It was a rare day for India indeed when all five students who represented the country at the 38th International Physics Olympiad came back home with awards.
Raman Sharma from Jaipur and Rohit Singh from Dehradun struck gold; Pratyush Pandey from Jaipur and Harsh Pareek from Mumbai took silver while Vivek Luhani from Almora got honourable mention at Isfahan, Iran. The five were up against 327 of the best and brightest from 73 countries. Winners were declared on the basis of their performance in the theory (30 marks) and practicals (20 marks) sections.
The five boys were chosen after a gruelling three-stage selection process. The first stage had 42,000 participants at the national level. Of them, 426 were short-listed. The second stage had 35 candidates. The brightest five made it to the final Olympiad team.
“I am very proud my son Pratyush. He scored the highest marks scored by any Indian in theory,” said his father Satyendra Pandey. His jubilant mother Kavita added: “It is a matter of pride for the entire country. He has done extremely well.”
Professor Vijay Singh, national coordinator, Science Olympiads, at the Homi Bhabha Centre, and Professor Charudatt Kadolkar of IIT-Guwahati accompanied the team. The Departments of Atomic Energy and Science and Technology and the Human Resource Development Ministry supported the effort.