The International Young Physicists’ Tournament (IYPT) is a scientific competition between teams of secondary school students. It mimics, as closely as possible, real-world scientific research and the process of presenting and defending the results obtained.
Participants work on 17 open-ended problems for nearly a year before the competition. A large portion of the problems involve unexpected phenomena that are easy to reproduce but challenging to explain.
The aim of the solutions is not to calculate or reach “the correct answer,” as there is no such notion here. The Tournament is instead focused on participants designing and performing experiments, and then drawing conclusions based on the outcomes.
The competition itself is not a pen-and-paper competition but an enactment of a scientific discussion (or a defence of a thesis) where participants take on the roles of reporter, opponent and reviewer and are evaluated by an international jury.
The beauty of the Tournament is that teams can take quite different routes to tackle the same problem. As long as they stay within the broadly defined statement of the problem, all paths are legitimate and teams are judged according to the comprehensiveness of their investigations.
The competition is unique in that it is not only about physics, as the IYPT is an extremely exciting team competition where competitors fight fierce battles in English. In addition to a deep physical understanding of these problems, students must think on their feet, argue persuasively and display team spirit to prevail. Participants universally praise the tournament as exciting and the experience of a lifetime.
In 2013, IYPT was awarded the medal of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) in recognition of its inspiring and wide-ranging contribution to physics education that has touched many lives and countries, over the past 25 years.
The Hungarian team has been participating in the competition since 1989, and is extremely lucky to host the competition this year. We are looking forward to meeting you in the summer of 2024 in Budapest, Hungary!
For more details about IYPT itself and the tournament guidelines, please visit the official IYPT website.