Sri Lankan Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad
The Sri Lankan Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad is a competition for Sri Lankan high school students on Astronomy and Astrophysics. It is the highest and the only government sponsored competition in the field of Astronomy, in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad competition was initiated in 2007, in-order to prepare students for the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics. The Institute of Physics Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Department of Physics, University of Colombo and Ministry of Education made arrangements to hold national competitions, related to international events annually. It is coordinated by Prof. K.P.S. Chandana Jayaratne of the University of Colombo. So far, eight competitions have been held.
Nature of the competition
The preliminary round of the Sri Lankan Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad competition is a two-hour theory paper on Astronomy and Astrophysics. It usually consists of 20 multiple choice questions and five structured essay type questions. The competition is conducted in three languages Sinhala, Tamil and English. There is no age limit for the competition as long as the participant's age does not exceed 19 years to the given date. Main sections that covered are, Basic Astrophysics, Coordinates and Times, Solar System, Stellar Systems, Cosmology, Instrumentation and Space Technologies. Stars-students who are selected from the competition are trained at the Department of Physics, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka Planetarium and at the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies, Moratuwa.
It was only in the mid 1990s, Astronomy became popular among Sri Lankan high school students. There was a rapid increase of formation of Astronomy clubs in Sri Lankan schools at that time. Nalanda College Astronomical Society, Astronomical Society of Dharmaraja College, Anandian Astronomical Association, Astronomical Society of Mahamaya Girls' College are few of the major high school astronomical societies formed by then. This led to organize various quiz competitions and observation competitions among schools, regarding astronomy. But until Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad competition initiated in 2007, there was no government involvement in the field. Thus, Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad competition influenced many high school students in Sri Lanka to engage in the study of Astronomy.
Sri Lankan students have won one bronze medal,7 honourable mentions and one prize for the Most Creative Solution in Theory in 7 International Olympiads on Astronomy and Astrophysics so far.
- Sri Lankan Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad Competition
- National Astronomy and Physics Olympiad
- 1st International Olympiad on Astronomy & Astrophysics 30 November-9 December 2007-Thailand
- 2nd International Olympiad on Astronomy & Astrophysics 19 August-28 August 2008-Indonesia
- Prize Announcement of 1st IOAA
- Participation at 2nd IOAA
- Team Sri Lanka