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What is IPhO?

The International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) is an annual international physics competition for secondary school students. The aim of this competition is to enhance the development of international contacts in the field of school education in physics.

How it first began?

The first IPhO was held in Warsaw (Poland) in 1967, and it was organised by Prof. Czeslaw Scilowski. Inspired by the success and the positive experience gained from the organisation of the International Mathematics Olympiads that was already existed since 1959, physicists were stimulated to involve in physics education and interested in comparison of knowledge of the best students around the world.

Who is the organizer?

The participating countries have an obligation to host the IPhO in their teritory. The organiser of the olympiad is the Ministry of Education, the Physical Society or another appropiate institution of one of the participating countries where the competition being held. For Indonesia, the organiser is the Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) of the Repubic of Indonesia. It is the second time, in 2017, for Indonesia to host the event. And the venue will be the Special Region of Yogyakarta. The first one was held in 2002, and the island of Bali was chosen to be the venue of the olympiad.

The Olympiad System

IPhO is a competition between individuals. Each participant has to solve both theoretical and experimental problems. The competition lasts for two days. One day is devoted to theoretical problems (three problems of five hour duration involving at least four areas of physics taught in secondary schools, the total number of the marks is 30). The other day is devoted to experimental problems ( consist of one or two problems of five hour duration, the total number of the marks is 20). These two days are separated by at least one full day of rest. The problems are prepared and chosen by the host country, and they have to be accepted by the International Board which consists of the delegation leaders from each participating country.

Who is eligible?

Normally, each participating country shall send a delegation that consists of five students and two delegation leaders at most.  The contestants shall be students of general or technical secondary school. Students who have finished the final school examination may participate on the competition as long as they have not started to study in universities. The age of the students should not exceed twenty years on June 30th of the year of the competition. The contestants are selected based on national selection from each country. The delegation leaders must be physics teachers or specialists in physics, capable to solve the problems of the competition and be able to speak in English.

Although IPhO is a competition, but the motivation is to enhance the international co-operation between each participating country in physics education field. In some countries, the results are or were treated as a kind of great national achivement. But such an approach is not typical. Most of participating countries treat the results as a kind of measuring instrument that measures the state of their physics education, so that they can arrange some improvements on it.

If you want to read more about the IPhO, you can visit http://ipho.org/

If you want to download past IPhO problems and solutions, you can visit here too.


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