The European Physics Olympiad (EuPhO) is a competition for high school students. In addition to the International Physics Olympiad (since 1967), there are traditionally regional competitions such as the Asian Physics Olympiad (since 2000) and the Ibero-American Physics Olympiad (since 1991). The concept of the EuPhO resembles real research situations, with short problem descriptions and plenty of room for creative solutions.
The first EuPhO was held in Tallinn, Estonia in 2017, the second in Moscow, Russia in 2018, the third in Riga, Latvia in 2019. The fourth was to have been held in Sato Mare, Romania in 2020, but was cancelled due to the global health situation and the Covid 19 crisis. Instead, the online edition of the Olympiad was organised with great success and to the delight of all 257 participants from 54 participating countries. The ongoing Covid crisis led to another edition of the online EuPhO in 2021, and the sixth EuPhO will hopefully be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from 20 to 24 May 2022, organised by the Society of Mathematicians, Physicists and Astronomers of Slovenia and hosted by the University of Ljubljana.
The competition is open to countries from Europe and beyond. Each country may send a team consisting of up to 5 students and a leader; observers and/or visitors are also welcome. The host country is entitled to send a second team.
Since the 3rd Olympiad in Riga, Latvia, we have a Statute.
The age of competitors must not exceed twenty years on 30 June of the year in which the competition is held, i.e. they must have reached their 21st birthday after that date. We consider the age in years as a rounded number by applying the floor function. In other words: If someone celebrates his/her 21st birthday on July 1, he/she is eligible.
Second, as to those who did their military service between their high school graduation and their university studies: Although the IPhO statute does not allow their participation (there should be no more than 6 months between graduation and the Olympiad), the Academic Committee has voted to drop this requirement. Please note that the requirement that the student must not have started their university studies still applies.
The education system varies from country to country, and in some cases the line between a high school and a university is unclear. Under the current definition, we consider a high school in which students have more than one-third of the lectures (on average per year) on topics in physics or mathematics to be equivalent to a university. However, if there are students on your team who come from schools that do not meet this criterion, but you feel that these students have not received university-level physics courses, please contact the head of the Academic Committee to find a fair solution.
Current guidelines for the composition of teams representing a country, subject to inclusion in the Statutes of EuPhO, to be adopted in Ljubljana: Each country may send only one team, consisting of a team leader and up to five participants; the team may also include observers. It is the responsibility of the team leader to ensure a transparent and fair country-wide selection process of participants. If there is more than one person willing to serve as team leader for a particular country, they should work together and form a single team. If they cannot agree, preference should be given to the team that has better nationwide coverage of the team selection process. The trusted person in this regard is the last EuPhO team leader of that country; if it is the first participation of the country concerned, the trusted person is the last IPhO team leader. The decision shall be communicated to all parties concerned as soon as possible. If any of them considers the decision unfair, they may appeal to the EuPhO President within one week, indicating the selection procedures of all the teams concerned.
The competition consists of two rounds: an experimental test and a theoretical test.
There is no discussion of the problem texts. It is the responsibility of the International Academic Committee of the Olympiad to ensure the quality of the problems. The Academic Committee is also responsible for grading the problems (if necessary, it may appoint additional markers ). The problem texts are short, so the leaders are expected to be able to complete the translation of both the theoretical and experimental problems within one hour.
The usual IPhO moderation of grades is replaced by an appeal: it is the students’ responsibility to appeal an unfair grade (the leaders may be present at the appeal and, if necessary, translate the communication).
In the theoretical round (5 hours), three tasks are given, one of which is very difficult, one moderately difficult and one less difficult. 10 points are awarded for the complete solution of each task, with a gradation of one point. For each idea or formula used in a complete solution, there is a portion of points. During the experimental exam (5 hours) there are one or two tasks.
The thresholds for awards are set after appellation as such smallest numbers that at least 8% of participants receive a gold medal, at least 25% – a gold or silver medal, 50% – a gold, silver or bronze medal. The results of participants from non-European countries do not affect the award thresholds, but all participants whose results are above the thresholds will receive medals.
FEES AND PRACTICAL ISSUES
The participation fee for the students and the team leader is 250 EUR per person, i.e. a total of 1500 EUR for a complete team of five students and one leader. The participation fee for each additional observer or guest is 350 EUR. By default the leaders will be accommodated in double bed rooms. For a single bed room accommodation additional 100 EUR are requested.
The 6th EuPhO will be held in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. The venues for accommodation and competition are described in other sections of this website.
If you are a team leader, you can receive the invoice and provide details about your team by (preliminary) registering for the event. If you are not yet registered as a team leader, you can express your interest in participating also by email.