Is there a need for another contest? We think, yes, for two main reasons: firstly, there is a need for contests promoting creative thinking in problem solving, and, secondly, there is no tradition of European Physics Olympiads yet.

Due to increasingly large number of participants, the format of big physics contests such as IPhO is becoming more and more similar to the university exams where the thinking of students and the path of solution is guided by numerous subquestions testing merely the knowledge of students. By contrast, we propose a format with short problem descriptions, leaving all the creative decisions on choosing right solution paths to the students. This is more similar to actual research situations.

In addition to the International Physics Olympiad (started in 1967) there exist traditions of regional competitions such as Asian Physics Olympiad (since 2000) and Ibero-American Physics Olympiad (since 1991). However, there is no European competition yet. We aim to establish the tradition of European Physics Olympiads by hosting the first event.

Academic Committee

The Academic Committee consists of 7 to 9 permanent members. The organizing country can nominate an additional member. The founding members of the Academic Committee are listed below. The detailed rules regarding nomination and election of the members of the Academic Committee will be discussed with the team leaders during the Olympiad.

Participation rules and fees

Each country can send up to 5 students and one leader; observers and/or visitors are also welcome. The participation fee for the students and the team leader is 250 EUR per person. The participation fee per additional observer is 350 EUR.

There is no discussion of the problem texts, it is the responsibility of the international academic committee of the Olympiad to guarantee the quality of the problems. Academic committee is also responsible for the grading of the problems (if necessary, they can appoint additional markers). The problem texts will be short, so the leaders are expected to be able to complete the translation of both theoretical and experimental problems within an hour. IPhO-style moderation of the marks is substituted by appellation: it will be the responsibility of students to appeal any unjust grading (leaders can be present during the appellation and if needed, translate the communication).

During theoretical round (5 hours), there will be three problems, one of which will be very difficult, one moderately difficult, and one relatively less demanding. Full solution of each problem gives 10 points, grading granularity is one point. Partial credit is given for each idea or formula which is used in a full solution. During experimental examination (5 hours), there will be one or two tasks; the total number of points for the experimental examination is 20 points, granularity is also 1 point. The award thresholds in points will be determined after appellation as such smallest numbers that at least 8% of participants will receive a gold medal, at least 25% - a gold or silver medal, 50% - a gold, silver or bronze medal.

Update: Who can participate? Similarly to IPhO, the competition is designed for high school students. IPhO is also open to "Students who have finished their school examinations in the year of the competition /.../ as long as they have not commenced their university studies. The age of the contestants should not exceed twenty years on June 30th of the year of the competition." Educational system varies from country to country, and in some cases the boundary between a high school and a university becomes vague. Therefore we would like to specify that we consider a school where students have more than one third of lectures (in average per year) on topics related either to physics or mathematics to be equivalent to a university. However, we do not want this regulation to become a reason why one or another team would not be able to attend the competition. Therefore, please contact us if there are students in your team who come from schools which do not satisfy this criterion but you feel that those students have not been taught University-level physics courses (we may revise the criterion or find a different solution).

Sample problems for preparation

To get a feeling of the style and type of theoretical problems to be expected at the Olympiad, students are encouraged to look at the archive of Physics Cup 2012 and problems in the recently published book 200 More Puzzling Physics Problems (note that the free preview includes all the problem texts).

EuPhO problems will be put on the topics of IPhO Syllabus.

Event schedule

The Olympiad takes place from 20 May to 24 May 2017 in Tartu and Tallinn, Estonia.

May 20MorningArrivals to Tallinn airport & Transport to Tartu
EveningOpening ceremony
May 21MorningTranslation of the experimental tasks
AfternoonExperimental examinationFree time
May 22MorningTranslation of the theoretical tasks
AfternoonTheoretical examinationFree time
EveningEnd-of-examination party
May 23MorningTransport to Tallinn
AfternoonExcursions in Tallinn Old Town
May 24MorningClosing ceremony

Flight info: When booking your flights to Estonia, please travel to Tallinn airport (we'll provide transport to Tartu and back). The final days of the Olympiad take place in Tallinn, thus it is easier for you to leave from Tallinn airport. In order to arrive on time for the opening ceremony on 20th May, we advise you to reach Tallinn airport by 14:00 or earlier. If your flight arrival is between 14:00 and 16:30, you might still be able to reach the venue before the ending of the opening ceremony. The closing ceremony on 24th May will end around 12:00.

Contact and registration

We have asked for a preliminary intent of participation in December 2016 and have received a positive response from 20 countries (thus, we expect to welcome roughly 100 participants at the first EuPhO). Country coordinaators are kindly asked to fill in the registration form by 31 March. For further information, please contact as by email eupho@ut.ee.

Sponsors and partners

Event Location

Icons made by Madebyoliver and Gregor Cresnar from www.flaticon.com are licensed by CC 3.0 BY.