The International Young Physicists’ Tournament (IYPT) is an international competition held for high school students across the world who are interested in physics. The Physics World Cup, as it is also known, has been held for almost three decades now, with more than 30 participating countries. Canada began participating in the IYPT since 2016, which was an exceptional case where the IYPT allowed a country to send a full student team in its first year of membership (normally countries would send an observer for the first year to get acquainted with the competition). After an application process that was finalized in July 2016 taking place in Russia, STEM Fellowship was established as the IYPT Member Organization (IMO) for Canada.
The IYPT has a somewhat complex structure that requires one to actually see the competition in order to fully understand how it actually works. We highly recommend participants to search for past IYPT videos in order to watch them and familiarize on how the competition works. Each year, immediately after the IYPT competition in July, the IYPT executive committee releases 17 questions for the competition that will be held the following summer. The questions are chosen from nominations made by all participating countries that are confirmed by the International Organizing Committee of the IYPT. The questions each have an experimental component, and are each similar to an independent research project that requires background research and precise experimentation and analysis of variables.
STEM Fellowship organizes the national competition, the Canada Young Physicist’s Tournament (CaYPT), in order to determine Canada’s representative team for the annual IYPT. This year will mark the second annual CaYPT. CaYPT strives to provide all interested Canadian students with an opportunity of being part of the Canadian National Team. Thus, regional competitions will be held in order to provide a chance for students from all across Canada to participate. The Ontario Regional Tournament will be held in early February at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, while the National Tournament will take place in April. Each regional competition will have the same rules as the actual IYPT with a few minor adjustments. The problems are selected from five out of the seventeen IYPT 2018 problems which were released in July 2017.
How the Competition Works
Teams consist of three to five students, including one Team Captain and one Team Leader (an adult mentor with adequate physics knowledge – usually a science educator who can provide guidance to the team). Each team will need to come up with a theoretical model, research, and experiment all of these problems before the competition, as the competition itself is of presenting these solutions to other teams and the jurors.
Each team represents their respective country and participates in a league structure of “Physics Fights.” Each Physics Fight includes three to four teams in a room, where they compete according to the IYPT structure. There are three roles that each team will have a turn at: Reporter, Opponent, and Reviewer (there is also a forth role: Observer, for occasions where four teams are present due to the nature of the league structure). There is a score multiplier of 3× for the reporting team, 2× for the opponents, and 1× for the reviewing team, each reflecting the importance of their respective role in the Physics Fight. In each Physics Fight, teams will have a shot at all three (or four) positions.
The presenting team will be challenged to present one of the questions within a limited time frame. The opponent then draws the attention of the jury to what they see as flaws in the presentation. At any point in time, there there can be at most one person from each team on the podium. Both sides are also given time to debate against each other on their findings, or pass on notes to their representative. The reviewing team may provide their view on both presentations and weigh-in on the debate as well.
Presenting teams are given the option to reject problems in a Physics Fight. The first rejection comes without penalty; however, every subsequent rejection after that is at the expense of -0.8× on their score multiplier. Penalties carry throughout the entire competition and do not renew every round. Thus, it is highly recommended that your team researches the solutions to at least four out of the five problems. Note that this applies to just both the regional and national competitions; the IYPT requires the completion of all 17 problems. The selection of the Canadian National Team for the IYPT is based on the overall highest-scoring team from both the regional and national competitions.
Finally, the jury gives scores out of ten to each of the teams. The teams then rotate so that by the end of the Physics Fight, each team has received scores for all three roles. The scores are ultimately used to determine the winners. If the winning national team has less than 5 students, an arrangement must be made for the number of students in that team in order to reach five, perhaps through selecting the best performing students from the second team. This team will then be given the opportunity to proceed to the international competition, the IYPT, in July.
For more details regarding how the competition works such as rules and regulations, how to prepare, and how the competition is scored, please refer to the Rules and Regulations. Additionally, IYPT has released a IYPT_2018_reference kit to guide students along on their research.
Please register at the CaYPT 2018 page. There, you will need to enter details for all of your team members. There is a registration fee of $125 per team. We will have to verify that the registration fee has been paid within 48 hours after your form submission, or the cheque be postmarked for your registration to be complete. Failure to complete any of the required sections or illegible entries will cause delays in the registration process. Please note that the registration fee cheque must be mailed to STEM Fellowship, 24 Weatherstone Cr. Toronto, ON, M2H 1C2.
Additionally, we require the name and contact details of a supporting adult who will accompany you on the day of the competition and will verify the information in the registration. This person must be the Team Leader, and must be an adult with adequate physics knowledge (usually a physics teacher) who will be able to coach the team. We suggest that the Team Leader fills in the form and makes the payments through the PayPal system, or mails the cheque to the STEM Fellowship mailing address on behalf of the student team. Meanwhile, the Team Captain will be the main contact for the team. While it is recommended, it is not required for all team members to be from the same school.
The registration deadline is January 8th, 2018.
The judges of the competitions will be faculty members from various fields of physics who can volunteer their time. Judges are preferable faculty members or post doctorate associates. We are hoping that our academic partners can support us in inviting more judges to the regional and national event. Graduate students and educators with a degree in physics are also encouraged to reach out to us!
For each Physics Fight, five jurors are required, meaning that there would be at least ten to fifteen jurors required for each regional competition (based on the number of simultaneous physics fights going on), for each regional competition. The priority would be to get faculty members from each host university, but as that may not be possible for some places, graduate students in fields of physics may also be allowed to participate as jurors. Jurors would have to go through an orientation about the structure of IYPT Physics Fights and the scoring criteria, with support from previous IYPT team leaders and observers who have attended past competitions. Jurors would have to declare any conflict of interest with participating teams.
CaYPT National Camp
After the selection of a team of five members to be sent to the IYPT, a camp will be held for a week or two, with the partnership of a university that can provide housing and lab facilities for the team for that period. The university will be recognized as a major partner for the competition and will also give weight to the national team.
The placements are determined by the accumulation of points system. The team with the highest total sum of points will receive the gold medal award, the runner-up will receive the silver medal award, and the third-placing team will receive the bronze medal award. In case of ties, the number of fights won as well as the juror’s decisions will be considered.
At the Regionals competition, first place will receive a prize of $200, second place $100, and third place $50.
At the Nationals competition, first place will receive a prize of $300, second place $200, and third place $100.
Sending the Team
The winning team of the national CaYPT will be given the opportunity to proceed to the 31st IYPT hosted byThe High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China (RDFZ) in Beijing, China from July 19th to 26th, 2018.
The Canadian team will be sent to the IYPT alongside two team leaders and possible observers on behalf of STEM Fellowship (as the IYPT Member Organization).
STEM Fellowship is currently in discussion with numerous academic sponsors across Canada in order to facilitate various aspects of the CaYPT. The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and Partners in Research are currently facilitating the competition.
As a side point to the main event, STEM Fellowship will keep the door open for potential publication of the work conducted by participated teams who develop their presentations into a manuscript. There is a possibility that some of these papers could be published in the STEM Fellowship Journal (SFJ). All of the projects will be eligible for submission to the STEM Fellowship Scholarly Writing Challenge (SWC).