Tom_MS wrote:Cloudia wrote:Hello
While I was expecting that my students would struggle with the state/national level theory (lasers, multiple lenses, etc) that the Cornell Invitational is known for, there were questions in which I can't see how they fit within any of this year's optics topics. Alternatively, is it common to see more topics thrown than expected?
I'm currently a student, but I'll give you my take. The Cornell invitational is known for writing odd tests in some events, so I'm sorry to say I wouldn't base your studying off of the experience there.
To reference this year's rules, "Optical Absorption Spectra: Film, chemicals, dyes" could be interpreted as analysis of energy levels as well as analysis of spectra. This leads to a need for understanding the energy and characteristics of photons as well as methods such as diffraction which can produce spectral lines.
Redshift was on previous years' rules I believe, but not this year. In this respect, Cornell seems to have simply failed at following the rules.
I'm a grad and I've written/proctored various tests at different levels of tournaments, so here's my take on it. While some subjects might be outside of the defined area, I think that one of the most important part of the rules is in 4.c.: "The competition must consist of at least two questions from each of the following areas". Now the way I interpret this line may be different from how others do, but when I write tests the first thing I generally do is make sure that I meet this quota. However beyond these 20 questions, I generally add questions that are not listed in the provided topics (for example, wave optics and some astronomy-related things) that I think are still important to know for the overall subject of optics. This doesn't go against the rules at all as far as I can see, as I am meeting the 20 question requirement, but just adding some new topics/questions of my own on top of that. Thus if I was currently competing in Optics, I wouldn't limit myself to knowledge of just the topics listed, but try to get as much breadth as possible in the subject, as other test-writers could always think the same way I do. Plus that's representative of the spirit of Science Olympiad - not just limiting knowledge to content that will be presented on a test, but to have kids explore a subject beyond what schools/classes regularly teach as well as diving into the subject as much as they can/want.