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STAR SCIENCE STUDENTS HEAD TO LEICESTER

Minh Hai Nguyen from Vietnam and Kastysis Zubovas from Lithuania at the University of Leicester

Star Science Students Head to Leicester

Two medallists from the 2005 International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) registered this month as undergraduate students at the University of Leicester

Kastysis Zubovas from Lithuania and Minh Hai Nguyen from Vietnam have both qualified for direct entry into the second year of the MPhys degree in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

They follow in the footsteps of four previous IPhO medallists in 2001, and a fifth in 2003, all of whom have done well, with four students gaining top first class honours degrees.

The arrival of these outstanding young scientists in Leicester follows the University’s hosting of the 31st International Physics Olympiad in 2000, where 300 physics students representing 63 countries took part in an eight-day event to test their scientific skills. As well as theoretical and experimental examinations, they enjoyed a full social programme, with visits to London, Cambridge, Stratford and Leicester’s National Space Centre.

It was as a result of the success of this event that the four medal-winners, Evghenii Gaburov from Moldova, Nikolay Pavlov from Bulgaria, Halim Kusumaatmaja from Indonesia and Ismayil Hasanov from Azerbaijan, accepted invitations to study Physics at the University from 2001-4, being joined in 2003 by the 2002 IPhO medallist Teppo Jouttenus from Finland.

Bringing such outstanding young scientists to the UK has been made possible by a University initiative whereby international Physics students can study at Leicester, with fee support from the British Physics Olympiad and help with living expenses and English language training from the University.

Professor Ken Pounds, Leicester Department of Physics and Astronomy, commented:

“It is perhaps no coincidence that 2004 and 2006 saw the strongest results ever from our final year, with a record number of first class honours, as our own UK students sought to match the high standards set by their international colleagues. Olympiad students could be the Nobel Prize winners of the future, and I have often thought that a national scheme to encourage more IPhO and equivalent student groups in Maths and Chemistry would be well worth wider UK Government funding.”

Note to editors:

Further information is available from Professor Ken Pounds, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, tel 0116 252 3509, email kap@star.le.ac.uk

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