2018 Western Kentucky Physics Olympics - Saturday, February 24

The WKU Department of Physics & Astronomy detonates another round of the Western Kentucky Physics Olympics on Saturday, 24 February 2018. Teams of four high school students are invited to compete in this half-day competition consisting of a pentathlon of challenging problem-solving activities that reward teamwork, communication and creativity.

The 2018 Physics Olympics competition will commence with two activities that involve competitors arriving at the event ready to compete with devices they have designed, constructed, and tested. For the Bomb Shelter event, teams will compete to test the four protective shelters they designed and constructed to keep an egg safe from a dropped baseball. For the Bomb Disposal Manipulator Arm event, each team constructs from plastic soda straws and sewing pins the longest possible arm to support a mass. The "Calculation / Communication Challenge" will require each team to divide into pairs, with one pair creating a solution for an explosive problem, and the other pair following the directions to perform the experiment. The "Impromptu Team Activity" and "Order-of-Magnitude Quiz" will remain cloaked in secrecy until the day of the event.

Online pre-registration is required. Teams must register online before 4pm, Tuesday, February 20th.


A $600 scholarship to attend Western Kentucky University will be presented to each contestant on the top scoring team. The scholarship is to be used during the freshman year and is awarded above and beyond any other scholarships the student might otherwise earn. Medals for the team members and a plaque for the school will be awarded to the top 3 teams in the overall competition. Certificates will be awarded to the top three teams in each event.

Schedule of Events

Details of the schedule will be posted soon.

Time Activity Location
8:00 Mandatory check-in for all teams Snell 1108
8:30 Testing commences for Bomb Shelter Snell 1108
9:45 Bomb Disposal Manipulator Arm begins Snell 3110
10:30 Order of Magnitude Quiz Snell 3110
11:00 Communication-Calculation Challenge Snell 3110
12:00 Lunch Snell 1108
12:45 Impromptu Team Activity Snell 3110
1:20 Awards Ceremony Snell 1108

Event Descriptions and Rules

Please see the Events Description page for a complete listing of the official rules for each event.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about please check our Frequently Asked Questions list or email your question to Richard Gelerman.