IOAA-Jr is an annual competition in astronomy and astrophysics for participants under 16 years old from around the world. This year, a delegation from Ukraine joined the Olympiad, and members of the main Ukrainian team achieved one silver medal and four bronze medals.
Dmytro Hilei secured the silver medal at IOAA-Jr. He developed an interest in astronomy during his childhood, watching videos and reading popular science literature on the subject. He delved deeper into his studies around the 9th grade, inspired by his brother, who had participated in the International Astronomy Olympiad in 2018-2019. Dmytro prepared for the Olympiad by solving various astrophysical problems and practicing star and constellation identification using Stellarium, a virtual planetarium capable of creating a realistic sky in real-time, simulating astronomical events, and displaying constellations and nebulae.
Regarding the competition, Dmytro found the theoretical round to be relatively easy, but the second round, which required analyzing astrophysical indicators, proved more challenging due to time constraints. Despite this, he excelled with a score of 62.22%, well above the required 40%, making it the best result in the Olympiad.
Polina Kondratenko, who earned a bronze medal at IOAA-Jr, extended her profound interest in astronomy as an outgrowth of her passion for physics. She became intrigued by how everything is arranged in space while studying the physical processes of the Earth. Since then, she started searching for materials and studying astronomy.
During the Olympiad in Volos, adverse weather conditions with cloudy skies affected the competition. However, Polina and her team persevered, even setting up their telescope on a hill for the third round. The inconveniences were offset by the captivating atmosphere, the camaraderie of fellow participants, and exciting city tours.
Andrii Korosko, another bronze medalist, inherited his enthusiasm for astronomy from his brother and began studying it as early as the 7th grade. By the 9th grade, he was already learning astronomy at school and participating in an extracurricular program that provided in-depth knowledge of astronomy. He dedicated the entire previous year to preparing for this year's Olympiad and not only qualified for the competition but also secured a bronze medal.
When asked about his preparation for the Olympiad, Andrii mentioned systematic problem-solving, reviewing tasks from previous Olympiads, and participating in his school's astronomy club. Additionally, he highlighted the importance of practice through preparatory tours to succeed in IOAA-Jr.
Andrii's longest preparation was focused on one of the Olympiad tasks, which involved locating constellations and stars on a map. His dedication paid off, as he performed well in this aspect at IOAA-Jr.
For those aspiring to succeed in the Olympiad, Andrii advises becoming familiar with telescopes and practicing with them, as these skills are essential. He also emphasizes the importance of not rushing to submit work and recommends thoroughly checking it, advice valuable both in the qualifying stages and during the actual competition.
These success stories highlight the dedication and growing interest in astronomy among Ukrainian youth, showcasing their achievements on the international stage. For more in-depth stories about the winners, you can read the interviews on JASmedia.