Brightest minds compete

Two Ridge students in event

Sebastian Silver and Jeff Chan competed in B.C.’s Brightest Minds Tuesday.

Sebastian Silver and Jeff Chan competed in B.C.’s Brightest Minds Tuesday.

Two students from Maple Ridge secondary will tested their math and physics skills in the sixth annual B.C.’s Brightest Minds competition at Playland on May 3.

The one-day contest challenges 50 high school students across the province to apply classroom theory to a series of questions developed by professors at the University of British Columbia.

“A lot of it is mental and a lot of it you don’t actually know until you show up,” said Grade 12 student Sebastian Silva, who is returning to the competition this year with Grade 11 classmate Jeff Chan.

“It really pushes you to think outside the box. You’ve got to be a problem solver.”

Each team will be have three hours to complete a series of physics problems using rides at Playland. To prepare for the competition, the duo has been spending hours studying theories and concepts relating to velocity, force and circular motion.

“You can’t be restricted to the numbers, the equations or the concepts,” said Chan.

“You have to visualize what’s happening. I like the logical part of it, how it’s step-by-step really. In physics, there’s a right and a wrong.”

Silva said he’s always loved figuring out how things work, which is why he plans to study civil/structural engineering next year at university.

“When I did this competition last year, it really showed me that this is really what I want to do,” he said. “I really like how it’s not subjective. For me, I don’t just like learning stuff, I like applying it. I want to solve problems and use my knowledge for the better good.”

The winning team takes home $1,500, while second place is awarded $1,000 and third place wins $500.

For more information about the competition, visit