Two teams from Atlanta, representing the Weber School and Atlanta Jewish Academy, traveled to Israel in late March for the annual Shalheveth Freier International Physics Tournament at the Weizmann Institute’s Davidson Institute of Science Education in Rehovot.

The competition involves teams creating and cracking locks on pretend safes. But instead of combinations or keys, the locks are controlled by and demonstrate certain physical principles.

Each team of up to five high school students designed, built and operated its own sophisticated locking mechanism and tried to crack the safes of other teams. Basically, each lock is a multistep puzzle that can be solved by applying scientific principles.

The Weber School team finished fifth in the safe-cracking competition.

During the competition, teams take turns trying to crack safes, and judges determine the winning team based on physics knowledge, clever design and functionality.

The Weber School finished fifth overall out of more than 100 schools that entered the international competition and was the highest-ranked U.S. team. The students participating in the tournament also picked the Weber safe as their favorite.

The Weber team, which did not participate in the contest finals in Rehovot last year, consisted of seniors Levi Durham, Becky Arbiv and Ross Williams and juniors Eric Lieberman and Justin Cobb. Coaching them were faculty adviser Spencer Roby and science teacher Sairina Merino Tsui.

AJA made its second consecutive appearance in the Weizmann safe-cracking competition, though members Shaun Regenbaum, Josh Bland, Josh Italiaander, Jonathan Bashary and Nittai Shiff finished outside the prize-winning top five.

In their free time during their Israel trip, the AJA students visited Syneron, a company that develops and markets aesthetic medical products. The students asked engaging questions and learned more about the practical applications of science.