Physics Orientation Camp 2016


The NUS Physics Society organised the Physics Orientation Camp 2016 (POC’16) from 13 to 15 July for freshmen to interact and make new friends. It also served as a platform to network with seniors, who were at hand to provide guidance to the freshmen.


The committee opened the camp in style, with one of the facilitators role-playing a chief commander by issuing orders to freshmen, simulating mission-oriented games. After the completion of each mission, freshmen were shown a series of videos along with the chief commander’s narration which unravelled a plot, complete with twists and surprises.


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A camp facilitator played the role of “Chief Commander”, who turned out to be a villain eventually


The first day of the camp started with activities based in the Science Faculty. First up were four mini dry games, namely Blind Mice, Relay, Ampere’s Loop and Cheerio where the four orientation groups engaged in a friendly competition. The game Blind Mice required one member to be blindfolded. The “blind” member had to rely on his team mates’ verbal guidance to locate a bin and drop a ping pong ball into it. 


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The orientation groups during the game Blind Mice (from top left in clockwise order): Octum Arbitus (red), Abyssi Umbrians (blue), Mactor Cxor (green) and Tinore Maritimus (yellow)


The next game, Relay, was a race across four stations. At each station, the participants had to complete an objective before they could move on to the next. The first station challenged participants to toss a chopstick that was placed on their palms in the air, and to catch them with their palms facing down. Participants begin with one chopstick until they successfully tossed and caught five chopsticks. At any point if participants dropped a chopstick, they had to restart the challenge. The rest of the stations were not any easier; the last being the toughest where each orientation group attempted to build the tallest structure of paper bags using only their mouths.


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Participants had to complete four stations in the game Relay


In the third game, Ampere’s Loop, the aim was to balance a balloon on a paper plate in one hand and to manoeuvre the balloon into a pail at the end of a path. Along the path, members of the other orientation groups would fan their paper plates to make the player lose control of his or her balloon.


The last dry game, Cheerio, was the most physically demanding, requiring participants to hang on a pull-up bar while answering questions. Some of these questions were even academic-related! 


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Participants hung on the pull-up bar while answering questions in the game Cheerio


The dry games were followed with a wet game, titled Drop the Cap. Participants donned newspaper vests over their shoulders. The aim of the game was to eliminate opposing team members by throwing water bombs at their vests, in the process tearing the vests from their shoulders. Participants could also acquire advantages such as powerful water guns by hanging a weight over their vest for five seconds. Drop the Cap required participants to strategise and take risks, alluding to the grading system of NUS. 


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Participants all geared up with newspaper vests in the game Drop the Cap


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The drenched but happy participants at the end of the game


The last activity of the day was Escape the Room. Participants had to solve numerous puzzles to find clues to make their escape. This was the most intellectually challenging game of the day. The fastest team took one hour and nineteen minutes to get the final clue, leading to victory. Some of these puzzles required freshmen to arrange mirrors and beam splitters on a customised tray so that a projected laser beam could be shone onto certain letters, giving the clue.


The activities for the second day were held at the Sentosa Palawan Beach. Participants had fun playing games such as Ultimate Frisbee, Capture the Flag and Fill-the-Bottle.


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The second day was spent at the Sentosa Palawan Beach


After dinner, participants headed back to campus for the final night activity, Scouting at Knight, which was another game of strategy. The day concluded with each orientation group gathering for a “HTHT” (heart-to-heart-talk) session over supper. It was a good time of bonding as they shared their personal experiences.


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Strategising for the game Scouting at Knight


On the last day, participants were treated to captivating lab demonstrations by the Head of Physics Prof SOW Chorng Haur. Prof Sow’s unparalleled flair for Science communication enthralled and reminded the freshmen of their love for Physics. Thereafter, a line-up of talks was arranged for the campers, including a Special Programme in Science (SPS) presentation.


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Prof Sow Chorng Haur gave a live demonstration on various experiments in Physics


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Posing for a group shot outside the Science Demo Lab


After the talks, participants headed to Amped Trampoline Park where they bounced on interconnected trampolines before heading back to campus for the closing.


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Happy campers at the Amped Trampoline Park


During the closing, the scores of each orientation group were announced and prizes were given out. The seniors shared that it was a rewarding experience getting to know the freshmen better. Freshmen also expressed their gratitude to the seniors for the advice offered on academic matters and life as a Science student in NUS. 


Orientation group leader LAI Mingrui said, "POC was a great three days of senior-freshmen interaction. We had a lot of fun and got to know each other through the camp activities. As an orientation group leader, I feel very excited for the incoming freshmen as they embark on their undergraduate studies in Physics. I hope that through the camp, they had a glimpse of what it is like to be part of a family of Physics-minded people." 


Incoming freshman Ravin RAJ said, “Huge thanks to the orientation group leaders and the other seniors for organising such a great camp! We really appreciate their advice and expertise, and we look forward to seeing everyone in school soon!”


Another participant remarked that POC’16 was the only camp where he encountered such “high-level” and “logically satisfying” games.