Sacred Heart Students Place 3rd in Rocket Design at Yale Physics Olympics Competition

October 17, 2017

Yale Physics Olympics (YPO) is a high school competition where teams of four participate in five events that involve physics concepts and problems – optimizing, engineering, problem solving mathematically and experimentally, and developing an experiment for solutions. More than 50 schools in Connecticut participate each year with the teams rotating through the labs. In addition to the competition, there is a physics demo show and a tour the Yale Physics Department. Teachers also participate in an engineering task; this year building a Hall Effect demonstrator.

Physics instructor Nicole Granucci served as teacher/coach to Rachel Joyce ’18, Arushi Khanna ’18, Sarah Nastri ’18, and Roselynn Thattil ’18. The Academy placed 3rd out of 50 schools in Rocket Design and earned an honorable mention for their team name – “Plancks for Nothing.”

Nicole is now in her second year of teaching science here; she offers courses in physics and astronomy and started an Astronomy Club. Currently finishing her master’s degree in applied physics (optics) at SCSU; Nicole’s research involves developing novel methods to reduce sky background for better observations in urban areas.

“Physics is an important discipline for our young women. Some will have to understand physics for careers in medicine or the sciences. For others, physics develops problem solving skills and endurance. It is not an easy subject; it requires training in thinking through tough problems. But breaking down complex problems into manageable parts is a valuable skill for all areas of study. Physics is important also because it highlights our day-to-day interactions with our environment. It explains how objects fall, how our eyes and ears work, why something can’t move without a transfer of energy, and why you need something warm to make something cold. Understanding our natural world makes us better problem solvers” Nicole offers.

Over the years the Sacred Heart Academy Science Department has received national and local media attention for the outstanding and innovative science program and for the strong effort made to mentor young women in the sciences.

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