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Science department trialling new education app developed by QE alumni that harnesses the power of AI

Two Old Elizabethan medics are working with the School to trial an innovative education app that uses AI to support both pupils and their teachers.

QE contemporaries Kavi Samra and Paul Jung (both 2008–2015) have developed Medly AI to help pupils from backgrounds like theirs who may not have access to all the educational resources available to others.

They only started working on the business in August, yet already it has won funding and been accepted into Microsoft’s start-up programme.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “We are very pleased to be working with Kavi and Paul as they develop this exciting venture that is showing great potential to support our boys, and other young people, with their consolidation and revision.”

After approaching the School about trialling the app with QE pupils, the pair had a meeting with the Headmaster and with Gillian Ridge and Amy Irvine, Heads of Biology and Chemistry respectively, in which they demonstrated the platform and introduced its teacher mode. “This is where teachers are able to set questions (from a large database, or their own custom questions) to their respective classes for homework, or in a test format,” said Kavi.

Medley AI can then:

  • Understand the questions
  • Work out how they fit into the curriculum of the subject
  • Assign them to a specification point
  • Mark the students’ answers.

“From here, the teacher can get in-depth statistical insights into each student’s weak topics, topic by topic and class by class. This then enables them to customise their classroom teaching according to class-wide weak topics and, of course, saves an incredible amount of time in terms of marking student work.

“Both Dr Irvine and Dr Ridge seemed quite impressed and were eager to start using Medly as a resource to save time and understand where their students don’t perform well.”

‘Onboarding’ for the Year 11 group took place before Christmas, and Paul and Kavi will now be working with the Science department. “This will involve teachers setting homework on the platform and providing feedback on what they’d like to see in our teacher mode to help us improve the platform,” said Kavi. “The students will, of course, have access to our base platform, too, in case they wish to do additional learning or practise questions or exams.”

“We’ve always wanted to try to democratise education,” says Kavi. “Medly AI was born from the vision of making quality education accessible and personalised through the power of AI. Both Paul and I noticed throughout our education how people often had advantages from their socio-economic background in terms of educational resources (e.g personal tuition): both of us come from backgrounds that didn’t allow us access to these resources.

“Recognising the gaps in traditional educational systems due to work pressures on teachers and staffing issues, we saw the potential of AI to fill these gaps and therefore conceptualised a platform that could act as a personal tutor, examiner, and classroom assistant, all integrated into one user-friendly interface.”

Paul is responsible for writing code and working on the technical side of the project, while Kavi takes on operations.

After just two months of development, Microsoft admitted Medly AI to its programme, providing Kavi and Paul with mentoring from a business development manager and meeting the costs of the platform up to £150,000. A month later, the project was also accepted into UCL’s Hatchery start-up accelerator, enabling its professional fees for legal, IP and accounting costs to be funded.

Both Paul and Kavi have deep connections with UCL. Paul holds a PhD in Neuropsychiatry from the university, and has an extensive background in coding and teaching. He included AI in his research, on which he has published and given international presentations. He has returned to his medical degree at UCL and is in his final year, completing his MBBS in August.

Kavi, who currently works as a doctor in anaesthetics, completed his medical degree at UCL in 2021 and is a clinical teacher within its medical school: his approaches to using teaching theory in a digital age earned him an Associate Fellowship of Higher Education Award from UCL and he is also one of the youngest recipients of an honorary fellow contract at UCL.


Rubbing shoulders with the best: Ranvir’s reward as he is named among top 50 young physicists

A Year 12 pupil took up a coveted place on a prestigious summer residential at Cambridge after securing a top-50 place in the Senior Physics Challenge.

Ranvir Sinha completed 586 questions up to the deadline in the online challenge run by Isaac Physics, a Department of Education project at the university. Many of the questions involved concepts usually introduced only at undergraduate level.

He joined other top-performing students at the four-day residential placement, where they were able to conduct experiments at the world-famous Cavendish Laboratory. The residential aims to give young people an idea of what it would be like to study quantum mechanics as an undergraduate.

Assistant Head (Pupil Destinations) James Kane said: “We are delighted for Ranvir – not only for his success in qualifying, but also for the opportunity he had to experience lectures which really engaged and stretched him.”

Ranvir, who won a Diamond Certificate for his élite performance, said: “I enjoyed tackling the challenges, especially the problems relating to moments of inertia, and learning the tricks that could be used to simplify them.”

Ranvir was fulsome in his praise of the residential, where he was taught by eminent lecturers such as Dr Lisa Jardine-Wright OBE (the director of Isaac Physics and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge), Dr Anton Machacek (a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge), Dr Nicki Humphry-Baker (a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge), who sped the cohort through advanced concepts in Physics. “My favourite was the derivation of Schrödinger’s time-independent equation; it was immensely satisfying being able to prove such a fundamental part of the quantum world,” he said.

In addition to the lectures, the visiting students worked together on groups in the Cavendish Laboratory.

Ranvir was impressed with the facilities there: “It was equipped with brilliant apparatus! My group and I conducted tests for diffraction gratings, depending on the number and shape of slits that a laser would shine through – the lasers were so impressive, as were the vibrant patterns formed on our pieces of paper.”

The competition is run annually by Isaac Physics, an Open Platform for Active Learning. It aims to offer support and resources to students transitioning from GCSE to Sixth Form and through to university. Students work through the challenges at their own pace, but to a deadline.

The website states that usually the top-performing students complete in the region of 300-350 challenges in order to qualify, with weighting giving in the rankings on the higher-level challenges that they successfully complete.

Mr Kane said: “By completing well over 500 of the challenges, some at second-year undergraduate level, Ranvir demonstrated his commitment to the subject. He certainly deserved his reward – and I am glad that he enjoyed it, too.”


“Above and beyond”: sixth-formers’ robot research presentation wins plaudits for QE

Queen Elizabeth’s School has been recognised for its commitment to pupil-led research after three sixth-formers impressed experts at a London conference with their presentation about robot navigation.

Headmaster Neil Enright has now received a certificate from the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) following the trio’s triumph earlier this year. They were one of only eight groups selected to present their research at the IRIS conference and were then singled out by one of the leading scientists there as her “highlight of the conference”.

In a letter accompanying the certificate, IRIS deputy director Marcus Bernard wrote: “I wanted to personally write to you and highlight the fantastic work of your colleague, Jonathan Brooke [Head of Physics], who went above and beyond to enable students at your school to carry out student-led research…

“It was a real pleasure to meet your students…They spoke eloquently and confidently about their research and were extremely well behaved, I was very impressed. They are an absolute credit to you and your team.”

Mr Enright today congratulated the three Year 13 pupils, Bhunit Santhiramoulesan, Heemy Kalam and Jashwanth Parimi on their success. “They chose the most challenging of the four options available to them – the ‘original research’ option – and then worked hard over a seven-month period, before delivering a confident, well-executed talk at short notice at the conference.”

IRIS develops opportunities for secondary-age pupils to participate in authentic research in schools and organises conferences at which pupils can share their research with their peers from other schools and the wider academic community. Around 50 other projects were displayed at the conference in which the QE boys took part. Representatives of just eight of those projects were invited to make presentations.

The QE presentation summarised the trio’s research project on automating the navigation of robots with limited sensing capabilities. They were given just two days’ notice that they would have to give their presentation.

The project had involved designing and creating a framework that generated minimal-error paths for a robot to take, given some set of points for it to pass through. They used deep reinforcement learning (a sub-field of machine learning) to achieve this, training the robot on generated paths and using a formula they had derived to quantify how good this path was.

Mr Brooke, who accompanied them to the conference, said: “Every step of the process was driven by the initiative of the boys, and it was fitting that one of the guests on the Scientist Panel that concluded the event, Dr Harshnira Patani, Senior Scientist Pharmacology at MSD (one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies), singled out the boys’ presentation as her highlight of the conference, making particular note of their use of machine learning.”

Through working on the project, Jashwanth said, the three had developed their “research and self-study skills, pushing ourselves to comprehend mathematics beyond the traditional syllabus, ranging from understanding neural networks to multivariable calculus”. He added that hearing from people with PhDs at the conference had made him consider research “as a possible future pathway”.

Heemy said: “Taking on a project with a lot of complex research independent of teacher assistance was the main challenge we faced, alongside coordinating the time spent reading literature with other schoolwork and activities.”

Bhunit added: “One of the highlights was being given the opportunity to present in front of hundreds of students and teachers , as well as being mentioned by Dr Patani as one of the projects that she found impressive.”

Story of a genius: award-winning biographer tells sixth-formers about one of the world’s greatest minds

Author, scientist and QE parent Dr Ananyo Bhattacharya gave a talk to senior pupils on his book about John von Neumann, the brilliant Hungarian-American polymath who made breakthroughs in fields ranging from nuclear energy to economics.

Dr Bhattacharya’s book, entitled The Man from the Future: The Visionary Life of John von Neumann, was named a Financial Times and Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year in 2021.

His lunchtime talk to A-level Mathematics, Physics and Economics students explored how von Neumann’s advances in mathematics 70–80 years ago continue to inform the science of today.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “We are grateful to Dr Bhattacharya, as a QE parent, for coming in to School to share his expertise and to inspire our senior boys. It is great that we can draw upon different constituencies within the Elizabethan community, including parents and alumni, to enhance the educational experience offered here.”

Dr Bhattacharya, whose son, Callistus, is in Year 7, is a science writer who has worked for The Economist and Nature, the weekly multi-disciplinary scientific journal. Prior to that, he worked as a medical researcher at the Burnham Institute in San Diego. He has a degree in Physics from Oxford and a PhD, also in Physics, from Imperial College London.

The subject of his book, von Neumann, was born in 1903 to a wealthy Jewish family in Budapest. A child prodigy, he had published two major mathematical papers by the age of 19.

After an early career in German academia during the late 1920s, he took up an invitation to Princeton University in October 1929, becoming a naturalised citizen of the USA in 1937.

In a life of only 53 years – he died of cancer in February 1957 – he made major contributions in subjects including mathematics, physics, economics, computing and statistics.

During World War II, he worked on the Manhattan Project – the research and development that produced the first nuclear weapons – and after the war, he served on the General Advisory Committee of the United States Atomic Energy Commission.

In his talk, Dr Bhattacharya mentioned the Manhattan Project as well as, inter alia, von Neumann’s contributions to set theory, game theory and the development of the first programmable digital computer.

Head of Library Services Jenni Blackford said: “Dr Bhattacharya delivered a friendly, accessible and vastly informative talk about the life and accomplishments of von Neumann.”



QE boys among top winners in competition to help astronauts survive their ‘lockdown’ journey to Mars

QE pupils, including both teams and individuals, have taken three of the top eight prizes in a summer competition to create a flight manual for astronauts travelling to Mars.

Lev Shafran, Achint Thakkar and Ye-Sung Baek, who are now in Year 12, collectively won the Best of Key Stage 4 Award in the second stage of the Galactic Challenge Journey to Mars Digital Competition, together with a teammate from another school.

The Science Award went to Medushan Thevadaran, also of Year 12, while the Illustration Award was won by Dylan Domb, pictured above, of Year 11. A further seven boys won gold awards, 15 took silver and six gained bronze.

Congratulating the winners, Head of Physics Jonathan Brooke said: “This was a popular competition among our boys, with 47 participants in 20 teams from Key Stage 3 through to Key Stage 5. It was an interesting challenge, requiring them to apply their skills in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics] and to develop in areas such as teamwork, communication and leadership.

“There were also a few telling parallels between the challenges faced by astronauts confined to a spacecraft and those endured by the boys during lockdown.”

The competition to create the flight manual for a mission set in the year 2041 was the second stage of the competition – ‘Mission II’. QE boys also performed strongly in the first stage.

Chair of the Galactic Challenge Aadil Kara, who is also an Old Elizabethan (OE 2010–2017), explained that when Covid-19 forced the cancellation of in-person events, including one due to be held at QE, the organisation had instead launched the digital competition to allow participants to enter from home.

For the Mission II manuals, pupils were asked to propose ideas to help the astronauts stay physically and mentally healthy in isolation. They were also tasked with designing the overall configuration of the spacecraft and with suggesting experiments to be conducted during the nine-month journey.

After a rigorous anonymised judging process, the winners were announced. In their feedback, the Digital Competition Team praised the:

  • Use of floorplans by Key Stage 4 Award-winners Lev, Achint and Ye-Sung to show astronauts the location of facilities on their spacecraft, The Aion. with eight separate modules serving different purposes. “There was excellent consideration of backup resources, and the use of shifts amongst crew members was an interesting proposition.”
  • “Real scientific principles” underpinning the manual for Science Award-winner Medushan’s Genesis I “Medushan referenced physical phenomena in lots of areas, including fuel used in the propulsion system, osmosis used in the water reclaimer, and dietary modifications for the astronauts to mitigate against radiation exposure.”
  • “Impressive illustrations” from different elevations provided by the Illustration Award-winner, Dylan, for his Explorer Vessel Cyclops. “Dylan also used labelling and annotations throughout to bring the diagrams to life, explaining the purposes of all the components on the vehicle.”

Commenting afterwards from the Key Stage 4 Award-winning team, Lev said: “I am proud to have worked with such an outstanding team, and I would love to work with them again. I learnt both organising and entrepreneurial skills through the transitioning of a product into a specific format, and it has further inspired me to pursue my interest in astrophysics and aerospace engineering.” Achint said that not only was it a “rather interesting experience since it enabled me to research and predict the form that space travel might take 30 years into the future based on the technology which is growing right now and which might be useable sooner than people think” but it also required him to do some wider reading, which was good preparation for the A-level Physics he has now begun. Ye-Sung added: “I’m most proud of an element of the spacecraft that actually didn’t make it into the final submission, as we didn’t have time to put it in. It was a solenoid that would have blocked solar wind, ensuring the relative safety of those onboard.”


A winner again! Ashwin scores success for QE in global technology competition

Year 11 pupil Ashwin Sridhar has crowned a series of wins in competitions he entered during lockdown with outstanding international success in the prestigious Microsoft Imagine Cup Junior.

He was named among just three winners from across the vast EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) area after designing an artificial intelligence-powered device to help tackle the crisis in care for the elderly. Ashwin was one of only nine winners across the whole world and was the sole UK winner.

The same design also brought him success in another competition – the Connect the Community: Design Challenge – where it was named among the 10 winning entries in phase 1 of the challenge.

Congratulating him, QE’s Head of Technology Michael Noonan said: “Ashwin is an outstanding Technology student who has had a tremendous year. Despite the challenges of the school closure, or perhaps even taking advantage of them, he threw himself into many competitions using his vast technological experience. He was successful in eight competitions on a local, national and, with his latest win, international level. He should be extremely proud of his achievements this year, and he undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him!”

Like the Imagine Cup, Microsoft’s sister competition for older students, Imagine Cup Junior provides those aged 13 to 18 with the opportunity to learn about technology and about how it can be used to positively change the world. In 2020, the competition was focused on artificial intelligence (AI), with participants challenged to come up with ideas to solve social, cultural and environmental issues.

Ashwin’s design, named AI RetroMate, is an all-in-one solution to help the elderly and carers with their everyday lives. An Internet-connected hub that dispenses, chats, and detects loneliness, AI RetroMate is controlled by a virtual caregiver and aims to support independence for elderly people who require care but want to stay at home.

Its features include:

  • A remote connection that uses cellular IOT (Internet of Things) technology to keep carers and patients connected reliably and securely, thus helping reduce the cost and strain of full-time care
  • A ‘chatbot’
  • A remote hub with a built-in a pill dispenser, incorporating facial recognition for additional safety
  • An attractive retro design.

After first researching online, Ashwin entered the cup competition, using AI to develop and prototype the device. As part of the project, he had to delve into advanced Mathematics to help enhance the prototype, using, for example, ‘nearest neighbour’ algorithms and linear regression models.

Ashwin developed his project late in lockdown, deploying CAD (Computer-aided Design) and electronics to create a prototype, using skills that he had learned in Design and Technology and in Physics.

Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Tina Jones, Business Strategy Lead, Azure Skills and Employability, said: “The judges were thoroughly impressed by AI RetroMate, especially the research [Ashwin] had undertaken into the difficulties faced by the elderly and by carers and how to create something to improve the quality of their lives.

“We particularly liked how [he] added a chatbot following initial product feedback, and the video, and how [he] brought the product to life with [his] CAD drawing was incredible.  [Ashwin’s] concept, ethics and use of AI was thorough, well thought-through, and it was clear how much effort [he] had put into [his] project.”

Ashwin, who won a trophy as well as a prize of Microsoft’s Surface Go tablet computer and case, said: “This project has helped me to explore STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics], using and developing skills from class to help solve real-world problems.”

In the Connect the Community: Design Challenge (run by RS Components, Nordic Semiconductor and Cadent), having been chosen as one of the international winners of phase 1, Ashwin is now working towards a final prototype, in time for the second phase, where he could receive the funding to help to bring his product to life.


Per ardua ad astra: QE boys’ success in lockdown space competition

A QE trio have won a major prize in a digital competition focused on the future of space travel.

The team, who are all from the same Year 9 Pearce form group, took the Innovation Award in the Galactic Challenge One Small Step competition with their design for a vehicle to explore the Moon’s surface in 2030 in preparation for establishing a human settlement there.

Several other QE teams and individuals also won awards in the competition, which was organised by a team led by Old Elizabethan Aadil Kara (2010–2017), who is Chair of Galactic Challenge.

Last year, QE hosted a Galactic Challenge event at the School and had planned to do so again this summer until the Covid-19 restrictions forced its cancellation. Instead, Galactic Challenge ran the special digital competition.

QE’s Head of Physics, Jonathan Brooke, said: “This was an exciting competition, requiring boys to exhibit creativity and scientific understanding. And at a time when everyone’s horizons have been shrunk because of lockdown, it also gave boys a timely opportunity to turn their gaze to the stars.”

Entrants were asked to produce a design for a vehicle that would be home to four astronauts during a six-month mission, taking into account factors such as how electrical power would be provided and what would be needed to support the astronauts’ living conditions.
Vignesh Rajiv, Maxwell Johnson and Sai Sivakumar took the Innovation Award – one of only four major prizes open to their age group. They proposed HNHV, the Helium-3 Noisu Habitation Vehicle (pictured right and left).

In their award citation, the competition judges explained why they had chosen the team’s entry: “This interesting proposal identified Helium-3 as a potential material to be mined from the Moon as a future energy source. Vignesh, Maxwell and Sai’s design consisted of two halves each housing two astronauts; a creative way to separate the operational and habitable components of the vehicle.”

Aadil has a longstanding involvement with Galactic Challenge, a regional competition for younger pupils and a sister competition to the UK Space Design Competition (UKSDC). In his final year at QE, Aadil progressed from the UKSDC to the International Space Settlement Design Competition, hosted by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Aadil graduates from Imperial College in Physics this summer.

Other QE successes in the competition included:

  • Gold awards for two entries – Koustuv Bhowmick, of Year 8, and Krishn Bhowmick, of Year 7, for their VIXI design, and Vaibhav Gaddi, of Year 8, for his vehicle, which he named Caladenia Elegans (the elegant orchid spider)
  • Silver awards to two Year 7 teams and a Year 8 team – Azmeer Shahid, Shuban Singh, Shivam Trivedi and Anish Errapothu, for Dark Voyager (pictured top); Daksh Vinnakota, Ved Nair, Ojas Jha and Keon Robert for Spatium Rimor I, and Year 8’s Ishtarth Katageri, Sachit Kori, Anirudh Terdal and Abhay Halyal for ML Pioneer
  • Bronze awards for two entries – Pranav Haller, of Year 8, for his design, The Hermes, and Year 7’s Giuseppe Mangiavacchi, Trishan Chanda, Timi Banjo and Rayan Pesnani for Luna Rimor.
Top physicists honoured at national prize-giving

Two senior pupils were invited to attend a special awards ceremony after their impressive performances in the élite British Physics Olympiad competitions.

Year 11’s Tanishq Mehta was a gold award-winner in this year’s British Physics Olympiad GCSE Physics Challenge, in which his performance placed him within the top five of some 6,000 competition entrants nationwide.

And Niam Vaishnav, of Year 13, is celebrating another exceptional showing in the British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad (BAAO) this year, having last year been chosen to represent the UK and then winning one of only two silver medals given to the national team at the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics in Beijing.

The pair were presented with certificates at the prize-giving at the Royal Institution in central London. QE Physics teacher Gillian Deakin said: “The honour given to these two young physicists at such a prestigious venue was a fitting recognition of their talent and dedication to the subject.

“They enjoyed the opportunity to meet fellow high-achievers from schools across the country and the British Physics Olympiad organisers.”

Tanishq Mehta spent several months preparing for the challenge – one of a number of competitions run by the British Physics Olympiad organisation – by practising past papers.

He recently sat the challenge’s one-hour paper, which featured both multiple-choice and short-answer sections. Teachers initially marked the papers and then sent high-scoring scripts through to the Olympiad office at Oxford. Only the top five were invited to the prize-giving.

With regard to Niam, even to have taken part in the BAAO in two consecutive years is a considerable achievement – entry is generally by invitation only.

He once again excelled in the competition: his score was among the highest in the country, which secured him an invitation to attend a training camp at Oxford University to compete for selection to the UK team.

He only narrowly missed out on that selection.

Niam’s cosmic adventure: sixth-former’s medal-winning performance in China as part of UK team in international Olympiad

Year 13 pupil Niam Vaishnav won one of the UK’s two silver medals at the International Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad in Beijing.

His performance during the fiercely fought competition put him in the top third of the competitors, placing Niam among the world’s foremost young astrophysicists.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “I congratulate Niam on his achievement and on the honour he has brought both to the School and to the country. He combined deep understanding and extensive factual knowledge with profound academic curiosity, thus exemplifying the free-thinking scholarship that we seek to cultivate at QE.

“While he is undoubtedly a talented young man, his success is the result of a great deal of hard work and he should therefore be very proud of his medal.”

Royal Astronomical Society Vice President Charles Barclay also congratulated the UK competitors: “This year the competition was particularly tough…and we are delighted with the result from this young team of five 17-year-olds.”

Although he enjoyed the competition itself, Niam says the highlights of the visit for him were meeting people from around the world who shared a common interest in astronomy. “We had lots of fun learning about our different cultures and exchanging card games! We also had the chance to see landmarks in China, such as the Great Wall, which was an amazing experience.”

Niam won his place on the five-strong national team after excelling at the British Astronomy & Astrophysics Training Camp at Oxford at Easter. His subsequent training included a spell at Marlborough College’s observatory.

He travelled with British delegates to Beijing, where he teamed up with other competitors from countries spanning the globe, including Nepal, Greece, Poland, Canada, Bolivia and Singapore. Niam and his fellow competitors stayed in the mountains near to the Great Wall.

The competition involved four tests: a five-hour theory examination, a five-hour data-analysis examination, a one-hour daytime observation round and a ten-minute night-time observation round, during which competitors could use telescopes. There was also a separate team competition in which Niam joined six people from different countries.

“The problems were tough but very interesting, with topics ranging from cosmology and dark matter to binary stars and the energy output of the sun,” he said. “Our knowledge of the sky was also tested: we were asked to recognise constellations and Messier objects [a set of 110 astronomical objects, of which 103 were included in lists published by 18th-century French astronomer Charles Messier].”

The aspects of the competition itself that stood out most for him were the questions looking into the evolution of the universe and of large-scale structures within it, as well as those which sought to answer the “big questions”, exploring the nexus at which elements of physics and philosophy merge.

The UK won two silver medals and received two ‘honourable mentions’. For a gold medal, a score of 78% was needed, for silver it was 68%, for bronze 56% and for an ‘honourable mention’ 44%.

“Overall it was an amazing experience that I will never forget, and I have made some lifelong friends from many different countries.”

Niam has already started the process for the Physics Olympiad competition next year, with Round 1 already complete, and Round 2 taking place in January.

Stellar achievement: Niam to represent UK against world’s best young astrophysicists in international Olympiad in Beijing

Sixth-former Niam Vaishnav is to represent his country at the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA) in China this November.

Niam, of Year 12, won his place on the national team after excelling at the British Astronomy & Astrophysics Training Camp at Oxford at Easter.

His success follows that of a number of QE boys who have been chosen for national and international Science Olympiads in recent years. Niam was also in the team that achieved QE’s best-ever result in this year’s national Senior Team Maths Challenge.

Robin Hughes, Chairman of the British Physics Olympiad (which runs both the Physics and Astronomy & Astrophysics teams), has now written to QE Headmaster Neil Enright to confirm Niam’s place. “He has done extremely well. It is a pleasure to have another student from QEB [Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet] on one of our teams again.

“The experience gained by a student at such an international event is one that remains with them for the rest of their lives,” added Mr Hughes, who is a Project Physicist for the Rutherford Physics Partnership.

Mr Enright said: “My congratulations go to Niam, and to his teachers, on what is a very considerable achievement. I am sure that he will find his trip both intellectually enriching and enjoyable.”

To prepare for the ten-day trip to Beijing, Niam is undergoing intensive training with his teammates. He has already taken part in a training camp at Churchill College, Cambridge, and there is a further five-day camp next month, taking place partly at Oxford University and partly at Marlborough College’s observatory.

Last year’s UK IOAA team, also made up of Year 12 AS pupils, have been very successful, reported Mr Hughes. They have secured Oxbridge places and two of them are on this year’s team for the International Physics Olympiad, which is drawn from Year 13 pupils.