International Physics Olympiad
The International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) is an annual physics competition for high school students. It is one of the International Science Olympiads. The first IPhO was held in Warsaw, Poland in 1967.
Each national delegation is made up of at most five student competitors plus two leaders, selected on a national level. Observers may also accompany a national team. The students compete as individuals, and must sit for intensive theoretical and laboratory examinations. For their efforts the students can be awarded gold, silver, or bronze medals or an honourable mention.
The theoretical examination lasts 5 hours and consists of three questions. Usually these questions involve more than one part. The practical examination may consist of one laboratory examination of five hours, or two, which together take up the full five hours.
Several years before the first IPhO took place in 1967, invitations were sent to all the Central European countries. The invitations were accepted by Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania (five countries including Poland, the organiser of the competition). Each team consisted of three secondary school students accompanied by one supervisor. The competition was arranged along the lines of the final stage of the Polish Physics Olympiad: one day for theoretical problems and one day for carrying out an experiment. One obvious difference was that the participants had to wait for the scripts to be marked. During the waiting period the organisers arranged two excursions by plane to Kraków and to Gdańsk. At the first IPhO the students had to solve four theoretical problems and one experimental problem.
The second Olympiad was organised by Prof. Rezső Kunfalvi in Budapest, Hungary, in 1968. Eight countries took part in that competition. The German Democratic Republic, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia joined the participating countries. Again, each country was represented by three secondary school students and one supervisor. Some time before the second IPhO a preliminary version of the Statutes and the Syllabus were produced. Later these documents were officially accepted by the International Board consisting of the supervisors of the teams that participated in the competition. This took place during a special meeting organised in Brno, Czechoslovakia, several months after the second IPhO.
The third IPhO was arranged by Prof. Rostislav Kostial in Brno, Czechoslovakia, in 1969. On that occasion each team consisted of five students and two supervisors. The competition in Brno was organised according to the official Statutes accepted earlier.
The next Olympiad took place in Moscow, Soviet Union, in 1970. Each country was represented by six students and two supervisors. During that Olympiad several small changes were introduced into the Statutes.
Since the fifth IPhO, held in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1971, each team has consisted of five pupils and two supervisors. In 1978 and 1980, the IPhO was not organized. This was due to the accession of the Western countries. The first western country to participate was France. At first, the few Western countries participating declined to accept the principle that the IPhO be organized every second year in a Western and Eastern bloc country. Thus the Eastern block countries declined from organising the 1978 and 1980 olympiads. From 1982 onwards, the yearly competition was resumed as there were enough participating Western countries to share the load. At present, the venue of the Olympiad is decided for years ahead. After accession into IPhO, every country must notify the others within three years about its willingness to host the IPhO. After this, the country is placed on a waiting list which as of 2006 stretches well into the 2050s. The failure to organize the IPhO on turn will lead to temporary expulsion from the IPhO. This happened to France in 1986.
Structure of the Competition
The competition lasts for two days. One day is devoted to theoretical problems (three problems involving at least four areas of physics taught in secondary schools, total number of marks is 30). Another day is devoted to experimental problems (one or two problems, total number of marks 20). These two days are separated by at least one day of rest. On both occasions the time allotted for solving the problems is five hours. Each team consists of students from general or technical secondary schools (not colleges or universities) or have graduated but are yet to enter university, and must be under the age of 20. Typically each team consists of five students (pupils) and two supervisors.
Distribution of medals
The minimal scores required for Olympiad medals and honourable mentions are chosen by the organizers according to the following rules: A gold medal should be awarded to the top 8% of the participants. A silver medal or better should be awarded to the top 25%. A bronze medal or better should be awarded to the top 50%. An honourable mention or better should be awarded to the top 67%. All other participants receive certificates of participation. The participant with the highest score (absolute winner) receives a special prize, in addition to a gold medal.
List of past and future olympiads
|Number||Year||Host Country||Host City||Winner||Score||Homepage|
|47||2016||Switzerland and Liechtenstein||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|45||2014||Kazakhstan||Astana||CHN Xiaoyu Xu||41.20/50||ipho2014.kz|
|44||2013||Denmark||Copenhagen||HUN Attila Szabó||47/50||ipho2013.dk|
|43||2012||Estonia||Tartu and Tallinn||HUN Attila Szabó||45.80/50||ipho2012.ee|
|42||2011||Thailand||Bangkok||TWN Hsu Tzu-ming||48.50/50||ipho2011|
|41||2010||Croatia||Zagreb||CHN Yu Yichao||48.65/50||ipho2010.hfd.hr|
|40||2009||Mexico||Mérida||CHN Shi Handuo||48.20/50||ipho2009.smf.mx|
|39||2008||Vietnam||Hanoi||CHN Tan Longzhi||44.60/50||ipho2008.hnue.edu.vn[dead link]|
|38||2007||Iran||Isfahan||KOR Choi Youngjoon||48.80/50||ipho2007.ir[dead link]|
|37||2006||Singapore||Singapore||INA Jonathan Pradana Mailoa||47.20/50||ipho2006.org[dead link]|
|36||2005||Spain||Salamanca|| HUN Gábor Halász
TWN Lin Ying-hsuan
|35||2004||South Korea||Pohang||BLR Alexander Mikhalychev||47.70/50||ipho2004.or.kr[dead link]|
|34||2003||Taiwan||Taipei||USA Pavel Batrachenko||42.30/50||ipho2003|
|33||2002||Indonesia||Bali||VIE Ngoc Duong Dang||45.40/50||ipho33[dead link]|
|32||2001||Turkey||Antalya||RUS Daniyar Nourgaliev||47.55/50|
|31||2000||United Kingdom||Leicester||CHN Lu Ying||43.4/50||IPhO-2000|
|30||1999||Italy||Padova||RUS Konstantin Kravtsov||49.8/50||1999 IPhO|
|29||1998||Iceland||Reykjavík||CHN Chen Yuao||47.5/50||1998 IPhO|
|28||1997||Canada||Sudbury||IRN Sayed Mehdi Anvari||47.25/50|
|27||1996||Norway||Oslo||CHN Liu Yurun||47.5/50|
|26||1995||Australia||Canberra||CHN Yu Haitao||95/100|
|25||1994||China||Beijing||CHN Yang Liang||44.3/50|
|24||1993||USA||Williamsburg|| CHN Zhang Junan
GER Harald Pfeiffer
|23||1992||Finland||Helsinki||CHN Chen Han||44/50|
|22||1991||Cuba||Havana||URS Timour Tchoutenko||48.2/50|
|21||1990||Netherlands||Groningen||GBR Alexander H. Barnett||45.7/50|
|20||1989||Poland||Warsaw||USA Steven Gubser||46.33/50|
|19||1988||Austria||Bad Ischl||GBR Conrad McDonnell||39.38/50|
|18||1987||East Germany||Jena||ROM Catalin Malureanu||49/50|
|17||1986||United Kingdom||London-Harrow||URS Oleg Volkov||37.9/50|
|16||1985||SFR Yugoslavia||Portorož||TCH Patrik Španĕl||42.5/50|
|15||1984||Sweden||Sigtuna|| NED Jan de Boer
ROM Sorin Spânoche
|14||1983||Romania||Bucharest||BUL Ivan Ivanov||43.75/50|
|13||1982||West Germany||Malente||FRG Manfred Lehn||43/50|
|12||1981||Bulgaria||Varna||URS Aleksandr Goutine||47/50|
|11||1979||Soviet Union||Moscow||URS Maksim Tsipine||43/50|
|10||1977||Czechoslovakia||Hradec Králové||TCH Jiří Svoboda||49/50|
|9||1976||Hungary||Budapest||POL Rafał Łubis||47.5/50|
|8||1975||East Germany||Güstrow||URS Sergey Korshunov||43/50|
|7||1974||Poland||Warsaw|| POL Jarosław Deminet
POL Jerzy Tarasiuk
|6||1972||Romania||Bucharest||HUN Zoltán Szabó||57/60|
|5||1971||Bulgaria||Sofia|| TCH Karel Šafařík
HUN Ádám Tichy-Rács
|4||1970||Soviet Union||Moscow||URS Mikhaïl Volochine||57/60|
|3||1969||Czechoslovakia||Brno||TCH Mojmír Šob||48/48|
|2||1968||Hungary||Budapest||POL Tomasz Kręglewski||35/40|
|1||1967||Poland||Warsaw||HUN Sándor Szalay||39/40|
- In some of contests, Taiwan uses Chinese Taipei as their team name to join the contest.
- Homepage of the International Physics Olympiad: old and current variant
- List of Winners in 1st-41st International Physics Olympiads :