Tengiz Bibilashvili, a senior lecturer in physics, has been named academic director of the United States team in the International Physics Olympiad, a position equivalent to head coach. The American Association of Physics Teachers announced the news as the coaches prepare their search for the five students who will represent the country in 2022.
“I feel a big honor and responsibility for maintaining the U.S. team's reputation,” Bibilashvili said. “I also want to extend Olympic involvement to the U.S. schools and regions with lower or no participation.”
Each year the association recruits and trains students to compete in the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO). Unlike in athletic sports, IPhO participants do not compete against each other directly. They solve theoretical and experimental problems during two rounds of competition to score points, Bibilashvili explained. Medals and honorable mentions are awarded based on these scores, not on victories. “It makes the competition friendly and motivates students to study physics, rather than compete,” he said.