Interdisciplinarity a Distinguishing Characteristic of EUSO Contest

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Anita Nose, a permanent expert contributor at Association for Technical Culture of Slovenia (ATCS), a physics mentor and a member of the organizational committee of this year’s European Union Science Olympiad in Ljubljana, shared her thoughts on the interdisciplinary aspect of EUSO and interrelation of all the three fields of natural sciences.

“Unlike other competitions, our Olympiad is interdisciplinary and based on contestants' experimental work. There are three contestants per team, each solving their own experimental problem. At times they are required to help each other, and finally complete the processing of their measurements in roughly four hours and reach certain conclusions based on their results. Experimental problems require implementation of knowledge in the fields of biology, chemistry and physics,” explained Anita Nose, who completed her ninth year as a physics mentor at EUSO last year. While she does not mentor this year's Olympiad, she will assist with the organisation of the competition.

Authors of the assignments presented to EUSO contestants strive to include all fields – biology, chemistry, and physics – equally, usually achieving this to a high degree, according to Nose. “Nevertheless, the boundary lines among disciplines are sometimes quite blurry as contents overlap, which by the way is one of the goals authors of the assignments aim to reach – to come up with a problem which thoroughly combines biology, chemistry and physics, thus requiring a high level of collaboration among contestants. This quality has been increasingly present in the last years. The assignments often include a feature of, or a reference to the host country.” Anita Nose believes this year’s assignments will prove to be interesting and an adequate challenge for the contestants.

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Michael A. Cotter 1 year ago

Thank you Anita for your insightful description of EUSO. It is unique among science Olympiads in that it is totally experimental, integrates the science and demands teamwork. The laboratory becomes a noisy, lively and busy place as the students go about solving the problems. You are correct in pointing out that EUSO has come a long way in relation to integration and team working over the past 15 years. I know that this year, you will achieve you aim of blurring the dividing lines and increasing communication and cooperation among the team members.

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