“Golden Girl” in Physics: ‘Not to be outdone by int'l rivals' hinh anh 1Nguyen Khanh Linh surrounded by friends, teachers and relatives at Noi Bai international airport (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Proactive, humorous and intelligent from a young age – that is how friends, family and teachers describe Nguyen Khanh Linh, a former student of physics at Lam Son High School for the Gifted in the central province of Thanh Hoa.

Nguyen Khanh Linh outperformed 360 contestants from 78 countries and regions to win a gold medal for Viet Nam at the 50th International Physics Olympiad held in Tel Aviv, Israel from July 7 to 15. She also took home the special Best Female Student award.

Linh is also the only female member in the 5-member Vietnamese team competing in the International Physics Olympiad and the only female student who won the gold medal

“I am very happy that my efforts have paid off when I won the gold medal and the award for the best female student," Linh told reporter when returning to Vietnam on July 16.

Linh expressed her regret as when she did the test, she was tired and could not do her best. "But I'm still very happy with the result," Linh said, smiling brightly.

Although having to compete with 360 contestants from 78 countries and territories around the world, Khanh Linh said she and her Vietnamese teammate still felt very confident.

“Prior to the exam, the whole team had been given time for practice with leading physics professors for a month with careful preparation for both theory and practice. We also did physical Olympiad tests in previous years so we are relatively familiar. Therefore, we are quite confident entering the exam and do not find ourselves too disadvantaged compared to the candidates in developed countries,” Linh said.

“Golden Girl” in Physics: ‘Not to be outdone by int'l rivals' hinh anh 2Khanh Linh and members of the Vietnam Physics Olympic team 2019 (Photo: Vietnam +)

Speaking about this year's Physics Olympiad exam, Linh said she liked the questions about the heat because she was confident about this part. “The question that bothers me and my friends in the group is about classical mechanics because of the confusing traps,” Linh said, adding that most of the candidates could not do this difficult question.

Starting interested in physics from the 8th grade after a competition to select excellent students at school, Linh said it was not until the 10th grade that she really fell in love with physics when she learned about in-depth issues.

According to Linh’s mother, Chu Thi Hong Hanh, her family has a long tradition of pursuing physics.

“Her grandfather used to be a physics teacher of Ham Rong High School," Hanh said. "Her brother is also a former student of the physics class at Lam Son High School for the Gifted. During his study at the school, he frequently had to conduct experiments on natural phenomena related to physics at home. Linh therefore was exposed to such experiments at a young age and developed her own interest in them."

“Linh fortunately passed the entrance exams to good schools where she has been guided, encouraged and inspired by enthusiastic teachers to pursue physics," she said. "Her recent achievement was not much of a surprise to her family, friends and teachers, especially since she had the chance to challenge herself and then won bronze medal at the 20th Asian Physics Olympiad in Australia earlier this year."

To Linh, physics doesn't always come easy. It demands knowledge of mathematics and is based on natural laws and phenomena. In order to excel in physics, students need to possess keen observation skills and enough passion to study hard.

Despite her academic achievements, Linh does not consider herself a traditional bookworm. She does occupy herself by reading classical literature and historical books, but she also plays the guitar to relieve stress and makes sure to set aside plenty of time for relaxation.

“I will be absorbed in studying a subject when I find interest in it," Linh said. "There are days I only study physics if I come across an issue that I like. There are also days I feel tired and only read stories or watch movies."

Her hard work and intelligence have been recognised with awards since she was young. She won the City Excellent Student Award and Province Excellent Student Award for three subjects – maths, literature and English – when she was a fifth grader, including a gold medal for English. Despite her success in other areas, Linh decided to pursue physics and placed first in the entrance exam for Lam Son High School for the Gifted.

She continued to win awards in high school, including second prize in the national physics contest when she was in 11th grade and first prize the following year.

“I’m applying for the Department of Physics of University of Science, Viet Nam National University,” Linh said.

“I’m also preparing for studying abroad. I’m dreaming of being admitted to Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the near future.”-VNA