Aspiring astronaut rockets into NASA contention with selection for physics Olympiad

Alistair de Vroet is fascinated with space and hopes to work at NASA one day.
Alistair de Vroet is fascinated with space and hopes to work at NASA one day.

WITH dreams of one day working at NASA, Woodlands teenager Alistair de Vroet can pinpoint the night he became fascinated with space.

“One particular night, we went out to the middle of nowhere to look at stars and study the different planets in the solar system,” he said.

“Space is labelled as one of the last remaining frontiers of knowledge.

“I like the unknown, I’m a bit of a nerd like that, I want to make the unknown known.”

MORE: Alfred Cove wave park: serious allegations aired at latest electors meeting

MORE: City of Perth crisis: Lord Mayor announces audit, councillors asked to sign declaration they didn’t leak info to media

MORE: Parents says child sexual assault perpetrator’s presence at school “unacceptable”

MORE: Mark McGowan announces first ministry portfolios

The Hale School Year 12 student was the only student from WA selected for the Asian Physics Olympiad in Russia this May, Asia’s toughest physics competition.

“It was quite unexpected (making the team), I didn’t expect to get into the top eight,” he said.

“I was ecstatic, I ran around the house for a while.”

The Olympiad is a step in the right direction for Alistair, who has his sights set on college in the USA to study physics or engineering.

“It would really help with my goal of going to college in the USA, the first step to get to NASA,” he said.

“I went to America last year to look at a couple of universities, which was a real motivational booster for me.”

Alistair is one of an eight-member Australian team that will compete against teams from 29 countries, including China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Based on their performance in Russia, five members from the Australian team will be chosen to represent Australia at the International Physics Olympiad in July.

Australian Science Innovations executive director Ruth Carr said the Olympiad students had worked hard to make the team.

“They have excelled in challenging exams and sacrificed holidays to attend intensive training camps,” she said.

“They all have the potential to excel in this tough competition and we wish them all the best.”