Last updated: Thursday, 23 June 2022
What is IPhO?
In recognition of the growing significance of physics in all fields of science and technology as well as in general education of young people, and with the aim of enhancing the development of international contacts in the field of school education in physics, an annual physics competition is organized for high school students. The competition is called the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) and is a competition between individuals.
Short history of the Olympiad
The success of the International Mathematics Olympiads (which are organised since 1959), and the positive experience gained from its organisation, greatly stimulated physicists involved in physics education to organise Physics Olympiad. For the first time the International Physics Olympiad was held in Warsaw, Poland in 1967 with only 5 countries participating. Competition was organised by Prof. Czesław Ścisłowski. The Olympiad expanded during the years peaking 92 participating delegations during IPhO 2018 in Portugal. During these years many changes in delegation size, number of theoretical and experimental problems and their difficulty were introduced.
Who can participate in the Olympiad?
Each participating country can send a delegation, normally consisting of five students and two accompanying persons. Participating students cannot have commenced their university studies. The age of the contestants should not exceed twenty years on the 30th of June of the year of the competition.
The delegation leaders must be specialists in Physics or Physics teachers, capable of solving the problems of the competition competently. Each of them should speak English.
Note, due to the special conditions of the 2022 edition, which is taking place online, we unfortunately are unable to accept countries joining for the first time (we would e.g. need time for vetting the countries). However, we strongly encourage you to take part in the next edition in 2023, which should hopefully take place on location. In that sense, you should perhaps already contact the 2023 organizers in Japan to let them know about your interest, so that they can add you on their mailing list for future communication.
A list all countries participating in this year’s International Physics Olympiad you can find in the document “ipho_2022_participating_countries.pdf”:
What type of exams are presented?
The competition has two parts - theoretical and practical exams, each five hours long, and is scheduled with one day of rest between the examinations. Theoretical exam consists of three problems while experimental exam can consist of one or two problems from various fields of physics. Problems usually require creative thinking and the scope of knowledge specified in the Syllabus of the Olympiad. Exam problems are translated by the team leaders into the contestants` languages one day before examinations. Special for the IPhO 22 is that the experiment will be simulated on personal computers, instead of a physical experiment.
How many contestants are awarded?
1. Gold Medals should be awarded to 8% of the contestants (rounded up the nearest integer).
2. Gold or Silver Medals should be awarded to 25% of the contestants (rounded up the nearest integer).
3. Gold, Silver or Bronze Medals should be awarded to 50% of the contestants (rounded up the nearest integer).
4. An Olympic Medal or Honourable Mention should be awarded to 67% of the contestants (rounded up the nearest integer).
The international physics Olympiad is organized each year by a different country. For 2022 the competition was scheduled to be located in Belarus. In April the IB decided to cancel this event, due to various difficulties faced in the organisation of such event in Belarus. Instead, Switzerland is organizing an online competition. All delegations have the option to either solve the exam in their home country or organize an on-site event with other delegations.
Organizing such huge event in just about 2 months is a huge challenge and would not be possible without the support of various international help. We are all working with full effort in order that the students can experience also in 2022 a great event. If some processes take longer than expected, we kindly ask for your patience.
Registration is closed, in exceptional cases please contact us by email. All delegations received their login data by e-mail on the 26th of Mai. The code of conduct and photography consent (common for all) form are compulsorily required which you can find on the following link:
These files should be uploaded before the final submission. If you are unable to do so, please upload them latest until 3rd of July (or if unable to upload send them to consentIpho22@swom.chin a pdf format indicating the 3-letter country code as well as the student/observer/invigilator/leader number in the file name).
The schedule of the IPhO 22 can be found below. The exams are on Monday and Wednesday. Delegations can choose from two different time blocks. Opening and closing ceremony are both on Sunday and will be streamed online.
Thursday is a free day that can be used by the delegations to organise on site an excursion or some other student activity. On the other days we will try to provide some smaller student activities. These are however not yet defined, as priority is clearly on finalizing the exams and delegation registration.
The invoices with the registration fees are sent to the teams that have finalized the registration. You will be informed by E-mail or can check the documents on the registration webpage.
Invigilators and camera surveillance
Invigilators will have to supervise the students during the exams. Invigilators do not pay any registration fee. If multiple delegations meet in a common location, it is possible that the leaders take the role of the invigilators.
Detailed information you can find in the document “Invigilators and camera surveillance guidelines.pdf”:
Steam of the opening and closing ceremony
On Sunday, 10th of July from 11h-12h UTC+2 we will stream life the opening ceremony of the International Physics Olympiad 2022. The closing ceremony will be streamed on Sunday, 17th of July from 11h-12h30 UTC+2.
Using the link http://ipho22stream.swom.ch/ you will be automatically redirected to the online stream.
Feel free to share this link. All are welcome to join, doesn’t matter if you are a participant, leader, observer, invigilator, parent, relative, teacher, friend or just generally interested in physics.
We have received many questions of you and are trying our best to answer all of you as fast as possible. As our resources are limited, we kindly ask you to use the email addresses below for further questions. This will help us to keep your inquires well organised and decrease the time to answer you. Please always indicate the 3-letter country code in the email subject.
All teams with obvious incomplete registration data will be contacted starting on Monday 20th June by the IPhO22 organizers.
Code of Conduct and Photography consent:
Reports of misbehaviour or cheating:
All other issues:
(Emails sent to the @swom address will be forwarded automatically)
IPhO Statues and Syllabus