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A decade of ‘safe-cracking’

Date: Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Teams fortify their safes for the Weizmann UK annual tournament

Teams fortify their safes for the Weizmann UK annual tournament

in February, Weizmann UK celebrated the 10th anniversary of its annual “safe-cracking” physics competition. Despite being held online, it was a fierce tournament between 16 teams from high schools across the United Kingdom.

Launched in 2012, the UK competition is modelled off of the Davidson Institute’s acclaimed Shalhevet Freier “Safe-Cracking” International Physics Tournament, which tasks students with designing a safe that can only be unlocked using principles of physics.

The contest has become a highly anticipated annual event, with teams of students, ages 16 and 17, competing for the chance to represent the United Kingdom at the international tournament that takes place on the Weizmann

campus every spring. To date, nearly 1,000 students from the UK have participated in the national event.

In addition to being mentored and judged by talented graduate students from the Weizmann Institute, participants also get the opportunity to learn from prominent scientists, such as the British mathematician Prof. Marcus du Sautoy OBE from the University of Oxford. This year, contestants enjoyed a presentation on the Frontiers of the Universe ULTRASAT project by renowned Weizmann astrophysicist Prof. Eli Waxman.

Though the safe-cracking competition had to be held online for the second year in a row, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the format did not impede the students’ commitment to the project or the high caliber of the safes they presented. Four coveted places for the International Physics Tournament went to groups from London and Hull.