About IPhO

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 already existed since 1959, physicists involved in physics education were stimulated to create this event that prizes the knowledge in physics of the best students around the world.

Who is the organizer?

The participating countries have an obligation to host the IPhO in their territory. The organiser of the olympiad is typically the Ministry of Education, the local Physical Society or another appropriate institution of the country where the competition is being held. In 2018 the IPhO will take place in Lisbon. In 1993 Portugal participated in the IPhO for the first time as an observer. In the year 2000 the Portuguese delegation assigned the year 2018 to host the event. The Ministry of Education of the Portuguese Republic is responsible for the IPhO 2018 organisation. The Ministry of Education delegated the logistic and academic details of the organisation in the Portuguese Physical Society (SPF).

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 (consists 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 constituted by 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 competition year. The contestants are selected based on the national selection from each country. The delegation leaders must be physics teachers or specialists in physics, capable of solving the problems of the competition and be able to speak English.

The IPhO is a competition with the motivation of enhancing the international co-operation between the participating countries in the physics education field. 

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