International Science Olympiads

The International Physics Olympiad


About the IPho
The International Physics Olympiad (IPho) is an annual academic competition for high school students. It is one of the International Science Olympiads.
Mandate of our Organisation
For the International Physics Olympiads, The Science Olympiad Foundation serves the sole purpose of preparing and sending teams to represent the country at the ICho.
Format of the Examinations
The competition consists of two examinations, a theoretical examination and a practical examination. Both have durations of up to 5 hours (at the international olympiads), and are held on separate days with the practical examination usually being before the theoretical examination. The theoretical examination has a value of 60 points and the practical examination has a value of 40 points. Each examination is evaluated independently from the other and the sum of the results of the examinations determines a participant's overall result. A scientific jury, which is installed by the host country, suggests the tasks.
History of the IPhO
In 1978 and 1980, the IPhO was not organized. This was due to the accession of the Western countries. The first western country to participate was France. At first, the few Western countries participating declined to accept the principle that the IPhO be organized every second year in a Western and Eastern bloc country. Thus the Eastern block countries declined from organising the 1978 and 1980 olympiads. From 1982 onwards, the yearly competition was resumed as there were enough participating Western countries to share the load. At present, the venue of the Olympiad is decided for years ahead. After accession into IPhO, every country must notify the others within three years about its willingness to host the IPhO. After this, the country is placed on a waiting list which as of 2006 stretches well into the 2050s. The failure to organize the IPhO on turn will lead to temporary expulsion from the IPhO. This happened to France in 1986.
Structure
Each delegation consists of up to five students and two mentors/teachers (one of them is designated as the head of the delegation or "head mentor"). A delegation may also include a handful of guests and scientific observers. Students must be under the age of 20 and must not be enrolled as regular students in any post-secondary education institution. The National Olympiad series are conducted in two stages; the Regional Series and the National Series (Check links below for details about each serie.)
The Syllabus
The syllabus of the competition contains subjects from several areas of Physics, including mechanics, electromagnetic fields, waves and oscillations, relativity, quantum physics, thermodynamics and statistical physics, experimental skills and mathematics. Though some of these subjects are included in most secondary school biology programs, for the most part, they are evaluated at a much deeper level and many may require a level of knowledge and understanding comparable to that of post-secondary education. In addition, the host country of each IPhO issues a set of preparatory problems well in advance of the competition every year. These preparatory problems cover specific topics in considerable more depth than typical post-secondary education. See the link "SYLLABUS" below to download detailed ICho Syllabus
Preparation Resources
Please visit our resources page to find material you can use to prepare for the International Physics Science Olympiad