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Dulwich College wins UK Safe Cracking Tournament

Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2020

A team of teenage safe crackers from Dulwich College are the winners of Weizmann UK’s eighth annual safecracking physics tournament. The winning team, Fuming Kinetics, fought off tough competition with a total of 18 teams from UK schools taking part in the tournament at Dulwich College on Sunday 9 February.

Nearly 100 Year 12 students from 12 schools competed to break into securely locked devices by pitting their physics knowledge against each other.


Participating teams were tasked with designing a safe which could be cracked only by solving two physics riddles. Each team had to be able to open their own safe in under five minutes but needed to keep their opponents stumped for at least 10 minutes.


The UK competition runners-up were:


2nd place: Eltham College – Ships & Giggles


3rd place: Ibstock Place School – Let’s get Quantum Physical


Best Newcomer – Brentwood School – Bank of England


The competition was judged by a panel of experts including three Israeli physicists from the Weizmann Institute of Science (Dror Oren, Tom Granot and Asaf Nissenbaum) and judges from the UK including Nicky Thomas (Institute of Physics), Thomas Briggs (Bletchley Park Trust) and Laura Wright (design engineering consultancy, TTP).


Another of the judges, Lee Peleg, a physicist from the Weizmann Institute who is currently spending a year at the University of Oxford, gave a fascinating insight into his research before the prizes were announced.


Former UK students of the Dr Bessie Lawrence International Summer Science Institute (ISSI) acted as mentors to the physics teams on the day and were keen to talk to the competitors about their experiences on the ISSI programme when they spent a month in Israel working as part of a research team alongside scientists at the Weizmann Institute. The mentors encouraged the participants to apply for the programme when they are in Year 13.


The Weizmann UK Safe Cracking Tournament is CREST accredited and students who take part can use their work to gain a Gold CREST Award which is recognised by both UCAS and the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme. The CREST scheme is run by the British Science Association and accredits science, technology, engineering and maths activities for young people.


Sheridan Gould, Executive Director of Weizmann UK said: “This competition is a quirky way to really put to the test those who have just started their physics studies at A-Level. There is a huge range of learning that they need to succeed in this competition. We are absolutely thrilled to be able to fund the winning teams to travel to Israel.”