They were selected from 40,000 students from around 1,000 centres in India. After months of training, five Indian students made it to the International Physics Olympiad 2009, (IPhO-09) Mexico.
Out of the 350 students from 76 countries, the five boys brought back four gold medals and a silver.
The winners met their mentors at their training base, the Homi Bhabha Centre Science Education (HBCSE) in Mankhurd, as they shared their experiences.
“It feels great, although we have missed out on some classes and the first day at IIT. The experience was amazing,” said Vinit Atal, who won a silver medal.
The five — Nitin Jain, Shubham Tulsiani, Gopi Sivakanth, Priyank Pradeep Parikh and Vinit Atal — also secured high ranks in Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination 2009.
“We started training for the Olympiad after the IIT entrance, which helped. We got to meet physicists at one place was unreal,” said Priyank, who ranked sixth in the exam.
Vijay Singh, the national coordinator for the science olympiads at the HBCSE, a wing of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) trained the students.
“The students are given questions that no one has the answers to; this is what makes it special,” said Singh.
HBCSE, TIFR and the Indian Association of Physics Teachers, organised and funded the trip.