The New Zealand Young Physicists’ Tournament offers the challenge and intrigue that can motivate students to reach for their full potential and find out just what they are capable of. New Zealand has a strong reputation at the international level, making the International Young Physicists’ Tournament (IYPT) final (the top 3 countries in the world) in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
If you have not participated in this competition before, the best way to get an idea of what it’s all about is to go along to one of the regional tournaments, usually held early in March (or the national final if it is in your region) and have a look for yourself. It can be difficult to explain, it doesn’t make total sense until you see it in action for yourself. You could talk to teachers or students who have participated before. Of course you could always just jump in and have a go! Whatever happens you and your team are guaranteed to have a lot of fun and learn a LOT!
An information dvd including parts of the international final from Korea in 2007 is available from Gavin Jennings. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Regional Competition – A Brief Outline
NZYPT is a tournament for teams of 3 secondary school students. The teams each have to come up with solutions to 7 complex physical problems which are available to the teams for about 8 months before the regional tournament.
The tournament itself takes the form of a series of ‘Physics Fights’. During a Physics Fight at the regional tournament one team (the reporting team) is challenged to present their pre-prepared solution to one of the problems by another team (the opposing team). One member of the reporting team will give a 12 minute presentation of their solution. One member of the opposing team will then discuss the report with the reporter for up to 15 minutes, trying to point out flaws in the report while the reporter defends their work. Issues discussed could be to do with physical understanding, experimental techniques, unexplained trends in the data, unexplored parameters, etc. A jury panel then has the opportunity to question both the reporter and opponent before individually grading the performance of the reporter and opponent. (Note: At the national and international tournaments a third stage, the review, is included.)
NZYPT is the selection event for the New Zealand team that may compete in the international tournament in Iran in July. The three members of the team that wins the NZYPT and the best five students from other teams will form the New Zealand squad from which the 5 person New Zealand team will be selected.
Rules governing the conduct of the Regional Tournaments, the National Final and the selection the New Zealand team are detailed in the IYPT New Zealand Regulations.