-minute time period.
- Teams may give their blade assembly a single tap to start spinning once
the fan is turned on.
Each team’s final score will be the sum of low speed voltage (mV) + high
speed voltage (mV). If the device fails during a run the score at that speed
will be zero. Ties will be broken in favor of the greatest high speed
American Wind Energy Association:
Event 3: Slow-Haul Dirigibles – the Calculation-Communication Challenge
The goal of this contest is to cause a balloon to rise 2 meters within 3
minutes, but to take as much of the three minutes to do so. Each team will be
divided into two groups: two members responsible for measurement and design of
the load for the helium-filled balloon, and the other pair responsible for
executing the balloon’s slow rise.
Event 4: Fusion – the Impromptu Team Physics Activity
Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion – bringing the power
source of the stars down to Earth
The process of nuclear fusion is responsible for powering stars, including
our Sun; releasing energy as four hydrogen nuclei combine under extreme
temperature, density, and pressure to form helium. In this competition, teams
will race to be the first to drive four protons to simultaneously end up
within the central interaction zone, where the nuclear strong force will
overcome electric repulsion and allow the fusion of hydrogen.
Event 5: Fermi Questions: The Order of Magnitude Quiz
Arrive at a reasonable approximation for the value of a complex situation
with very little to no information available to directly compute the answer.
In this quiz, the contestants will need to quickly make assumptions for values
to use in simple calculations in order to arrive at the "correct" answer,
stated as the power of ten of the number that fits the accepted value.
Teams will receive 7 questions to complete within 15 minutes. The teams can
divide the work in any way they see fit, but only one answer per question per
team will be accepted. Answers will be judged according to how many orders of
magnitude the team's answer is from the judge's solution. The lowest score
wins -- 0 points awarded for the answer accepted by the panel of judges, with
1 point scored per order of magnitude from the accepted value.