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Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Girls win spot at physics meet in Israel

Tags: Jewish learning
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MONTREAL — An all-girls team from The Study is heading to Israel this month after winning the local semifinals of an annual international physics tournament in which senior high school students compete to build an impenetrable safe.

The private Westmount school bested teams from Bialik High School, St. George’s High School, Hebrew Academy, which had two teams, and another team from The Study at the eastern Canadian Regional Shalheveth Freier Physics Tournament, organized by Weizmann Canada and hosted Feb. 15 at St. George’s.

Using basic physics principles, the students’ task was to design and construct a safe from a simple box with common materials that they can crack in less than five minutes, but will stump opponents for at least 10 minutes.

Teams often spend months perfecting their safes.

The winning Study team members Sarah Battat, Jessica Lu, Francesca Masella and Sabrina Nolan will compete in the international tournament at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot on March 20 and 21, which will be streamed on a live webcast.

The girls’ winning safe had a dinosaur theme. Points are awarded for aesthetics and originality.

The other Canadian team earning a berth at the international meet is Yeshivat B’nei Akiva Or Chaim of Toronto, which won the western Canadian semifinals.

Weizmann Canada is covering the costs of the two teams and the coach accompanying each of them. All competitors will be accommodated on the Weizmann campus.

The Study has done well in the tournament. The school won the grand prize in 2008, beating 43 other teams from Israel and several other countries. The Study also won the local semifinals two years ago.

The judges were McGill University physics professors Victoria Kaspi, Guillaume Gervais and Andreas Warburton, and Andrea Bianchi, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Novel Materials for Spintronic Applications at the Université de Montréal.

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