Thai students shine at Science Olympiad

Thailand’s future prowess in science looks increasingly promising as one Thai student was awarded a gold medal at the International Earth Science Olympia in Brazil last week, while three others were awarded bronze medals.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom will host 80 students from the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at a Science Camp in Korat province in November called the Fourth ASEAN Synchrotron Science Camp. The event is intended to build cooperation in the field of synchrotron light technology, which is used in biology, medicine, condensed matter physics and materials science.

In Brazil, Pitchapon Jirawongsapan, from Bangkok Christian College, won the gold medal after a competition that included examinations and fieldwork.  A total of 92 students from 23 countries competed in the Olympiad, coming from countries such as South Korea, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and India.  Nine gold medals were up for grabs along with 18 silver medals and 27 bronzes.

The bronze medals were won by Panthon Imeinkamon from Triamudom Suksa School, Patsakorn Tangadulrat from Hatyaiwittayalai School, and Kunanon Leelahakorn from Suankularbwittayalai School.

Thailand is putting an increasingly high value on scientific knowledge and education as part of its national strategy of shifting towards a knowledge or creative economy and away from overreliance on manufacturing. Just north of Bangkok, the Thailand Science Park, a government-sponsored incubator for entrepreneurs engaged in research and development and advanced technology draws on science students from at least four surrounding universities, giving them hands-on experience in using their skills and knowledge in developing new ideas, inventions and technology.

At the Olympiad, the examinations focused on integration of theories related to earth-science subjects. Questions and problems touched on geophysics, meteorology, oceanography and astronomy. Pachrasu Wannakao, a teacher and team leader, said the examinations were 70 percent theoretical and 30 percent practical.

Gold medalist Pitchapon said, “I was interested in astronomy first, and I became interested in earth science as a part of astronomy.”

As part of the fieldwork, students were taken to a national park and given the challenging task of analyzing stones and using their findings to determine the speed of the Earth’s rotation, measuring the amount of moisture in the air and calculating the stream flow rate.

Students from different countries were separated into groups of eight and given two research projects: an International Team Field Investigation (ITFI) and an Earth Science Project (ESP).

The ITFI required the students to study geology in Pocos de Caldas by measuring indicators found in hot springs, and the ESP required them to examine the effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon.

Credit photo: International Earth Science Olympiad in Brazil Face book



Thailand Focus September 28, 2015
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