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The Quest: A Gifted and Talented Challenge

15 November 2017

This year, two Mercy College teams from year ten were fortunate to attend the Quest Competition 2017 at the Australian Catholic University in North Sydney. It was an exhilarating, inspiring and challenging experience on the three topics of Humanities, Science and Mathematics which is designed for gifted and talented students. This year, it was based on the theme of “A Shared Understanding of Reality”. We were required to travel to the university on the 20th and 21st of November for a day firstly, to equip us with the information and secondly, for the challenges. On the first day, we were given three lectures on the topics mentioned earlier. Moreover, we were also requested to elect a leader for each team on the basis of the three separate subjects.


We began with Humanities, which required a lot of deep thinking and learning about the basic ideologies of philosophy such as Rationalism and Empiricism. We also brainstormed some knowledge problem questions which included: Can I think without language? Is colour in the mind or in the object? And am I my memories? And many more. We also learnt how the brain perceives new information and how it alters memories that we store based on previously acquired knowledge. We tried to identify the differences between truth and opinions and their similarities. It was a very overwhelming and astonishing lesson which opened our knowledge of the people, objects and world around us.


After a short break, we continued with Mathematics, which we surprisingly understood really well! The lesson focused on vectors and the GPS, also known as global positioning system. We learnt the application of vectors in reality and the functioning of a GPS in relation to satellites and the atomic clock. It required an extensive amount of previous knowledge and skills to demonstrating our knowledge. We learnt how to find the magnitude and direction of the vector simply with the use of the Pythagoras theorem and the sine, cosine and tangent rule.


Lastly, we were given a lecture on the topic of science, the most challenging of all. We were taught the basics of the two topics on the Theory of Relativity which included; general and special relativity. We learnt many new concepts with contained a lot of depth, such as the Lorentz Transformation (time dilation and length contraption) as well as, new terms. Furthermore, we learnt how to draw space time diagrams and how to maintain the speed of light as a constant. The concepts were relatively easy to understand yet, the terms involved and understanding the Minkowski space-time diagram were harder.


Overall, we were subjected to a variety of new ideologies, applications and theories which we attempted to understand and prepare for within a period of two days. The journey as a whole was extremely thought-provoking, challenging and engaging yet, it was a wonderful experience which led to many new relationships and we all look forward to competing in the finals. We would recommend this competition to anyone who has grit, an inquisitive mind ad love for a good challenge as we gained much more than we signed up for.



Written and Edited by; Hannah N and Fiza S.