Five Thai high-school students have won gold medals at the 41st International Physics Olympiad (IPHO) held in Croatia's Zagreb City over the past nine days, a senior official said yesterday.
Deputy Education Minister Chaiyos Chirametakorn will preside over a reception to congratulate the young champions upon their arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport tomorrow afternoon.
Pornpan Vitayangkorn, deputy director of the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST), said yesterday that the team - two Trium Udon Suksa School students, Nakarin Lohitsiri and Weerapat Tippayakhanchit, and three Mahidol Wittayanusorn School students, Chayakorn Pongsiri, Sirapat Jong-aramrungreung and Issarapong Eksinchon - were accompanied by a five-strong teacher team led by Professor Suwan Khusamran from King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Lat Krabang.
Thailand won gold medals at the 2002 IPHO but this was the first time that a five-strong Thai team won five gold medals.
At the IPHO held in Mexico in 2009, the Thai team managed to win one gold and four silver medals.
Issarapong, who also won a silver medal in Mexico, said he was |overjoyed to get a gold medal this year.
He said that the IPHO gave him a strong purpose to learn and were motivating students to pay attention to science.
He said that to succeed in study, one needed to find the subject one liked most, or was best in, and then to work on it with determination to achieve one's goals.
Issarapong said teachers were also important to students' learning. He said some teachers might not have graduated directly from the fields they were teaching and couldn't clearly explain lessons to students. He said many students resorted to rote learning and felt bored.
He added quickly that he was lucky to have had good science teachers. He said he wanted to be a researcher using his knowledge to serve the country in the future.
Weerapat, another happy gold medallist who also won a silver medal in Mexico, said that he wanted to be a physics teacher in a university and also do research in physics.
Chayakorn said he prepared for the contest by practising physics questions and fully paying attention in the class. He said he loved learning about physics and especially doing experiments.
Sirapat said he was inspired to join the academic Olympiad project by the earlier winners' achievements.
Camp activities associated with the project made him feel strong academically and mentally. He said he liked learning physics because it was fun and allowed him to think and analyse without rote learning. Physics let him look at things with a scientific viewpoint and understand better about the rules of nature.
The subject also helped creating many new technologies and innovations.
Nakarin said that science teachers should help kids understand the core ideas of the subject via experiments or observing natural phenomenon. He said he wanted to be a university professor who also did physics research.