Oxonians Reloaded, l-r: Atharva N Mahajan, Soubhagya Behera, Sidharth Chambocheri Veetil and Atharv S Mahajan

Oxonians Reloaded, l-r: Atharva N Mahajan, Soubhagya Behera, Sidharth Chambocheri Veetil and Atharv S Mahajan

Oxford undergrads take top spot at PLANCKS prelims 2024

Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics

A team from Oxford’s Department of Physics, Oxonians Reloaded, secured first place at this year’s preliminary of the international theoretical physics competition, PLANCKS. Atharva Mahajan, Atharv Mahajan, Sidharth Chambocheri Veetil and Soubhagya Behera will go on to represent the UK and Ireland at the international finals in Dublin in May. The quartet won first place in last year’s preliminaries as the Oxonians.

PLANCKS is a theoretical physics competition for teams of three to four undergraduate students and is organised by the International Association of Physics Students (IAPS) and supported by the Institute of Physics. For this year’s competition, 40 teams representing 28 universities from the UK and Ireland, converged at the University of Surrey in February for a weekend of challenging theoretical physics. As well as sitting a 4-hour exam where participants collaborated in teams to solve ten challenging physics problems, attendees got to hear from a range of eminent speakers including Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Dr Victoria Fawcett, Professor Gavin Lotay, Dr Lisa Morrison and William Dobbie. Plank from the University of Cambridge and Physocrates from Imperial College London took second and third place respectively. 

‘It is always a great experience to take part in a physics contest, especially one as fun and interesting as PLANCKS,’ comment the Oxonians Reloaded. ‘Working on tough and unconventional physics problems is very fun, and the time pressure and team collaboration aspects of it are always great as well. Also, another exciting aspect of contests like this is always getting to know other amazing physics students from all across UK. Overall, we are very happy about winning the thing, and hopefully we can give our best performance in Dublin as well!’

‘It is wonderful to see our students share their knowledge and passion for physics on the national and international stage,’ comments Professor Ian Shipsey, Head of the Department of Physics. ‘On behalf of the Department of Physics, I would like to congratulate the Oxonians Reloaded as well as their fellow competitors from Oxford. And all the best for the finals in Ireland!’