International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics
- "IOAA is designed to be a truly international organization on Astronomy and Astrophysics competitions. The organization is run by an international committee, whose members are elected from international members of the organization."
The first IOAA was held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in November/December 2007. The subsequent annual meetings were held during August/September or October in Indonesia (2008), Iran (2009), China (2010), Poland (2011), Brazil (2012), Greece (2013), Romania (2014), Indonesia (2015), and in India (2016).
The first IOAA was held in the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand, from November 30 to December 9 of 2007, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the 84th anniversary of the Princess Galyani Vadhana. The countries that attended to the first edition were: Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, South Korea, Laos, Lithuania, Myanmar, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Ukraine. The International Board, composed by the leaders of every attending country, became the solely decision body of the olympiad. At that time, there was already at work, for a five-year term, a President (Dr. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum, Thailand) and a General Secretary (Dr. Chatief Kunjaya, Indonesia).
The third IOAA was held in 2009, October 17 to 27, in the capital Tehran, Iran. The observational exam was held in the desert, in the Caravanserai of Deh Namak. 20 countries participated –- the first time for Kazakhstan and Serbia.
The fourth IOAA was held in 2010, September 12 to 21, in the capital Beijing, China. One-hundred fourteen competitors attended, coming from 23 countries –- the first time for Czech Republic, Philippines and Russia.
The fifth IOAA was held in 2011, August 25 to September 4, around the cities of Katowice, Chorzów and Kraków, Poland. This was the first IOAA to be held in Europe. The participants came from 26 countries, including the first time coming Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Hungary and Portugal. In Poland, the International Board elected, from 2012 on, a new President (Dr. Chatief Kunjaya, Indonesia) and a General Secretary (Dr. Greg Stachowski, Poland). They also indicated two Regional Coordinators (Dr. Thaís Mothé Diniz, Brazil, for Americas and Dr. Aniket Sule, India, for Asia and Pacific).
The seventh IOAA was held from 27 July to 4 August 2013 in Volos, Greece. Total 39 teams from 35 countries participated in the event. These included first time teams from United States, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia, Armenia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Cyprus.
The eighth IOAA was held from 1 to 11 August 2014 in Suceava and Gura Humorului, Romania. Total 42 teams from 37 countries participated in the event. These included first time teams from Mexico, Pakistan, Nepal, Moldova and Montenegro.
|Number||Year||Host country||Host city||Absolute winner||Countries Represented|
|1||2007||Thailand||Chiang Mai||THA Suwun Suwunnarat||21|
|2||2008||Indonesia||Bandung||IND Nitin Jain||22|
|3||2009||Iran||Tehran||IND Nitin Jain||20|
|4||2010||China||Beijing||POL Przemysław Mróz||23|
|5||2011||Poland||Chorzów / Katowice / Krakow||CZE Stanislav Fort||26|
|6||2012||Brazil||Rio de Janeiro / Vassouras||LTU Motiejus Valiūnas||28|
|7||2013||Greece||Volos||ROM Denis Turcu||35|
|8||2014||Romania||Suceava / Gura Humorului||ROM Denis Turcu||42|
|9||2015||Indonesia||Magelang / Semarang||INA Joandy Leonata Pratama||41|
|10||2016||India||Bhubaneswar||IND Ameya Patwardhan||42|
Note: Hosts from 2015 onwards were decided on tentative basis (subject to availability of funding) during the seventh IOAA.
The IOAA is organized annually in a different host country, which shall cover all costs with every team during the event (including lodging, food, excursions, awards, etc.). Having no registration fee, the participating countries shall only cover the expenses for its own team to arrive at the host place.
Each participating country sends one regular team with up to five (5) high school students (or students who finished their high school within the year of the competition), accompanied by two team leaders, normally scientists or teachers. In addition, the host country has the right to send one additional guest team.
One differential in astronomy tests is the great importance of knowing the skies and of carrying systematic observations, something as important as the formulation of hypotheses and theories. Therefore, an astronomy competitor should be tested both in his theoretical and practical skills. Furthermore, it is also very important to know how to work collaborativelly, in a team.
Typically then, an IOAA participant faces four exams:
- Theoretical Exam: consisting of 15 short questions and 2 or 3 long questions, with 5 hours to solve. It counts as 50% of the mark.
- Data Analysis Exam: a paper- or computer-based task for analysing actual data obtained from professional astronomers, with usually 4 hours to solve. It counts as 25% of the mark.
- Observational Exam: questions concerning direct observation of the sky (in the real sky or in a planetarium), recognizing stars, constellations, nebulae, great circles, etc. It counts as 25% of the mark.
- Team Competition: A separated competition, in which national teams are set to do a huge task, involving both individual and group efforts, with theoretical and /or practical reasoning.
Although the official working language of IOAA is English, each exam is translated beforehand, by the team leaders of each country, for the students' native languages.
The host country should have an academical jury which should prepare, apply and give marks to the exams. But the team leaders have an important role on it, in the following steps:
- The jury presents its version of each exam and the leaders discuss the adequacy of each question, propose changes and, in some cases, replace questions;
- Then the leaders translate the exams into their national language, so that each student can read the exams in its own language;
- The leaders receive copies of their students' tests and the marking made by the jury. If a leader disagrees with some marking, he /she can complain in the moderation session.
The criteria for prize nominations at IOAA is as follows: the average of the three biggest marks makes 100%.
- gold medals are between 100 and 90%
- silver medals are between 90 and 78%
- bronze medals are between 78 and 65%
- honor mentions are between 65 and 50%
In addition to that, the first mark overall receives a special prize as absolute winner. The best marks in each of the exams (theoretical, data analysis and observational) also receive special prizes. Furthermore, each host country can offer other special prizes as well (in 2009, Iran offered the prizes of most creative solution, most concise answer, most organized answer, most skillful observer and most calm observer).
The following table lists multiple (triple and more) gold medal winners of IOAA with their ranks and corresponding years.
|Stanislav Fort||Czech Republic||2010 (8th)||2011 (1st)||2012 (2nd)|
|Peter Kosec||Slovakia||2010 (5th)||2011 (4th)||2012 (5th)|
Note: Several countries (e.g. India, Indonesia, Iran) do not allow their students to contest in IOAA more than two times, even if they are eligible. Thus, statistics from those countries is not included in the table above.
- International Astronomy Olympiad
- International Science Olympiad
- National Astronomical Olympiads: