Wildwood School students, including Santa Monica residents Daniel Pfeffer and Teresa Xu, tackled physics problems to help the American team finish fourth overall out of 22 countries competing at the 2007 International Young Physicists’ Tournament.

The team, which competed from July 5th through 12th, earned bronze medals at the tournament, which included more than 300 high school students.

The International Young Physicists’ Tournament is a theoretical and practical research-based competition for teams of five high school students each, usually in their last year of high school.

Students research 17 problems and then present and defend their findings in “physics fights” as part of a structured competition. The “physics fights” consisted of three teams each representing the roles of a reporter, a reviewer and an opponent.

During the fights, the opponent challenges the reporter on the long-awaited problem, which the reporter has to prove. The reviewer then objectively evaluates both sides for strengths and weaknesses.

All teams were given the opportunity to play each role once. Wildwood physics teacher and team captain Tengiz Bibiliashvili said he was proud of Santa Monicans Pfeffer and Xu because they took physics only as an elective, not as a core class.

They learned from Wildwood project-based learning that they can go in-depth around a problem and Bibiliashvili said he didn’t even have to teach them how to present because this is something they learned on their own.

At the tournament, Xu successfully presented the observation of two water jets colliding at different angles.

Pfeffer took on a difficult problem that Bibiliashvili said other teams were rejecting — proving how a droplet of ball-point pen ink moves on a water surface.

Pfeffer managed to find all the

experimental conditions and made a solution of the problem, Bibiliashvili said.

Wildwood School is a kindergarten-through-12th-grade co-educational independent college preparatory day school in West Los Angeles.

Information on the International Physicists’ Tournament, www.iy pt.ch/.