Ben to fly flag for Britain in international Physics contest

Tonbridge Sixth Former Ben Burgess has earned international recognition for his ability in Physics.

Ben has been selected as a member of the British team entering the International Physics Olympiad, a competition which sees more than 80 countries vying for the hugely prestigious title.

Now in its 53rd year, the International Physics Olympiad offers secondary school students the opportunity to test themselves at the highest level by setting them two challenging five-hour exams, one theoretical and one experimental.

Ben (WW5) was called up to the international stage after excelling in earlier rounds of the UK competition, the Physics Olympiad. Run by the University of Oxford’s Physics department, this annual contest is designed to test top young physicists at schools and colleges across the country. 

In November 2019, Ben was one of three Tonbridge boys to finish among the top 100 UK competitors: his achievements were also recognised with a gold medal.

He was then one of just a handful of students selected for an Oxford training camp (carried out online this year, due to social distancing restrictions), before being named in the ‘final five’ who were picked for the British team.

Ben’s latest success comes in a remarkable year which has seen him gain a place at the University of Cambridge (Gonville & Caius College), where he will read Natural Sciences. He was also a member of the Tonbridge team which claimed first prize at the national Schools Aerospace Challenge, winning the trophy after presenting ideas to a panel of distinguished industry professionals including Air Marshal Julian Young.

Phil Deakin, the school’s Head of Science, said: “Ben shows huge commitment to his studies, as well as displaying great talent and potential. He fully deserves his success and I’m looking forward to seeing him compete for his country in the international tournament, a challenge I’m sure he will relish.”  

As well as being renowned for its academic rigour, the International Physics Olympiad offers students cultural opportunities through a programme of excursions and social activities. The first IPhO took place in Warsaw in 1967 and has twice been hosted by the UK, in 1986 and 2000.

The competition is scheduled to be taking place in July, but is likely to move back to a later date.

  • Barton Science Centre