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School student lives his passion for physics

Last update: 10:50 | 20/05/2018

When the organisation board of the 19th Asian Physics Olympiad (APhO) announced the names of the contestants receiving special prizes, Tran Duc Huy stepped up to receive the award.


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Trần Đức Huy (centre) was awarded with a gold medal presented by Asian Physics Olympiad President Leong Chuan Kwek (second from left). This is the first time he competed in the international contest. Photo moet.gov.vn



Huy, a student of the physics specialised class of the Hà Nội-Amsterdam Gifted High School, received the award for the best contestant of the host country.

Just minutes before, Huy, who participated in APhO for the first time, was awarded a gold medal for his excellent performance in the contest.

“I was overwhelmed with surprise and happiness on receiving the awards. They became particularly meaningful to me when the contest was organised right in Hà Nội,” he says.

Huy says, on his journey to win the gold medal, he made a mistake of opting for a seven-point question in the experimental examination.

“I thought that my opportunity was narrow and there was no chance I could win the gold medal, let alone receive the highest point in the Việt Nam team,” he adds.

According to him, the questions of APhO this year were quite interesting.

The experimental examination, themed “Giant Magnetoresistance Effect”, was pretty long and difficult according to both Huy and other contestants.

“However, the Việt Nam team showed improvements in the experimental exam that used to be our weakness in the previous contest,” he says.

“The examinations of the Physics Olympiads normally bring out the modern physics issues, forcing the contestants to reason themselves and utilise their basic understanding to deal with the questions, not only based on regular theory. Therefore, in order to learn physics well, one must master the theories, thoroughly understand the nature of the phenomenon in order to make their own conclusion in different cases,” he continues.

It is the toughness of physics, which, however, helps to explain many natural phenomena, serves as the basis for technology and science and is highly applicable in life that has instilled in Huy the passion for the subject since secondary-school year.

Before APhO, he won a silver medal at the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics and the first prize in the National Physics Contest for High School Students in 2016 and 2017, respectively.


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Trần Đức Huy, a student of Hanoi-Amsterdam Gifted High School, won gold medal in the 19th Asian Physics Olympiad.



In the contest this year, Huy was also the only member expected to win a gold medal for Việt Nam team.

“Before the contest, we set a target of only one gold medal and Huy was expected to be the one who would realise that target. He is one of three contestants with the best physics capacity of the Việt Nam team,” says team leader, Associate Professor Nguyễn Văn Thụ from Ha Noi Pedagogical University 2.

Several days before APhO, Huy, unfortunately, contracted virus fever, which worried the team. His parents had to take him home to take care of him.

At the end of the theoretical and experimental exams, hearing their students discussing their answers, both Prof Thu and other guiding teachers of Vietnamese team were greatly relieved.

“Huy still performed better than other members and we believed that he could win the gold medal. He has strength in the theoretical part, which accounted for 30 points while the experimental part accounted for 20,” Thu says.

As the head teacher of Huy’s class for the past three years, Hàn Thu Thủy judges that he is an excellent student with great passion for physics and astronomy. He is not the kind of student studying days and nights or attending extra classes, but one who is capable of studying, reasoning and acquiring knowledge on his own.

“The astronomical knowledge is not taught at high schools in Việt Nam. In order to participate in the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics, Huy downloaded the materials online and translated them himself. He sometimes spends nights awake to observe the natural phenomenon,” Thủy says.

To prepare for APhO 2018, Huy and his teammates had one month to study together.

“In this month, I had the chance to come into contact with top-notch Vietnamese experts and lecturers. Living my passion, I didn’t feel tired at all,” he recalls.

“It was such a memorable month, as it provided me with not only precious knowledge but happiness with my teammates,” he stresses.

After these awards, Huy will continue to join Việt Nam’s national team to compete in the upcoming International Physics Olympiad 2018 and focus on the graduation examination.

He also plans to appear for the university entrance exams in Việt Nam before seeking opportunities of studying abroad to further pursue his passion for physics. 


The 19th Asian Physics Olympiad (APhO), held in Việt Nam on May 6-13, attracted the participation of 188 contestants from 25 countries and territories. Held annually since 2000, APhO is the premier physics competition for pre-university students aged 20 and below from Asian countries.

Entering APhO 2018, Việt Nam had eight contestants, all of whom won medals, among which were 4 golds, 2 silvers and 2 bronzes. Trần Đức Huy from the physics-specialised class of the Ha Noi-Amsterdam Gifted High School received a gold medal and the award granted to the best contestant of the host country.


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