Astronomical Olympiad success for Perse student
17 Mar 2020
Hari Prasad (Upper Sixth) displayed his spatial awareness to earn Gold in the British Astronomy & Astrophysics Olympiad.
He qualified for the competition after achieving the Top Gold standard in the first round of the British Physics Olympiad and had to sit a three-hour paper, answering five questions on space-related topics such as imaging exoplanets (planets outside the solar system) and the solar radiation of different planets.
Hari was pleased to take Gold, admitting astrophysics was not a field he had looked into previously.
“You were given the information from which to try to solve the problems, but you used your Sixth Form physics knowledge to actually do them.” he said. “It was quite interesting and it also provided good revision for Sixth Form physics, but it made me realise how little I know about things such as stars and constellations.”
As a result of his success, Hari has been invited to a training camp in Oxford from which a team of five students will be picked to represent the UK at the International Olympiad on Astronomy & Astrophysics in Bogota, Colombia, in September.
He said: “If the training camp happens, we’ll be taught a lot about astrophysics over four days, including being shown how to look at stars through telescopes, and then sit a paper from what we’ve learned.
“I’m really looking forward to it. You are taught by Oxford lecturers and get to stay at Jesus College, so you get a proper experience of the university. It would also be nice to learn a bit more about astrophysics.”