An Indian origin school boy Pratap Singh, 15, in the UK has been chosen for a prestigious prize this year for the Institute of Physics (IOP) Prize, that carries 500 pounds sterling and a trip to a national physics-related activity.
Pratap Singh was given the award for carrying out a verifying experiment on the effect of Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity. He was presented the award at the Bing Bang Fair held at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) Birmingham, last week. More than 200 teenagers participated in the competition.
Pratap Singh, a Perse School, Cambridge student used two Geiger-Muller tubes to detect cosmic-ray muons, which never reach the Earth unless time dilation occurs. To overcome it, Pratap singh has created a mathematical model for their arrival rate with and without time dilation. He used a Raspberry Pi and statistical analysis, to show that they follow the special relativity theory of Einstein. His experiment was compact to fit inside a shoebox.
Pratap Singh said: “I have always been very interested in physics and so when it came to the time for my research project – a year-long opportunity we get at our school to study any topic of our choosing – I, of course, wanted to do something in physics. I am especially happy that over the course of this project, I was able to bring together the theory, create a mathematical model, and using just school physics lab equipment build an apparatus to observe relativistic time dilation.”
His prize of £500 was presented at the National Awards Ceremony on 12 March. The prize also includes a trip to a national physics-related activity. The IOP’s head of outreach and engagement, Johanna Kieniewicz, and the IOP’s regional officer for the Midlands, David Wilkinson, jointly judged the prize.
Kieniewicz said Pratap Singh “demonstrated remarkable creativity in his approach to the problem, bringing together theory grounded in robust science with practical ingenuity. The quality of submissions to the National Science and Engineering Competition was incredibly high. We hope that all of the students continue to engage with physics, whether in their studies, careers, or as part of our culture.”
A special prize “The Light Prize” was also awarded at the fair to celebrate the International Year of Light (IYL). It went to Aoife Nash, a 15-year-old student at St Mary’s College, Derry, who probed the use of salt to clarify muddy water to make it ready for sterilisation by sunlight.
The Institute of Physics is a non-profit charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, to advance physics education, research and application.