What is IPhO?
In recognition of the growing significance of physics in all fields of science and technology as well as in general education of young people, and with the aim of enhancing the development of international contacts in the field of school education in physics, an annual physics competition is organized for secondary school students. The competition is called the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) and is a competition between individuals.
Short history of the Olympiad
The success of the International Mathematics Olympiads (which are organised since 1959), and the positive experience gained from its organisation, greatly stimulated physicists involved in physics education to organise Physics Olympiad. For the first time the International Physics Olympiad was held in Warsaw, Poland in 1967 with only 5 countries participating. Competition was organised by Prof. Czesław Ścisłowski. The Olympiad expanded during the years peaking 92 participating delegations during IPhO 2018 in Portugal. During these years many changes in delegation size, number of theoretical and experimental problems and their difficulty were introduced. Organisational and academical aspects of the Olympiad are now represented in the Olympiad’s statutes and syllabus which can be changed only during International Board meetings. Switzerland had the honour of hosting the International Physics Olympiad in 2016, in Zurich. This year too, under exceptional circumstances, Switzerland will be hosting IPhO 2022.
Who can participate in the Olympiad?
Each participating country can send a delegation, normally consisting of five students and two accompanying persons. Participating students cannot have commenced their university studies. The age of the contestants should not exceed twenty years on the 30th of June of the year of the competition.
The delegation leaders must be specialists in Physics or Physics teachers, capable of solving the problems of the competition competently. Each of them should speak English.
Note, due to the special conditions of the 2022 edition, which is taking place online, we unfortunately are unable to accept countries joining for the first time (we would e.g. need time for vetting the countries). However, we strongly encourage you to take part in the next edition in 2023, which should hopefully take place on location. In that sense, you should perhaps already contact the 2023 organizers in Japan to let them know about your interest, so that they can add you on their mailing list for future communication.
What type of exams are presented?
The competition has two parts – theoretical and practical exams, each five hours long, and is scheduled with one day of rest between the examinations. Theoretical exam consists of three problems while experimental exam can consist of one or two problems from various fields of physics. Problems usually require creative thinking and the scope of knowledge specified in the Syllabus of the Olympiad. Exam problems are translated by the team leaders into the contestants` languages one day before examinations. Special for the IPhO 22 is that the experiment will be simulated on personal computers, instead of a physical experiment.
How many contestants are awarded?
1. Gold Medals should be awarded to 8% of the contestants (rounded up the nearest integer).
2. Gold or Silver Medals should be awarded to 25% of the contestants (rounded up the nearest integer).
3. Gold, Silver or Bronze Medals should be awarded to 50% of the contestants (rounded up the nearest integer).
4. An Olympic Medal or Honorable Mention should be awarded to 67% of the contestants (rounded up the nearest integer).
IPhO 2022 in Switzerland
The International Physics Olympiad is organized each year by a different country. For 2022, the competition was scheduled to be located in Belarus. In April, the IB decided to cancel this event, due to various difficulties faced in the organisation of such an event in Belarus. Instead, Switzerland is organizing an online competition. All delegations have the option to either solve the exam in their home country or organize an on-site event with other delegations. We welcome all 400 participants and their leaders to IPhO 2022.
Organizing such huge event in just about 2 months is a huge challenge and would not be possible without the support of various international help. We worked with full effort so that the students could experience a great event. If some processes took longer than expected, we kindly ask for your patience.
The code of conduct and photography consent (common for all) form are compulsorily required.
These files should be uploaded before the final submission. If you are unable to do so, please upload them latest until 3rd of July (or if unable to upload send them to consentIpho22@swom.ch in a pdf format indicating the 3-letter country code as well as the student/observer/invigilator/leader number in the file name).
What is IPhO?