European Physics Olympiad (EuPhO) is a contest for high school students. 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). The concept of EuPhO is similar to real research situations, with short problems description and plenty of space for creative solutions.
The first EuPhO was held in Tallinn, Estonia in 2017, the second in Moscow, Russia in 2018. The third EuPhO will be held in Riga, Latvia from May 31 to June 4, 2019 and hosted by the University of Latvia.
The competition is open for countries from Europe and beyond. Each country is eligible to send one team consisting of up to 5 students and one leader; observers and/or visitors are also welcome. The host country is eligible to send a second team.
Since we do not have yet our own Statutes, we have been using the IPhO Statutes temporarily: The age of the contestants should not exceed twenty years on June 30th of the year of the competition, i.e. their 21st birthday should be after that date. We shall consider the age in years as a rounded digit with the floor function having been applied. In other words, if someone’s 21st birthday is 1st July, he/she is eligible.
Second, regarding those who have been undergoing a military service between graduation and university studies: while IPhO statutes does not permit their participation (there should be no more than 6 months between graduation and Olympiad), the Academic Committee voted for dropping this requirement. Please note that there is still the requirement that the student should not have commenced his/her university studies.
Educational system varies from country to country, and in some cases the boundary between a high school and a university becomes vague. Per current definition, 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, 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, please contact the Head of the Academic Committee to find a fair solution.
Current policy for composition of teams representing a country, subject to inclusion into the statues of EuPhO to be adopted in Riga: Each country can send only one team consisting of one team leader and up to five contestants; team can also include observers. It is the responsibility of the team leader to make sure that there is a transparent and fair nation-wide selection procedure of the contestants. If there is more than one person willing to act as a team leader of a certain country, they are advised to collaborate and make a single team. If they cannot reach such agreement, preference should be given to the team which has better nation-wide coverage of the team selection procedure. The trusted person in this regard is the most recent EuPhO team leader of that country; if it is the first participation of the given country, the trusted person is the most recent IPhO team leader. The decision is made known to all the concerned parties as soon as possible; if anyone of them feels the decision to be unjust, they can appeal to the EuPhO president within one week providing details of the selection procedures of all the concerned teams.
The competition consists of two rounds: an experimental exam and a theoretical exam.
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 are 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 is the responsibility of students to appeal any unjust grading (leaders can be present during the appellation and, if needed, translate the communication).
During the theoretical round (5 hours), there are three problems, one of which is very difficult, one is moderately difficult, and one is 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 is 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. The results of participants from non-European countries do not affect the award thresholds, but all the contestants with marks above the thresholds are awarded with medals.
Fees and Practical Issues
The participation fee for the students and the team leader is 250 EUR per person giving the total of 1500 EUR for a full team of five students and one leader. The participation fee per every additional observer or guest is 350 EUR. The 3rd EuPhO will be held in Riga, the capital of Latvia. The venues for accommodation and competition are described in other sections of this webpage.
If you are a team leader, you can obtain the invoice and specify the details about your team by registering to the event. If you are not a pre-registered team leader, please express your interest to participate by contacting us via e-mail.