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Weizmann UK's Sixth Annual Safe Cracking Competition

Three teams of sixth-form students are once again to head to the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel in March to take part in an International Safecracking Tournament. The winning teams, who are studying physics at A-Level, fought off tough competition from a total of 23 teams at Weizmann UK’s sixth annual safe cracking tournament which took place at Dulwich College on Sunday 4 February. Prizes were announced by, Professor Marcus du Sautoy OBE,  Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford.

Over 100 Year 12 students from 13 schools across the UK competed to break into securely locked devices by pitting their physics knowledge against each other.

Participating teams were tasked with designing a safe which could be cracked only by solving two physics riddles. Each team had to be able to open their own safe in under 5 minutes but needed to keep their opponents stumped for at least 10 minutes.

The teams were competing to win a travel grant to enable them to take their safes to the next level:  the International Safe Cracking Tournament at the Weizmann Institute of Science which will take place in Israel on 18-22 March.

The three teams of lucky students that will travel to Israel are:

1st place: Tonbridge School – Safety in Numbers

2nd place: University College School – Geared Up

3rd place: St Paul’s School – Do Crack Safely

The competition was judged by a panel of experts including Israeli Physicists, Gal Winer, Daniel Banitt and Omri Goldberg from the Weizmann Institute of Science and judges from the UK including Caroline Davis (Institute of Physics), Thomas Briggs (Bletchley Park) and Natasha Gertler (physics graduate and science communicator).

Before awarding the prizes, Professor Marcus du Sautoy gave an animated presentation on the topic “What we Cannot Know”.

The Weizmann UK Safe Cracking Tournament is CREST accredited and students who take part can use their work to gain a Silver CREST Award which is recognised by both UCAS and the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme.  The CREST scheme is run by the British Science Association and accredits science, technology, engineering and maths activities for young people.

Sheridan Gould, Executive Director of Weizmann UK said: “This competition is a quirky way to really put to the test those who have just started their physics studies at A-Level. There is a huge range of learning that they need to succeed in this competition. We are absolutely thrilled to be able to fund the winning teams to travel to Israel.  We were also particularly delighted that Professor Marcus du Sautoy was able to join us on the day. There is no doubt that he is an inspiration to those looking to take their studies of maths and science further.”
Matthew Barker, a student on the winning Tonbridge School team, said: “It has been a real labour of love building our safe. It is such a rewarding experience and we have learned so much along the way. It is just such an incredible opportunity to be going to Israel.”

List of participating schools:

Birkdale School (two teams),  City of London School (two teams), Dulwich College (two teams), Eltham College (two teams),  Ibstock Place School, JCoSS, King David High School Manchester (two teams), North London Collegiate School (two teams), St Paul's School (two teams), Tonbridge School (two teams), Trinity School Croydon (two teams), University College School, Westminster (two teams)

More information about CREST Awards can be found here: www.britishscienceassociation.org/crest-awards

See the photo gallery

Published: February 06, 2018

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