Hisham’s star performance in space competition

Hisham’s star performance in space competition

QE pupil Hisham Khan has been named the UK winner of an international space competition and reached the top 5% of competitors from around 100 nations across the world.

In addition to taking first place in the UK, Hisham, who goes into Year 11 this week, won a Gold Honour in the International Astronomy and Astrophysics Competition for his performance internationally.

Other awards in the competition went to Shreyas Mone, who is entering Year 12, and to Queen Elizabeth’s School itself.

Assistant Head (Pupil Involvement) Crispin Bonham-Carter said: “Competitions are an excellent way of challenging pupils to give of their best and learn more about a field in which they are interested. My congratulations go to Hisham on his success – a reward for all the hard work he put in.”

The International Astronomy and Astrophysics Competition (IAAC) is a science competition that attracts thousands of competitors annually.

To achieve his success, Hisham had to negotiate the qualification round (five astronomy problems) and pre-final round (six problems, two of which involve engaging with recent scientific research). These, he says, mostly involved Physics calculations relating to space.

The final round, a multiple-choice online examination with 20 questions, was more about astrophysics knowledge. To prepare, he looked at previous years’ questions and also read around the subject. The round was sat online at home, but recorded to prove there had been no cheating.

Hisham, who hopes to take Mathematics and Physics at A-level after his GCSEs next year, plans to maintain his interest in astrophysics.

In announcing the results, a representative of the IAAC team said Hisham had “achieved outstanding results throughout the tournament despite very fierce competition”.

Hisham himself was modest in victory: “This was a new topic, but one I find interesting. I was surprised to be the top performer in the UK, which went beyond what I was hoping for.”

The IAAC organisers also reward those who support the competition. Shreyas Mone, who is an IAAC ambassador, was the sole winner internationally of the Award for Most Finalists, while QE similarly took the sole School Award for Most Finalists.