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A Hanoi student and a journey to an Olympiad Silver Medal

Post by: trangtrang | 03/09/2022 | 604 reads

In the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2022, the Vietnamese team won 7 prizes of 1 Silver, 5 Bronze  and 1 Consolation prize. The Silver Medal’s medal was Bui Gia Nhat Minh (11 Physics 1), from Hanoi - Amsterdam High School.

Em Bùi Gia Nhật Minh nhận HCB Olympic quốc tế Thiên văn học và Vật lý thiên văn 2022
Bui Gia Nhat Minh won a Silver at the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2022

Striving to one’s best to bring the Motherland glory

This is Nhat Minh’s first time participating in an International Olympiad. Representing his country in the olympiad, he described himself feeling both proud, overjoyed and a sense of responsibility to strive to his best to bring glory to the Motherland. Prior to the competition, Minh set a goal for himself to receive at least one medal. When he knew he won A Silver Medal, he was overcome with glee and surprise, as Minh never thought he could win the Silver award. After finishing the test, Minh reviewed his work and calculated that he would get 230 points, but his result was higher at 261 points, earning him a Silver Medal.

According to Minh’s assessment, the questions this year were hard, consisting of many challenging problems much longer than the previous years’. “I had to do all 4 rounds, which were Theory, Data Processing, Night Observation and Day Observation. The Theory test had a total of 13 questions: 5 short questions, 5 medium questions and 3 long questions. Although none of those questions were outside my scope of knowledge, the wording and type of questions given proved to be a challenge for our team,” said Minh.

To have achieved such a high score, Minh had a “tactic” of skimming the paper from top to bottom. If there was a question of familiar knowledge, he would read it more carefully to instantly figure out a solution. “When coming across a known phenomenon, I would read the question carefully. If it was easy then I’d do it right away, if not then I’d pass it. Once I’d solved all familiar problems, I would move onto the difficult ones and ones with unusual phenomena,” explained Minh.

Minh expressed that he had been hooked on astronomy since elementary school. He would read books about the solar system, stars, planets, etc. and watch interesting related videos. Afterwards, in grade 10, Minh joined the astronomy club of Hanoi - Amsterdam High School for the Gifted (Amstronomy). Thanks to the introduction and encouragement from his seniors, Minh knew about the competition and spared no efforts to pursue the subject that he loved.

A love for the stars and a dream of becoming a teacher

Regarding what the subject entailed, Minh said: “There are 2 parts to be assessed: Astronomy and Astrophysics. As for astronomy, it requires us to have  a general knowledge of the sky, for example, the position of stars and constellations or different ways to calculate time based on stars. We must also know some of the well-known celestial bodies, such as star clusters or galaxies and their positions in the sky, their shape and their name. In astrophysics, we can study the truth behind the inner workings of celestial bodies in the universe. Some examples include why the Earth revolves around the Sun, how other planets orbit their suns, how stars came to be, how they came to an end, the hidden patterns in which the Sun, along with other stars orbit around the center of their respective galaxies and so much more.”

Having comprehensively studied the subjects of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Minh considered its broad field of knowledge to be most challenging. Every aspect is important, so it takes a lot of time to understand and apply that knowledge to practice. Minh was most into the locations, shapes and names of stars and objects like star clusters, galaxies, nebulae, etc.

Dedicated to a difficult subject not part of  the curriculum like Math, Physics or Chemistry, Minh knew he would have to exert himself to pursue it in the long-term future. His most memorable memory while studying it is the nights he spent watching the stars. Those were also the first times Minh had stayed awake for it. Since then, he has become more and more engulfed in the subject and determined to stick with it to the end. “Despite my exhaustion, I was able to observe many things and learn a lot from the sky, so stargazing sessions like those were always fun,” Minh recalled.

Minh also received great support and encouragement from his family, teachers and friends. Thanks to those motivations, even though he had to study intensively at the international olympiad, Minh did not feel too stressed out. During revisions with his teammates, Minh found those times enjoyable and informative. “Our teachers often give us more motivation by showing us the positive aspects of pursuing this subject, taking lessons from our predecessors as examples and giving us real-life experiences of observing the night sky and fascinating phenomena right before our eyes.” In addition, whenever we experienced difficulties studying or comprehending the materials, our teachers would re-explain them more carefully. My family has always supported and been with me to pursue my passion”, Minh shared.

Minh revealed his quite simple “secret” to excelling in Astronomy and Astrophysics. “As long as you show up to all of your classes, listen attentively to your teacher and do all the homework, you will have a solid grasp of this subject. Furthermore, I also combined learning with entertainment by playing games that were about astronomy,” Minh said.

Besides Astronomy and Astrophysics, Minh is also quite interested in Computer Science and Geography. He enjoys playing the organ and singing as well. Apart from diligence, dedication and self-discipline being his strengths, this talented young student also realized that he needed to be more prudent in his work to achieve better results.

Minh’s dream is to become a teacher and teach in universities or do research. He is currently planning on studying abroad in Singapore. In the near future, Minh will be completing his profile to apply to the university of his choice alongside perfecting his soft skills. With his talent and determination to achieve the goals that he has set for himself, we hope that this Hanoi student will soon conquer his dream and make plenty more contributions to the country.

Bui Gia Nhat Minh’s achievements:

- First in the 2020 city-level Physics Olympiad

- Second in the 2021 city-level Physics Olympiad

- Consolation in the 2022 national Physics Olympiad in 12th grade

- Silver in the 2022 International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA)

According to Pháp luật và Xã hội

Translator: Trần Linh Ngân - English 2 2124