Team Bangladesh shines at GeCCA 2020
This year, the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA), was cancelled and the organisers came up with the Global e-Competition on Astronomy and Astrophysics (GeCAA). It was a web-based competition and was conducted to resemble the traditional competition. It comprised the individual and team competitions and the individual section further contained the theoretical, data analysis and observation imitation rounds.
The Olympiad tests the knowledge of the participants in the field of cosmology, stellar photometry, instrumental astronomy, galactic astrophysics and observation. The main Olympiad is divided into three exams: theory, data analysis and observation. This is followed by a team competition and each team contains seven members from seven different countries. The teams were given two tasks; one experimental and another theory based question. The members had to work closely and finish the tasks within the given time.
This year, team Bangladesh won two silver medals, three bronze medals and one honourable mention. The silver medallists are Abdullah Al Rafi Mahmud, from Notre Dame College and Serat Mahmud Saad from Mirzapur Cadet College. Sajia Shahrin Neha, from Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, Md. Arman Hassan, from Notre Dame College and Zim Mim Siddique Sowdha, from Notre Dame College, won the bronze medals and Turja Roy, from Notre Dame College, received an honourable mention. Furthermore, Anam Bin Morshed, from Shaheed Police Smrity College, was a part of the team that won the first prize under the 'team competition' segment.
The selection of the team representing Bangladesh was done by the Bangladesh Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (BDOAA) Committee. Participants excelling in the regional and national rounds paved their way to the international olympiad, after an online camp. "Participants were selected for the GeCAA camp after a test and had to attend another team selection test. All camps and tests were held online with mentors monitoring us through Zoom," shared Arman.
For the international round, the IOAA committee created an online platform. The participants registered on the site and selected their convenient slot from the five different times chosen by the committee. All the exams were monitored through Zoom and the participants had to scan their copies and submit them within the specified time.
The participants are elated by the tremendous success of the team, and are glad to receive the opportunity of representing Bangladesh on an international platform. Sitting for an online olympiad was a new experience for them, especially during the observation round. Generally they have to use a telescope for this round, but this time everything was done using pictures and simulations. "The online competition opened doors for many participants who would not have been able to participate in the regular olympiad due to financial restraints," added Sahia.
The final results were announced a few days ago, via a live broadcast on Zoom and YouTube. The 14th edition of the Olympiad is to be hosted by Colombia next year.
Maisha Islam Monamee likes to read her way through life, and you can always find her scribbling and planning. To send recommendations and help, reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.