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Euro-Asian Astronomical Society
The International Astronomy Olympiad

A  P  A  O

The Asian-Pacific Astronomy Olympiad

Founded   25. IV. 2005.

What is the A P A O ?

This site offers information about the Asian-Pacific Astronomy Olympiad (APAO) - a regional (for countries of Asia and Oceania) International Science Olympiad, the daughter of the International Astronomy Olympiad (IAO).

IAO is one of the six International Science Olympiads (like International Olympiads on Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Informatics and Biology). As a daughter Olympiad, APAO follows Organization Rules of the IAO, which are officially accepted by all participating states and ratified by the leading body of the IAO and APAO - the Euro-Asian Astronomical Society. The Rules have to be strictly followed by all participants.

The site also includes a brief history of the APAO and necessary information for new participating countries and future host countries.

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1. Introduction

The Asian-Pacific Astronomy Olympiad (APAO) is a scientific-educating event for students of the junior high school classes - 14-18 years old, which includes an intellectual competition between these students. The style of the problems is aimed at developing the imagination, creativity and independent thinking.

The Asian-Pacific Astronomy Olympiad is carried out in the spirit of friendship, tolerance, where the competition is a stimulus for showing the participants' capabilities but contacts, exchange of ideas and collaboration between students, teachers and scientists from various countries have a primary importance. It should be emphasized that the competition at the Asian-Pacific Astronomy Olympiad is not the most important part of the programme, in other words the competition with its points, places and Diploma is only a tool but not the purpose of APAO, and APAO is not "selection of the best students" and not "examinations".

APAO takes place each year in September-December in one of the participating countries. APAO is organized by the Authorized National Representative (Astronomical) Organization (ANRAO) of the organizing country. (See #7.1. of IAO Statutes.)

ANRAO of every participating country may send eight students, who are the winners or prize-winners of the respective national olympiads or competitions: four students for the junior group (14-15 years old) and eight students to the senior group (16-18 years old). They are to be accompanied by two team leaders as representatives of each country.

Teams from the countries which did not registered their ANRAO may be adopted according to decision of the APAO Council. As usual permission may be done for such teams.

Observers may be at the Olympiad as well.

The Olympiad is intended for students of the adolescent age when the interest to astronomy is being formed most actively. Then preparation for participation is still a useful and purposeful education not yet having turned training into an end in itself. This is a principal idea of the Olympiad.

A considerable part of the knowledge which is necessary for participation in the Olympiad goes beyond the frames of the school curriculum in most of the countries in the world. Preparation for the Olympiad needs extra-curricular activities of various types, whose promoting is one of the Olympiad's aims.

The total amount of knowledge is comparatively not too large and acquiring it is completely within the reach of the students of the above-mentioned age. It is also the age for which the spirit of the Olympiad as an entertaining competition is most appropriate. Involving students of the senior classes would lead to enlarging and complicating the necessary material, which would be senseless. For such students it already turns into a kind of sport and is significantly less useful from an educational point of view. For students 17-20 years old more serious events are preferable like conferences and competitions of research projects.

The rounds of APAO are not tests of speed or memory or knowledge of formal facts and data (like "what", "where" or "when"), and all basic data and formal facts are provided to the students. APAO follows "classical" creative approach to content and style of the programme and problems. Organizers strongly avoid the sad modern trends that change many Olympiads into flashy style, and that force participants to make quick answers and pomp over knowledge and understanding.

The Asian-Pacific Astronomy Olympiad is also a meeting of teachers and scientists, where exchange of ideas takes place, methods for refining the astronomical education are discussed and international collaboration in this field is established.

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2. Aims of the APAO

In recognition that:

  • astronomy plays a fundamental role in the human progress and will acquire more global importance in the 21 century;
  • astronomical knowledge is an important part of the culture of our civilization and an essential factor in forming the view of life and the way of thinking of the young people in the modern world;

The Olympiad sets itself the aims of:

1) Attracting the most talented young people to professional careers in the field of astronomy:

  • giving an opportunity for showing their capabilities and encouraging the best students;
  • helping the young people in choosing a profession;
  • acquainting the participants with the real working conditions and the nature of the research work in the hosting observatory (institute), exchange of ideas and knowledge between astronomers, teachers and students.

2) Spreading astronomical knowledge among as many students as possible and improving the astronomical education:

  • provoking an interest in astronomy, physics and astronautics in a greater number of children and young people;
  • popularization of natural science and the scientific approach in astronomy and related sciences;
  • encouraging teachers to work for improving, enriching and enlarging school astronomy education and including more children in it;
  • activating the astronomy education in the junior classes of the high school;
  • promoting extracurricular activities in amateur clubs, scientific societies, circles etc.;
  • stimulating organization of national astronomical Olympiads in different countries;
  • enhancing international contacts in the field of astronomy and physics education in schools.

3) Stimulating the imagination and creativity of children:

  • the character of the astronomical tasks enables putting the students in non-standard situations, very close to those of a real scientific research; they can require creating hypotheses, assuming approximations, choosing between a multitude of factors that could be taken into account or neglected, and independent decision about the form of the needed answers;
  • the astronomical tasks can set unusual problems for which solving a free way of thinking, fantasy and inventiveness are necessary;
  • astronomical tasks allow a variety of completely different, although correct solutions applying different original approaches.

4) Cultivating a spirit of correctness and friendship:

  • the Asian-Pacific Astronomy Olympiad is a meeting of young people from different countries - future colleagues in the scientific exploration who will have to work in cooperation;
  • in the time of the Olympiad favourable conditions are created for active contacts between students, teachers and specialists from the hosting observatory (institute) aimed at an intense exchange of knowledge, education and upbringing of the children during all stages of the event.

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3. History

In the beginning of the XXI century a few organisers of the National Astronomy Olympiads in Asian countries and team leaders coming to the International Astronomy Olympiad (IAO), stated wishes to strengthen a role of Asia. The team leaders complained that in their countries very many high school students wish to participate in international astronomy events, that in order to encourage students who do not qualify for the full international programme (International Astronomy Olympiad) some regional programme may invite teams equivalent of second best teams from these countries. Also it would promote astronomy education in their countries and emphasise importance of science education. There was also interest of East regions of former USSR to be more involved into international programmes and to cooperage with other Asian countries.

Positive experience of organizing regional international olympiads on some continents, in particular

  • Ibero-American Mathematics Olympiad - since 1985,
  • Asian-Pacific Mathematics Olympiad - since 1989,
  • Mendeleev Chemistry Olympiad (CIS and nearest states) - since 1992,
  • Asian Physics Olympiad - since 2000,
  • European Union Science Olympiad - since 2003
    supported the decision.

    So there were good conditions to found and start realise a new annual astronomy-educating event for high-school students. And the Board of the Euro-Asian Astronomical Society decided to found Asian-Pacific Astronomy Olympiad as a "daughter" ("affiliated") olympiad in system of the International Astronomy Olympiad.

    The Chairman of the International Astronomy Olympiad Dr. M.G.Gavrilov issue a document of founding of APAO on April 25, 2005. The Founding has been approved and ratified by the Board of the Euro-Asian Astronomical Society on June 1, 2005. On the same time EAAS Board approved the first steps of organisation of the First APAO in Siberia (Asian part of Russian Federation) in December 2005.

    The I APAO was held in Irkutsk in the first decade of December 2005 (a month later than the X IAO).

    Asian-Pacific Astronomy Olympiads
    APAO Nr. Year Dates Country Town Number of states Host

    I 2005 December
    Russia Irkutsk 5 - +
    II 2006 December
    Russia Vladivostok 6 - -
    III 2007 November
    China Xiamen 4 - +
    IV 2008 November
    Kirgizia Bishkek 6 - -
    V 2009 October
    Korea Damyang 9 - +
    VI 2010 November 24
    - December 5
    Indonesia Tolikara 8 1 +
    VII 2011 November
    Kazakhstan Aktyubinsk-Baikonur 6 - -
    VIII 2012 November 26
    - December 4
    Bangladesh Cox's Bazar 6 - -
    IX 2013 November 23
    - December 2
    Indonesia Tomohon 6 - +
    X 2014 November 24
    - December 2
    Russia Irkutsk 5 - +
    XI 2015 November
    Bangladesh Dhaka 4 - -
    XII 2016 November
    Korea Goheung 7 - +
    XIII 2017 November
    Russia Novosibirsk

    (**) The host team may participate at the APAO as an additional team in the case of fulfilling some special requirements.

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    4. Participating and observing states

    • States, presented on the past APAO's:

    China (ANRAO registered 30.07.2003.)
    Indonesia (ANRAO registered 05.07.2004.)
    Kazakhstan (ANRAO registered 29.06.2007.)
    Korea (ANRAO registered)
    Russia (ANRAO registered 07.06.1996.)
    Siberia (*)
    Sri Lanka
    Thailand (ANRAO registered 14.08.2005.)

    (*) Siberia (Irkutsk province), as organizer of the first APAO and due to its historical service in the formation and development of APAO, may participate in APAO as a team of a state. Nevertheless, this right was used only at the I-II APAOs.

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    5. Frequently asked questions

    The most part of frequently asked questions about the IAO are actual for APAO as well. You may find answers:

    See also:

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    6. Contacts

    • The official APAO Web-address:     h t t p : / / w w w . i s s p . a c . r u / i a o / a p a o /
    • The official APAO e-mail address:     a p a o [a] l i s t . r u
    • Founding Chairman and Coordinator of APAO:     Dr. Michael G. Gavrilov
      ISSP of Russ. Acad. Sci., Institute street 2, 142432 Chernogolovka, Moscow region, Russia.

    One should ask APAO Council or APAO Chairman for necessary documents.

    Update 04-Sep-2017