History of Young Physicists' Tournament in Russia
The very first Young Physicists' Tournaments (in Russian: Турнир юных физиков, Romanization: Turnir yunykh fizikov, Turnir junych fizikow, Turnir junyh fizikov) were held in Soviet Union in 1979, 9 years prior to the first IYPT. The organizer, main activist and supporter of this new type of competition was Evgeny Yunosov, professor of physics at Moscow State University.
- 1 The 1980 article by Evgeny Yunosov
- 2 Features of early YPTs
- 3 Timeline and organization of early YPTs
- 4 The YPT problems in the 1980s
- 5 The YPT Logo
- 6 Support from scientific community in the 1980s
- 7 Early International Young Physicists' Tournaments
- 8 YPTs in Russia in the 1990s and early 2000s
- 9 Recent Russian performances at IYPT
- 10 Current development
- 11 See also
- 12 References and notes
- 13 External links
The 1980 article by Evgeny Yunosov
In August 1980 Evgeny Yunosov has published an article titled "Young Physicists' Tournament" (Russian: Турнир юных физиков) in Kvant magazine (a popular Soviet science magazine for secondary school students, now available online). Yunosov has proposed the structure of a Physics Fight with teams having roles of Reporters, Opponents and Reviewers and was the first to underline that the suggested problems had no certain known answer and would make a problem even for a specialist. The 1980 article has determined the main features of YPT that remain milestones of the competition until today:
- "A Physics Fight is a collective competition of young physicists in their ability to solve complicated problems, to present their solutions in a convincing way, and to hold a discussion", wrote Yunosov in 1980.
- "Perhaps, the best scheme of a Physics Fight is if teams present themselves as Reporters, Opponents and Reviewers, in turn. At first, a representative of Reporter team presents their solution of a problem. Then, an Opponent poses questions to the reporter and announces his critical remarks. Naturally, that leads to a discussion. Finally a Reviewer evaluates the performances of both Reporter and Opponent", considered Yunosov.
- "In usual problem books, there are still no tasks of this type, and they would constitute a problem even for a specialist. However the life poses such problems to physicists daily. The jurors were very interested in seeing how students approached these problems, what qualitative explanation they proposed, what physical model they chose, what approximations they did, what experimental investigations they carried out, and in what way", underlined Yunosov.
- "The students were provided with the list of 17 problems", noted Yunosov in 1980, launching the tradition of 17 problems selected annually (however, this number was fixed only for the problems of the Correspondence Round, while other problem lists were somewhat flexible).
Features of early YPTs
The structure of a Physics Fight was rather flexible in early 1980s and it took some years to reach quite a stable scheme. Some discrepancies between current IYPTs and early 1980s YPTs in Soviet Union are listed below.
- The YPT was organized in several major rounds: the Correspondence Round, the Semi-Finals and the Finals. Since 1981, when the Quarter-Finals were held, Semi-finals and quarter-finals were mentioned as Selective Fights. During the Correspondence Round, the students were supposed to provide written reports on selected problems that were later graded by jury. The teams that have sent researches of sufficient number and of sufficient quality were invited to Semi-finals (As in 1980, 8 teams reached Semi-finals. In 1981, 6 teams fought in Semi-finals. Throughout the 1980s, the number of teams at the Correspondence Round was at the order of 40).
- Not all the problems were known before the competition; some problems were delivered to the participants just at the Finals (as for 1980, the Finals included "big" problems (to be solved in 1 hour) and "little" problems (to be solved in 10 min). Since 1982, mostly 1-hour-problems were proposed). The method of solving challenging tasks at a competition (still with a possibility to use any advice, literature reference, experimental evidence etc.), now abandoned, may have provided a chance to check if the participants could apply their skills to certain problems, without long preparatory phase.
- Examples of 1980 "big" problems: “Estimate the contact time between a floor and a given elastic ball as it falls down from a height of 1 m”; “Study and explain the behavior of a filament of a light bulb when it is approached by charged bodies”.
- ”Examples of 1980 “little" problems: “A magnet doesn’t influence on a wooden match. However, if a match is burned, it is attracted by a strong magnet. Explain this phenomenon"; "If you align a sheet of metal foil on a rigid surface and you move your nail in a certain direction, the metal foil will tend to bend upwards. Why? ”
- An example of 1986: it was proposed to determine the mass of the paper replica of Montgolfier balloon that was provided at the finals of YPT in 1986, but the participants could not approach the replica.
- Number of students in a team was flexible. In 1981, no more than 15 participants within a single team were allowed.
- As for 1981, an Opponent was not allowed to ask more than 8 questions to the reporter.
- All in all, at least 25–40 problems were to be solved at a certain YPT (at a Correspondence Round, at Semi-finals, at Finals, at Captain's contests, at Observers' contests etc. ) Not all the problems were published, and as for 2007, it is quite common when former YPT participants reveal unpublished problems from their archives.
Timeline and organization of early YPTs
|Year||№||Correspondence Round||Finals, Semi-finals, Quarter-Finals||Captains' contest||Observers' contest|
|1979||1st YPT||17 problems, to be solved in 1 month, in written. Tasks: ?||6 problems for Finals, to be solved in 2 hours.||2 problems, each to be solved in 5 min.||2 problems, to be solved in 40 min.|
|1980||2nd YPT||February 20 – March 12, 1980. 17 problems, to be solved in 25 days, in written. Tasks: ?||Semi-finals held on March 19, 1980. Finals held on March 28, 1980. 5 problems for Finals, to be solved in 2 hours.||2 problems, each to be solved in 5 min.||?|
|1981||3rd YPT||January 23 – March 10, 1981. 17 problems, to be solved in 46 days, in written. Tasks: (in Russian)(in Slovak), these lists are not complete.||Quarter-finals held on March 26, 1981. Semi-finals held on April 9, 1981. Finals held on April 26, 1981 with 4 experimental problems, to be solved in 1 hour and 4 theoretical problems, to be solved in 30 min.||8 problems, each to be solved in 5 min.||? problems, to be solved in 40 min.|
|1982||4th YPT||Started on December 23, 1981. 17 problems, to be solved in 2 months, in written. Tasks: (in Russian)(in Slovak)||Finals held on April 4, 1982. 6 problems, to be solved in 1 hour, in written. Tasks: (in Russian)||8 problems, each to be solved in 3 min. Tasks: (in Russian)||6 problems, to be solved in 50 min. Tasks: (in Russian)|
|1983||5th YPT||Started on December 20, 1982. 17 problems, to be solved in 2 months, in written. Tasks: (in Russian)(in Slovak)||Finals held on April 3, 1983. 2 problems, to be solved in 2 weeks + 5 problems, to be solved in 2 hours.||6 problems, each to be solved in 5 min.||9 problems, each to be solved in 5 min.|
|1984||6th YPT||Started in December 1983. 17 problems, to be solved in 2 months, in written. Tasks: (in Russian)(in Slovak)||Selective Fights used the problems of the CR. Finals held in March 1984 with 5 problems, to be solved in advance and 3 problems, to be solved in 2 hours. Tasks: (in Russian)||8 problems, each to be solved in 5 min. Tasks: (in Russian)||Integrated with Captain's contest, same problems, same 5 min.|
|1985||7th YPT||Started in October 1984. 17 problems, to be solved in 2 months, in written.||Finals held in February 1985. 5 problems, to be solved in 1 month. Tasks: (in Russian)||8 problems, each to be solved in 5 min. Tasks: (in Russian)||Integrated with Captain's contest, same problems, same 5 min.|
|1986||8th YPT||September 1985 – November 30, 1985. 17 problems, to be solved in 2 months, in written. Tasks: (in Russian)||Selective Fights (Quarter-finals and Semi-finals) held from December 10, 1985 to January 10, 1986, with the problems of the CR used. Finals held on February 16, 1986 with 5 problems, to be solved in advance. Tasks: (in Russian)||8 problems, each to be solved in 5 min, in written. Tasks: (in Russian)||Integrated with Captain's contest, same problems, same 5 min.|
|1987||9th YPT||September 1986 – November 20, 1986 17 problems, to be solved in written. Tasks: (in Russian)||Selective Fights (Quarter-finals and Semi-finals) held from December 10, 1986 to January 10, 1987, with the problems of the CR used. Finals held on February 22, 1987||?||?|
The YPT problems in the 1980s
As at today's IYPTs, the problems never included completely defined conditions and were intentionally left open ended. Most problems would sound quite naturally for a today's IYPT and were covering mechanics, electricity, magnetism, optics, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, thermodynamics and other branches of physics.
However, certain problems of early YPTs considered not only pure physics, but many interdisciplinary subjects, such as astronomy, computer data processing, image recognition, physical chemistry and even computational biology.
In 1981, one of problems said: “Is it possible to write a copy of the A. Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo" novel with a single ball pen that costs 35 kopecks?" According to one of the researches, such a Soviet pen was able to draw a line of 1 km long. However, "The Count of Monte Cristo" included 1750000 letters, 64000 commas, 26000 dashes, 44000 full-stops and 5000 interrogative and exclamatory signs that required drawing 23 km in average handwriting.
A 1990 problem "Fractal?" asked to study the dependence of a wool balls's mass on its diameter, when grandmother collects the thread into a ball.
Some engineering skills were sometimes required. A 1987 problem proposed to develop an Eternal Radio that would convert radio waves into sound without any power supply or batteries. The coefficient to evaluate the quality of the Radio, was proposed be given by x = P/Lm, where P was the acoustic pressure in 1 m from the device, L was the maximum of linear dimensions and m was the mass of the device.
The 1982 problem 'Bus' required to explain why vibrations in the back end of a bus were felt more clearly than near the driver's seat. One of the teams has developed a vibrometer with connected tape recorder as a data storage device and measured the oscillations in different points of a usual public-transportation Soviet bus, then calculating average energy of oscillations, spectrum and spatial distribution of average amplitudes in different places in a bus.
Many problems of the 1980s also required outdoor activities and applying physical principles to investigate phenomena that were hardly reproducible in a school lab or in a kitchen, like astrophysical phenomena.
Such problems required observation and measurement of all necessary parameters and dependencies without building an own setup to reproduce a phenomenon. Thus, these problems targeted to teach students to gain information from distant objects, such as space bodies, atmosphere or already existing anthropogenic or natural objects (buildings, urban infrastructure, mountains etc.)
Certain problems also required some background knowledge in languages or social sciences and asked to understand and explain sophisticated formulae or quotes of classical physicists.
Some problems also required a considerable sense of humor. For example, a 1983 problem asked to develop a method to transmit a written document to distances of 2 km using only 18th century means, and as fast as possible. The problem quoted "Rodney Stone" by Arthur Conan Doyle that described a method to transmit urgent and confidential information when attaching letters to cricket balls and hitting them. The "Rodney Stone" method allowed sending a letter in 50 miles (80 km) in 30 min.
Besides everything, there were problems almost identical to today's IYPT problems. Problem No. 19 "Splash" of the Correspondence Round in 1983 was similar to problem No. 7 "Splash" at IYPT'2008. The problem No. 11 "String Telephone" of the Correspondence Round in 1987 was similar to the problem No. 11 "String Telephone" at IYPT' 2004. Problem No. 3 "Camera obscura" of the Correspondence Round in 1988 was similar to the problem No. 3 "Pinhole Camera" at IYPT'2008.
The YPT Logo
Two horses and armed knights with mc2 and h shields seem to have appeared in 1981 or 1982. They were firstly used as the YPT logo in a publication in Kvant magazine in February 1982. However, the drawing was slightly different, with minor discrepancies to the current logo, commonly accepted in the 1990s.
While in the 1980s the writing on the second shield was E=ħ (with the reduced Planck's constant and angular frequency), it was replaced with just h in the 1990s. The formula E=mc2 has similarly lost the left-hand side of the equation.
The first known appearance of the current logo was on the diplomas presented to the winners of the 6th IYPT in 1993.
The author of these logos has not been reported for the longest time and remained unknown to most IYPT community until early 2008. "Oh, the author is Babaev, from the Department of Physics, Moscow State University. He has drawn these horses by hand", Evgeny Yunosov unveiled the mystery in a brief 2008 interview.
Released in February 1982, or earlier.
Released in August 1985, or earlier.
Released in 1993, or earlier.
Commonly used since then.
Support from scientific community in the 1980s
As early as in 1980, Yunosov has stressed that the YPT is impossible without wide support from the physics community in universities. The 2nd Young Physicists' Tournament (1980) has already enjoyed a cooperation with Lebedev Physical Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, with university students at Moscow State University and at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, with the Znanie society (a Soviet science-promoting organization).
The YPT was immediately supported by the Kvant magazine.
In 1981, Yunosov invited Evgeny Velikhov to become the president of YPT Organizing Committee. Velikhov was among top Soviet scientists, the vice-president of the Soviet Academy of Sciences and the head of the Atomic Physics and Electronic Phenomena department. He remained the president of the YPT OC until the late 1980s.
V. Bonch-Bruyevich, Lomonosov Prize winner, served as the Jury Chair since 1981. Georgiy Zatsepin has much helped YPTs in late 1980s and was elected the President of IYPT Organizing Committee in 1989.
Early International Young Physicists' Tournaments
Problems for the competition were published in August 1987 in the Kvant magazine, as it was common before. A detailed set of advices for YPT beginners was released as well. Several Selective Rounds were held in 1987–1988 for local Soviet teams only.
The international teams joined the Finals of the 10th YPT that were held in the Olympiets Youth Center, outside Moscow. There was no reference to the IYPT or 1st IYPT at the event itself, and everyone called it just the Finals of the 10th Young Physicists' Tournament. However, a Yunosov's article published in August 1988 implies that the 1st IYPT had already been held, because it announces the expected 2nd IYPT. The events of 1988 have been commonly recognized as such the 1st IYPT ever since.
List of international participants at the 1st IYPT is not definitely clear. There have been references to the teams of Czechoslovakia, Poland and Bulgaria. A 2004 article in Gazeta "Moskovsky Universitet" lists Hungary among participants of the competition, which is rejected by Hungarian sources. It is known that in 1988, the combined Czechoslovak team included the winners of the Czechoslovak Physics Olympiad.
Yury Yufryakov, a Soviet reporter and finalist of the competition, suggests that "there was no rigorous well-developed International competition" and thus, no winners and no contestants. There have been reports of Polish and Soviet teams being the winners at the 1st IYPT. Two Bulgarian sources claim that the team of Bulgaria took either the 1st either the 3rd position among teams from 4 countries.
Despite assumptions that the Soviet Union was represented with 2 teams, the captain of the Soviet team that was invited to make a talk at the "summary session" of the YPT, confirms that there was only one Soviet team at the session. The specific status of the 1st IYPT seems to be never emphasized at the event itself, because by late 2007, a participant and an assumed winner of the event was not aware that there was any competition at all. In his opinion, the 1st IYPT was a "closing ceremony" or a "summary session" of the 10th YPT.
The preparation to the 2nd IYPT began immediately after the 1st IYPT and was long and profound. By August 1988, it was supposed that the new international teams (unfamiliar with the format of the competition) would be supported by 'curators' (кураторы), school students of a host country that would help new participants to get familiar with YPT. The idea to allow a host country to have two representing teams was reported to be approved after international consultations in 1988. A preparatory international conference was tentatively scheduled to take place in October 1988.
All in all, 32 Soviet teams took part at the Soviet YPT that helped to select and nominate two Soviet teams for IYPT (of Odessa and of School 710, Moscow). The international participants attended these rounds and, reportedly, both Organizing Committee and Soviet students did their best in sharing the YPT experience with international guests.
In 1989, 8 teams took part at 2nd IYPT, namely the teams of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, West Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, and two teams of Soviet Union. "Most teams spoke Russian, and the rest of the participating teams were accompanied by interpreters", reported a participant of the competition.
The common practice of using visual aids during the report was presenting paper posters. Several teams have collaboratively contributed to a hanwritten newspaper that covered current events, such as Physics Fights. The newspaper included many jokes, such as around the problem No. 10 "Mosquito": "At what maximum altitude can a mosquito fly?" The joke was, "How much energy would an experimenter need to explain to a mosquito that it has to fly at a maximum altitude, as long as possible, in March?"
3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th IYPTs
By August 1989, the 3rd IYPT was scheduled to take place in Kladno (Czechoslovakia) on February 26 – March 3, 1990. A group of Soviet students, including Ilya Mashkov, Sergei Volkov and Fyodor Sigayev, even made a trip to Czechoslovakia in summer 1989 to take part in "somewhat like YPT-related conference".
The competition, however, took place in June 1990 in Olympiyets Youth Center (Moscow), after repeated revisions of the schedule. It ended with the victory of a Soviet team and involved, all together, 6 teams from 5 countries. The exact list of teams is not clear. The confirmed participants are Hungary (ranking 4th), Czechoslovakia (ranking 5th or 6th), the Netherlands, Poland and, presumably, two Soviet teams.
The 4th IYPT was held in Moscow on July 22–28, 1991. The participants at the competition included the teams of Great Britain, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia and two teams of Soviet Union. It is not clear if there were 7 teams from 6 countries or 8 teams from 7 countries. The team of Hungary was the gold winner. The Czechoslovak team was confirmed not to rank above 4th. The competition was attended by observers from France and Italy and by representatives of the European Physical Society. The tasks for the 5th IYPT were expected to be available by December 1991.
The 5th IYPT (with 12 teams from 10 countries) took place in Protvino, Russia, on April 25–30, 1992. The team of Belarus and the team of Czechoslovakia have shared the first position, winning gold. The list of participating teams and the ranking tables are obscure, but it is known that the Georgian team took the 4th place.
The 6th IYPT was held in Protvino (Russia) on June 18–25, 1993. The competition has attracted as many as 19 teams from 11 countries: Belarus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Moldavia, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, the Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The Georgian team was the gold winner. The ranking table is not clear, while it is known that Slovakia was not ranked above 4th, and Belarus was ranked 10th. Ukraine was ranked 2nd and Hungary was ranked 3rd.
YPTs in Russia in the 1990s and early 2000s
While the International Young Physicists' Tournament continued to rapidly develop and attract new activists, organizers and participating countries, the situation inside Russia became different from that of the 1980s because of political and economical changes of the early 1990s. The open Moskovsky Turnir Yunykh Fizikov (Moscow Young Physicists' Tournament) has replaced the union-wide Soviet Young Physicists' Tournament, that ceased to exist with the collapse of the Soviet Union, as reported Fryazino school, an active participant in 1988–1994.
Despite these changes, at the 7th IYPT (Groningen, Netherlands), the first to be held outside post-Soviet area, the team of Russia has shared victory with the Czech Republic. Sergei Varlamov, who trained the team and led it to the achievement, published many tips and advices for preparation. The Organizing Committee head Valentin Lobyshev has emphasized in a 1994 Kvant article that "the experience of recent Tournament has shown an urgent problem; our team had an unsatisfactory knowledge of English language that was necessary for active communication and holding discussions. We should certainly take that into account when preparing teams."
Throughout the 1990s the Russian teams could discuss their solutions with competitors at the selective Vserossiysky Turnir Yunykh Fizikov, but not everyone had an opportunity of direct communication with practicing researchers and academia. It was common that a team representing the country at an IYPT was not familiar with the features of the competition and the requirements for a successful IYPT report. Most Russian teams were not aware of the experience gained by earlier Russian participants:
- "We had to reject challenges to the problems in which we had both experimental and theoretical results, including ‘Cell and Accumulator’ and 'Candle Generator’. The reason was that we were not able to report them. At that moment the team has understood that a ‘ready’ problem is not a problem with some mathematical formulae or with a performed experiment. It is a problem that we also can explain", noted Olga Inisheva, a Russian team leader at 10th IYPT (1997).
The selective Russian competition could not hold previously excellent standards that led to a general feeling of discontent. Comparing to almost 40 participating teams in the 1980s and a policy of promoting YPT nationally, holding preparatory conferences and seminars, issuing leaflets, advice books etc. and involving as many teams as possible, only few teams took part in Russian YPTs in the 1990s. Since 1996 the practice of promoting the Russian and the International YPTs and covering Russian participation at IYPT in Web and in press was not apparently visible.
The role of the Russian language at IYPT was progressively decreasing, while the teams and team leaders apparently had limited skills in Scientific English and holding a scientific communication. No special efforts were applied to inform teams that such skills were necessary and further competitions showed that Russian teams experienced major problems with explaining themselves in English. The interpretation for them has been a common practice even in the 2000s.
Sasha Nemsadze, the Georgian team leader at the 16th IYPT (2003), has published a report analyzing every Physics Fight he attended. The Russian, Finnish and Georgian teams met at the 5th Selective Fight of the 16th IYPT:
- "In the first stage, the Finns proposed to the Russian team the problem “Freezing soft drinks”. [...] The game resulted to be almost comic. The Russian team, according to everyone's opinion, was rather weak, and furthermore they factually spoke no English.
- They have read the presentation text from the slides on screen. All of their team corrected the misread words. Finns have understood nothing. The Armenian Jury chairman Gagik Grigoryan just approached the Russians and worked as their interpreter.
- [At the next stage], the Opponent was a pretty girl from Russia. Gagik Grigoryan interpreted and, instead of her, responded to the questions and made commentaries".
Performances of Russian teams at IYPTs in 1992–2003
This list does not include Soviet teams in 1988–1991. Russia-1, Russia-2 and Russia-3 indicate the teams that had gained 1st, 2nd or 3rd positions (respectfully) at the selective Moskovsky Turnir Yunykh Fizikov (later Vserossiysky Turnir Yunykh Fizikov) and were technically expected to represent Russia at IYPT. Except for cases when the winner have cancelled their participation, these names also refer to the titles in the ranking tables of IYPT.
Despite only 2 Russian teams at IYPT were allowed, the Russia-3 was invited to IYPT in 1997, achieving a better result than other Russian teams.
|Year||Team of Russia-1||Team of Russia-2||Team of Russia-3|
|1994||Together with Czech Republic
shared 1st position (among 12),
|? (position among 12 teams not reported),
team of School 1, Fryazino
|1995||13th (among 15),
team of SUNC MGU
|14th (among 15),
team of Novgorod
|1996||? (position among 13 teams not reported in),
team of SUNC MGU
|? (position among 13 teams not reported in),
team of Novgorod
|1997||9th (among 15),
team of SUNC MGU
|12th (among 15),
team of SUNC UrGU
|8th (among 15),
team of School 9, Yekaterinburg
|1998||15th (among 18)
team of SUNC UrGU-1
|11th (among 18)
team of School 363, Moscow
|(Team of SUNC UrGU-2)|
|1999||14th (among 19),
|10th (among 19),
team of SUNC UrGU
|2000||3rd (among 17),
team of SUNC UrGU-1
|Have cancelled participation,
|Did not participate,
|2001||9th (among 18),
team of SUNC UrGU
|14th (among 18),
team of Akademicheskaya Gimnaziya.
|(Team of School 363, Moscow)|
|2002||16th (among 20),
team of SUNC UrGU
|Have cancelled participation,
team of Sarov
|Did not participate,
team of Akademicheskaya Gimnaziya
|2003||Have cancelled participation,
team of SUNC UrGU
|11th (among 23),
team of SUNC MGU
|Did not participate,
team of Lyceum 130, Yekaterinburg
Analysis and critical opinions
"On June 2, we had a selective fight with teams from Poland and from Prague. In these countries, participants have a support in preparation, they hold training seminars. The technical facilities of these teams are incredible. Overall, we were completely unprepared to the level of English language of our competitors. […] Obviously, we and the second Russian team have failed all Selective Fights and became observers", wrote a team leader in 1998, explaining their results at 11th IYPT.
In 1995, after the 8th IYPT (Spała, Poland), the Moscow organizing committee head Valentin Lobyshev has explained the modest results, "above the only Finnish team", by the "composition of our teams, no succession with previous experience and the language problems, resulting in unsatisfactory English language."
"Recently, the problems emerged when organizing Tournaments in Russia. They were largely connected with its expulsion from the list of all-Russian Olympiads and conferences. As a result, the students that had won in the Tournament and had spent a large amount of efforts to prepare to it, must take the decision: either go to IYPT either pass exams to a university", wrote in 2002 Olga Inisheva, the team leader at 15th IYPT.
"How we can compete with the countries where the trainings are held professionally?" concluded in 2004 Evgeny Mogilewski, a team leader at the IYPTs in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and a representative of the Moscow Organizing Committee.
"[...] Unfortunately, recently in Russia, the participants receive help only from undergraduate students, if they don't have classes themselves. [...] Development tempo of the competition in Russia is going down, while all of work is done by enthusiasts only. We can only hope that the motherland of the Tournament will not be left on the margins of history", he noted.
Recent Russian performances at IYPT
|Year||Team supervised by POISK Centre||Team supervised by Moscow OC|
|2004||4th (of 26) – Bronze||25th (of 26)|
|2005||13th (of 25)||20th (of 25)|
|2006||9th (of 26) – Bronze||Did not participate|
|2007||Did not compete||Have cancelled participation|
|2008||Did not compete||Have cancelled participation|
In 1999, a group of physicists at Saint Petersburg State University became familiar with concept of the Young Physicists' Tournament and the earlier activities of Soviet and Russian teams and enthusiasts. Despite initially modest achievements at the selective Vserossiysky Turnir Yunykh Fizkiov, the group has selected and supervised a team for the 14th International Young Physicists' Tournament, helping to outline the necessity of wider interaction between secondary school students with academic community, international cooperation and promoting the IYPT concept in post-Soviet Russia.
One of the first international events held at Saint Petersburg State University was an English language Preparation Camp to the 15th IYPT, which was held in late November-early December 2001 and involved Polish and Russian teams.
A considerable number of new members, including around 10 practicing researchers and university professors and around 10 undergraduate physics students, many of whom had been IYPT participants themselves, supported and joined the activist group in 2002 and 2003, which led to launching the Russian university-based YPT-oriented research and educational entity, which was called POISK Centre. The name, according to their web-site, was a Russian abbreviation that stood for the Support Centre for Olympiads, Intellectual Competitions and Contests.
Activities of POISK Centre since 2004
Established in 2004, the Centre focused on the fact that the leaders at IYPTs were teams of Slovakia, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Austria that were trained at scientific and educational university associations or centres and enjoyed active university support in the preparation of their National teams.
- "We felt a strong need in using completely new ways of training and supervising Russian teams at IYPT. By 2004, there was an urgent need in a university-based educative and research centre that would help to select and prepare a competitive team. We have to admit that the performances of certain Russian teams at recent IYPTs were incompatible with the scientific potential of our country and the role that Russia used to play in developing YPT as a new institution and a new type of competition. The POISK Centre […] hopes to implement many plans in providing professional, transparent, well-organized system of training Russian teams", stated POISK Centre in 2004.
Since 2004, the POISK Centre has been remaining the university-based organization in Russia that has been selecting, supervising and training the major National teams that represent the country at the International Young Physicists' Tournament.
The teams selected by POISK Centre have been participants of IYPTs in 2004 (Brisbane, Australia), 2005 (Winterthur, Switzerland) and 2006 (Bratislava, Slovakia) with significant success, winning bronze medals twice. In 2004, the POISK Centre's team has achieved the 4th position among 26 teams.
POISK Centre's advice kits and presentations were very helpful in the preparation of the team that was expected to represent Russia at the 20th IYPT (2007). Their reports, published on July 10, 2007, were primarily based on the respectful help kits, solutions, research projects, tutorials and design templates, released by POISK Centre earlier.
Problem No. 14 "Earthquakes", that occurred to be among the most interesting, was earlier warmly received at the selective Vserossiysky Turnir Yunykh Fizikov in March 2007 and at the Austrian Young Physicists' Tournament in May 2007.
By 2007, the cooperation with physico-mathematical schools, initially with Akademicheskaya Gimnaziya (Saint Petersburg, Russia) allowed to establish active relations with YPT teams and organizations, such as Physical and Mathematical Lyceum 239 and Lyceum 30 (Saint Petersburg), Inta, Glazov, Stavropol, Salekhard, Novodvinsk, Kostroma, Chelyabinsk, Pushkin, Leningradskaya Oblast, Arkhangelsk, Nalchik.
As of 2007 the POISK Centre's teams included students from Arkhangelsk, Orel, Tver, Puchezh, Kazan, Saint Petersburg, while the nominated international team consisted of 4 students, from Tver, Arkhangelsk and Saint Petersburg. This team represented Russia at the 9th AYPT, making a best report and winning silver.
The activities of the Centre are focused on involving students and their advisors into as many scientific events as possible, not sticking to a unique central Tournament. They include selective and preparatory tournaments, language workshops, conferences, seminars, joint Physics Schools with local and international teams (such as the Stanisław Staszic team (Poland), gold winner at IYPTs in 2002 and 2004) and participation in open international events, including the Austrian Young Physicists' Tournament.
Origins of the Gymnasium Union's Russian Young Physicists' Tournament
By 2007, a number of reasons, including the need of involving into IYPT activities a wider community of Russian schools and ensuring the compliance of YPT organization with international principles, led to intense discussions that an open and nationwide Young Physicists' Tournament should be launched in Russia.
There were notable problems that had to be taken into account when elaborating the organization of such a Tournament:
- the distant geographical location of IYPT-enthusiastic teams would make it difficult to join the Tournament because of limited funds, or very long travel distance. All students interested in the participation, however, should have had this possibility without any restrictions, especially financial or geographical;
- there was a necessity of maintaining the Tournament as an entirely university-based and university-supervised event, despite an expectedly growing number of participating teams.
A perspective solution to these problems was found in a long-term collaborative agreements between government-backed non-profit Foundation for Education Support and Saint Petersburg State University. In late 2007, this cooperation led to nationwide unification of Russian gymnasiums, lyceums and secondary schools into an infrastructural network, called the Gymnasium Union of Russia.
Andrei Fursenko, the Russian Education Minister, introduced the Gymnasium Union of Russia on November 6, 2007, at a major conference in education held at Saint Petersburg State University. The collaborative initiatives of the Foundation and the Saint Petersburg State University are a part of the National Priority Projects and are directly supported by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and the Russian Ministry of Education.
The Russian Foundation for Education Support has stated that "the Gymnasium's Union of Russia will help to create a new high-level, widely available and mobile education system through unifying Russian Gymnasiums with a information and communication network. [...] Saint Petersburg was chosen as the harbor for the project, because of its unique scientific, educational and cultural potential. Saint Petersburg State University directly supports the scientific projects of the Foundation and helps to fill it with a new content. Saint Petersburg has written the first page in development of Gymnasiums as the educational centers of the reviving Russia".
The Gymnasium Union's Russian Young Physicists' Tournament became a major collaborative project between the Gazprom's Russian Foundation for Education Support and the community of Russian university researchers and professors, including lifelong YPT enthusiasts. The work preceding the launch of the competition began in late 2007 and became very intense after February 11, 2008, when the draft Statute of the Tournament was released for public discussion.
Statute of the GU RYPT
Some notable specifics of the proposed Statute include the following:
- It is the academic community that co-organizes the Tournament;
- The Tournament stands for the compliance of its Statute and Regulations with the respective documents of the International Young Physicists' Tournament;
- The Tournament is planned to be held in three Rounds: the Correspondence Round, the Semi-Finals and the Finals.
- A key role in initial selection of the teams, in organizing distant Physics Fights and in communication at all levels, is expected to be played by videoconferences held with the Union's infrastructure;
- The Tournament recognizes and appreciates open international YPT-related events, because they "contribute to the promotion and development of the IYPT educational system and to the expansion of international cooperation";
- The Tournament welcomes international contacts and is open to possible participation of international teams;
- Upon request, participants and teachers can always obtain consultations and evaluation from university scientists. Curators, who are responsible for providing this help, are planned to regularly communicate with teachers and students via computer networks and at videoconferences. The reasons for establishing the institution of curators were reported to be in giving equal chances for students from distant schools who "may have limited chances to contact a practicing researcher or even to find a necessary book in local library", in providing teachers and participants "with references, advice kits and other materials that do not influence the integrity and the independence of a research project, but give an impetus in preparation", in eliminating situations "when a team puts unnecessary efforts focusing on a flawed research strategy" and in maintaining the competitive spirit of participants with ongoing communication and feedback on the topics they are interested in.
- Curators administrate and support preparatory events, targeting to provide best level of preparation and being responsible for overseeing the compliance of regional efforts with the general principles outlined by the Organizing Committee;
- One of the key goals of the Tournament is in selection of unified national teams of the Gymnasium Union of Russia that are ready to participate in international competitions;
- It is the Reporter's duties to provide a research, not a survey or a compilation of known facts. The Reporter "especially emphasizes the element of novelty of the suggested research";
- The Review stage is allowed and attentively appreciated at the entire Tournament. "Reviewer does not choose the problem that the Reporter deals with, but has to make a competent evaluation of a scientific discussion in a short time, raising the level of objectivity in the evaluation of the entire Physics Fight".
- Use of English language is welcomed at the Selective Physic Fights and at the Finals. A great attention is expected to be paid to helping students improving their proficiency in "foreign languages of science".
Round Table on the GU RYPT
The GU RYPT was introduced and officially launched during a joint Round Table organized by POISK Centre and the Foundation. It was held on April 17, 2008 at the headquarters of the Foundation and included a videoconference with Russian schools on many locations.
- The primary goal of the GU RYPT is in broadening and diversification of the IYPT educational system in Russia. 10–12 teams that were typical at today’s competitions in Russia were "evidently too little".
- The 1st Gymnasium Union’s Russian Young Physicists’ Tournament, scheduled to June 24–28, 2008 is planned as a pilot project, with many innovations to be discussed and tested in practice. There are two months left for polishing details of the competition.
- The idea of holding initial Selective Fights via videoconferences, the cornerstone of the project, is extremely effective, when many schools are enthusiastic with the YPT but are not ready for long trips (because of limited funds, or distant geographical location).
- The idea of supporting every team with professional curators was positively welcomed by all schools.
1st GU RYPT
The first GU RYPT was scheduled to be held in Saint Petersburg on June 24–28, 2008, in order not to interfere with the 21st IYPT taking place on May 21–28, 2008. The proposed problems are the same as the problems at the 21st IYPT.
References and notes
- Yunosov, E. (August 1980), "Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (8): 57–58
- A.I. Slobodyanyuk, L.G. Markovich. Young Physicists’ Tournament in Belarus. 2006. (in Russian)
- "Dr. Evgeny Yunosov, the founder of YPT and IYPT, names the author of the IYPT logo and makes brief remarks on the competition." (Press release). POISK Centre. April 2008.
- "Dr. Evgeny Yunosov and many physics enthusiasts who were tightly connected to early Soviet and International YPTs but stepped away from their activities, celebrate the 30th year of YPT in Russia." (Press release). POISK Centre. March 22, 2008.
- Yunosov, E. (February 1982), "3rd Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (2): 57
- Yunosov, E. (August 1980), "Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (8): 57
- Yunosov, E. (February 1982), "3rd Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (2): 55
- Yunosov, E. (September 1982), "4th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (9): 57–60
- Yunosov, E. (February 1982), "3rd Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (2): 56
- Yunosov, E. (September 1982), "4th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (9): 60
- Yunosov, E.N.; Yaminsky, I.V. (August 1985), "7th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (8): 57
- Yunosov, E. (September 1982), "4th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (9): 57
- Yunosov, E. (September 1982), "4th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (9): 59
- Yunosov, E.N. (October 1983), "5th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (10): 59
- Yunosov, E.N. (October 1983), "5th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (10): 60
- Yunosov, E.N. (October 1983), "5th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (10): 61
- Yunosov, E.N. (September 1984), "6th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (9): 57
- Yunosov, E.N. (September 1984), "6th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (9): 59
- Yunosov, E.N.; Yaminsky, I.V. (August 1985), "8th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (8): 58
- Yunosov, E.N.; Yaminsky, I.V. (August 1985), "8th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (8): 59
- Yunosov, E.N.; Yaminsky, I.V. (August 1986), "8th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (8): 61
- Yunosov, E.N.; Yaminsky, I.V. (August 1986), "9th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (8): 62
- Yunosov, E.N.; Yaminsky, I.V. (August 1986), "9th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (8): 62–63
- Korneeva, T.P.; Yunosov, E.N.; Yaminsky, I.V. (August 1987), "10th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (8): 59
- Ilya Vekua School 42 (Tbilisi, Georgia): International Young Physicists' Tournaments. (in Georgian)
- Yunosov, E. (August 1980), "Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (8): 58
- "Yury Yufryakov, a Soviet team captain and a selected reporter at the 1st IYPT (1988), unveils the organization, schedule and results of the event." (Press release). POISK Centre. January 10, 2008.
- Proceedings of the 18th IYPT 2005 (Winterthur, Switzerland). – p. 6 (pdf)
- "A set of advices for YPT beginners published by Evgeny Yunosov, Tatyana Korneeva and Igor Yaminsky in August 1987 together with the problems for the 1st IYPT." (Press release). POISK Centre. March 31, 2008.
- Yunosov, E.N. (August 1988), "11th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (8): 62
- Andrzej Nadolny. International Young Physicists’ Tournament. – pp. 5, 6. (pdf)
- The Slovak YPT Archive (1981–1996) (in Slovak)
- Zsuzsanna Rajkovits. International Physics Competitions for Secondary School Students. (2000). – p. 6. (doc)
- The American College of Sofia (Bulgaria). History of the Tournament. (in Bulgarian)
- IYPT in Bulgaria. History of the Tournament. Bulgarian participation. (in Bulgarian)
- Trishkina, O.; Mogilewski, E.I. (May 2004), "Young Physicists' Tournament", Gazeta "Moskovsky Universitet" (18 (4079)), archived from the original on April 2, 2007 (in Russian)
- Lajos Skrapits. International Young Physicists' Tournament. Fizikai Szemle. 1992/93, 119.o. (in Hungarian)
- "Eugene Zelenko (Jaŭhen Zialonka), Belarusian participant of the selective Soviet rounds at the 2nd IYPT (1989), shares his memories, impressions and photographs of the event." (Press release). POISK Centre. November 30, 2007.
- Yunosov, E.N. (October 1989), "On the results of YPTs in 1988/1989", Kvant (in Russian) (10): 42
- Yunosov, E.N. (August 1989), "12th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (8): 76
- "Konstantin Yufryakov, a participants of the 3rd IYPT (1990) and at the selective Soviet Rounds of the 2nd IYPT (1989) shed significant light on the participation of international teams, on organization and on the results of YPT-related events in 1989—1990." (Press release). POISK Centre. March 30, 2008.
- Földes Ferenc Gimnázium. Results in 1985–2001. International Young Physicists' Tournament. (in Hungarian)
- I was a member of the team: ~~~~ (Andy Kudlicki, Andrzej(at)kudlicki.net)
- Zsuzsanna Rajkovits and Árpád Drozdy. New Types of Physics Competitions for Secondary School Students (2002). – p. 30. (pdf)
- Fryazino school takes part in IYPT. History of School 1, Fryazino (Russia) (in Russian)
- Lobyshev, V. (June 1994), "Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (6): 60
- List of National and International competitions on physics. State on September 22, 1997. Eindhoven University of Technology.
- Sergei Varlamov. A Mace: Physical Miniatures. (in Russian)
- Sergei Varlamov. A Cube in Space, Estimations of Pressure: Physical Miniatures. (in Russian)
- Official results of 13th IYPT'2000 (Budapest, Hungary)
- Inisheva, O.V. (1997/1998), "10th International Young Physicists' Tournament", MIF (in Russian) (1) Check date values in:
- Inisheva, O.V. (2002), "Young Physicists' Tournament (YPT)", Fizika-Pervoye Sentyabrya (in Russian) (40)
- Yunosov, E.N.; Yaminsky, I.V. (August 1985), "7th Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (8): 57–60
- Sasha Nemsade. Ilya Vekua School 42 (Tbilisi, Georgia) at the 16th International Young Physicists' Tournament. Page 5. (in Russian)
- Lobyshev, V.; Yunosov, E. (January 1996), "Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (1): 5, 44
- Lobyshev, V. (June 1996), "9th International Young Physicists' Tournament", Kvant (in Russian) (6): 28
- Results of the 10th IYPT'1997 (Cheb, Czech Republic) in the Slovak IYPT Archive (in Slovak)
- Official results of 11th IYPT'1998 (Germany)
- Inisheva, O.V. (1998/1999), "Young Physicists' Tournaments in 1998", MIF (in Russian) (2) Check date values in:
- Official results of 12th IYPT'1999 (Vienna, Austria)
- Registered teams at the 12th IYPT
- Inisheva, O.V. (2000) , "Young Physicists' Tournament", MIF (in Russian) (4)
- Results of the 14th IYPT'2001 (Espoo, Finland). Stanisław Staszic Lyceum (Warsaw, Poland) (in Polish)
- Olympiads and Contests. Akademicheskaya Gimnaziya (Saint Petersburg, Russia) (in Russian)
- Results of the 15th IYPT'2002 (Odessa, Ukraine). Stanisław Staszic Lyceum (Warsaw, Poland) (in Polish)
- Official results of 16th IYPT'2003 (Uppsala, Sweden)
- "The Russian team wins bronze and ties for the 4th place overall at the 17th IYPT (Brisbane, Australia)" (Press release). POISK Centre. July 1, 2004.
- Official results of 17th IYPT’2004 (Brisbane, Australia)
- "The team has successfully represented Russia and received an Honorable Mention at the 18th IYPT (Winterthur, Switzerland)" (Press release). POISK Centre. July 21, 2005.
- Total ranking of teams after Round 5 at IYPT'2005 in Winterthur, Switzerland.
- "The Russian National team wins bronze at the 19th IYPT (Bratislava, Slovakia)" (Press release). POISK Centre. July 12, 2006.
- Total ranking of teams after Round 5 at IYPT'2006 in Bratislava, Slovakia
- Robert Andrzej Zak's Curriculum Vitae. University of Basel, Switzerland.
- "Russian-Polish Physics School for secondary school students (February 13—15, 2007) in Saint Petersburg, Russia" (Press release). POISK Centre. February 15, 2007.
- POISK Centre's activities in 2004–2007
- Aleksej Ivanov, team leader of the candidate Russian team at the 20th IYPT (2007), releases their slides for the competition
- "POISK Centre's teams are among winners at the Vserossiysky Turnir Yunykh Fizikov, the selective Russian YPT held on March 19—24, 2007." (Press release). POISK Centre. March 24, 2007.
- Problem No. 14 ’Earthquake’ — slides presented in the finals of AYPT’2007 — May 5, 2007. (5 Mb)
- "The Russian team makes best report and wins silver at the 9th AYPT (May 3—5, 2007) after a year-long preparation at the POISK Centre (Russia)." (Press release). POISK Centre. May 5, 2007.
- Official results of the 9th AYPT in Leoben, Austria (2007)
- Official results of the 10th AYPT in Leoben, Austria (2008)
- "The Russian team wins silver at the 10th AYPT (April 10—12, 2008) after a year-long preparation and selection at POISK Centre (Russia)." (Press release). POISK Centre. April 12, 2008.
- Press-release of the Stanisław Staszic team (Poland) on the Russian-Polish Physics School (February 13–15, 2007) (in Polish)
- "POISK Centre and the Foundation for Education Support are pleased to release details on how the Gymnasium Union's Russian Young Physicists' Tournament was introduced and launched." (Press release). POISK Centre. May 18, 2008.
- "Gimnazium Union unifies professors" (in Russian). NTV Russia. November 6, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-13.
- "Forum of Gymnasium Union of Russia opened in Saint Petersburg" (in Russian). Rosbalt. November 6, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-13.
- Profile of the Gymnasium Union of Russia (in Russian)
- Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation between Russian Education Minister Andrei Fursenko and the Foundation President Tatyana Golubeva. February 11, 2008. (in Russian)
- "Novgorodians prepare to the Young Physicists' Tournament" (in Russian). GTRK Slavia. April 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
- Draft Statute of the Gymnasium Union’s Russian Young Physicists’ Tournament. POISK Centre.
- "A videoconference on the all-Russian Young Physicists' Tournament will take place in a Novgorod gymnasium" (in Russian). Tatar-Inform. April 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
- Information letter of the 1st Gymnasium Union's Young Physicists' Tournament. Foundation for Education Support. (in Russian)
- Problems for the 1st GU RYPT. (in Russian)
- A brief interview with Evgeny Yunosov who names the author of the international IYPT logo
- The very first article on Young Physicists' Tournament in the Kvant magazine (1980) (in Russian)
- Evgeny Yunosov's advices for YPT beginners (1987).
- Photographs of Evgeny Yunosov in 2008.
- Problems of early YPTs (1981–1996) (in Slovak)
- Andrzej Nadolny. International Young Physicists’ Tournament (pdf)
- Memories of a participant and an assumed winner of the 1st IYPT (1988)
- Memories of a participant of the selective Soviet rounds at the 2nd IYPT (1989)
- Memories of a participant of the 3rd IYPT (1990) and the selective Soviet rounds at the 2nd IYPT (1989)
- POISK Centre's activities and press-releases since 2004. Performances of the recent Russian teams at IYPT
- Proceedings of the 18th IYPT (2005) in Winterthur, Switzerland. (pdf)
- Announcement and information letter of the 1st GU RYPT. POISK Centre.
- Report and video coverage of the GU RYPT Round Table on Channel GTRK Slavia, a Novgorod local television, by Lilia Kudryashova. (April 18, 2008) (in Russian)
- Information letter of the 1st GU RYPT on the website of the Foundation for Education Support. (April 17, 2008). (in Russian)