Jun 17, 2021

The International Young Physicists’ Tournament (IYPT)

  • Crimson Education
  • Location changes each year


The International Young Physicists’ Tournament (IYPT), sometimes referred to as the “Physics World Cup”, is a scientific competition between teams of secondary school students. It mimics, as close as possible, the real-world scientific research and the process of presenting and defending the results obtained.

Participants have almost a year to work on 17 open-ended inquiry problems. A good part of the problems involves easy-to-reproduce phenomena presenting unexpected behaviour.

The aim of the solutions is not to calculate or reach “the correct answer” as there is no such notion here. The Tournament is rather conclusions-oriented as participants have to design and perform experiments, and to draw conclusions argued from the experiments’ outcome.

The competition itself is not a pen-and-paper competition but an enactment of a scientific discussion (or a defence of a thesis) where participants take the roles of Reporter, Opponent and Reviewer and are evaluated by an international Jury.

The beauty of the Tournament is that teams can take quite different routes to tackle the same problem. As long as they stay within the broadly defined statement of the problem, all routes are legitimate and teams will be judged according to the depths reached by their investigations.

In 2013, IYPT was awarded the medal of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) in recognition of its inspiring and wide-ranging contribution to physics education that has touched many lives and countries, over the past 25 years.


Type of Opportunity

Extracurricular Activity

Application Deadline

May 2022

Age Range

Grade 9-12, Secondary School

Application Process Includes

If you are a student or a teacher in one of the countries listed here, you are lucky:there is someone in your country who organizes a local competition that selects a national team. Join, do well and become part of the national team for the IYPT!

If your country is not on that list, that means that the IYPT has no active member organization in your country. Some countries have participated in the past but later withdrew, and some countries have never participated in the IYPT.

To participate with a team from such a country, you will need to fulfill several important conditions:

  • organize a team of 5 students;
  • find someone experienced with the IYPT who will come together with your team to the IYPT as an “endorser” and act as a team leader.
  • Set up or find an organization that will apply to become the IYPT Member Organization (IMO), responsible for the selection of the countries national team.

Our rule says that a new team is brought by someone who has already been at the IYPT (as a juror, team leader, team member or observer). This endorser will be coaching the team together with a second team leader, and must guarantee to us that the team is reasonably well prepared. We expect that the endorser organizes a fair national selection and applies to become the IYPT Member Organization (IMO) as early as possible. The endorser should contact the IYPT organizers no later than in December prior to the IYPT, check the conditions and deadlines for pre-registration, and then pre-register the team before a deadline. Note that the deadline is many months prior to the competition, and more likely than not will be in January.

Usually, a country first sends an observer for an IYPT event and only the next year the observer comes with a team and introduces the IYPT in their country. The other option is to cooperate with someone experienced with IYPT from a different country (e.g. a former participant or leader who now studies or works abroad).

Our regulations state that “All members of the team must either be citizens of the country they represent, or be enrolled as students in a school of the country they represent”. Therefore if a student is enrolled in a school in country A and a citizen of country B, he or she has the option to participate as a member of either nation. There is no limit for citizenship or enrollment of team leaders.

Please understand that assembling a team, finding an endorser, preparing for the IYPT and solving the problems, and then securing the travel budget will be many months of hard work. We will be happy to provide advice in this respect and will be happy to see a new team. If you would like to have assistance or advice in your plan to form a new IYPT team, please contact us.

IMO Application Form

Please use the following form in order to file an Application for Recognition as an IYPT Member Organization (IMO) in accordance with Article 7, Section 1 of the Statutes of the International Young Physicists’ Tournament (IYPT):

Please send a copy via email to Secretary General Timotheus Hell timhell@gmail.com and bring the original (with signatures) to an IOC meeting. The email copy should also contain all required signatures.