IPhO Statutes

Adopted in Sigtuna, Sweden, June 1984

(changes: Bad Ischl, Austria, June 1988; Warsaw, Poland, July 1989; Groningen, The Netherlands, 1990; Havana, Cuba, July 1991; Helsinki, Finland, July 1992; Williamsburg, Virginia - USA, July 1993; Beijing, China, July 1994; Canberra, Australia, July 1995; Oslo, Norway, July 1996)

# 1

In recognition of the growing significance of physics in all fields of science and technology, and in the 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 has been organized for secondary school students, the competition is called the International Physics Olympiad and is a competition between individuals.

# 2

The competition is organized by the Education Ministry or another appropriate institution of one of the participating countries on whose territory the competition is to be conducted. Hereunder, the term Education Ministry is used in the above meaning. The organizing country is obliged to ensure equal participation of all the delegations, and to invite all the participants of any of the last three competitions. Additionally, it has the right to invite other countries.

No country may have its team excluded from participation on any political grounds resulting from political tensions, lack of diplomatic relations, lack of recognition of some country by the government of the organizing country, imposed embargoes and similar reasons. When difficulties preclude formal invitation of the team representing a country students from such a country should be invited to participate as individuals.

Within five years of its entry in the competition a country should declare its intention to be the host for a future Olympiad. This declaration should propose a timetable so that a provisional list of the order of countries willing to arrange Olympiads can be compiled.

A country which refuses to organize the competition may be barred from participation, even if delegation from that country has taken part in previous competitions.

# 3

The Education Ministries of the participating countries, as a rule, assign the organization, preparation and execution of the competition to a physics society or another institution in the organizing country. The Education Ministry of the organizing country notifies the Education Ministries of the participating countries of the name and address of the institution assigned to the organization of the competition.

# 4

Each participating country sends a team consisting of students of general or technical secondary schools, i.e. schools which cannot be considered technical colleges. Also students who finished their school examination in the year of the competition can be members of a team as long as they do not start the university studies. The age of the participants should not exceed twenty on June 30th of the year of the competition. Each team should normally have 5 members.

In addition to the students, two accompanying persons are invited from each country, one of whom is designated delegation head (responsible for whole delegation), and the other - pedagogical leader (responsible for the students). The accompanying persons become members of the International Board, where they have equal rights.

The accompanying persons, i.e. delegation head and pedagogical leader, are considered by the organizers of the next competition and by the Secretariat of the International Physics Olympiads (# 15) as contact persons until the next Olympiad (unless new accompanying persons or other contact persons are nominated by the participating country).

The competition is conducted in the friendly atmosphere designed to promote future collaborations and to encourage the formation of friendships in the scientific community. To that effect all the possible political tensions between the participants should not be reflected in any activity during the competition. Any political activity directed against any individuals or countries is strictly prohibited.

The delegation head and pedagogical leader must be selected from specialists in physics or physics teachers, capable of solving the problems of the competition competently. Normally each of them should be able to speak English.

The delegation head of each participating team should, on arrival, handover to the organizers a list containing personal data on the contestants (surname, name, date of birth, home address, type and address of the school attended).

# 5

The working language of the International Physics Olympiad is English. The competition problems should be prepared in English, Russian, German, French and Spanish. The solutions to them should be prepared in English; the organizers, however, may prepare those documents in other languages as well.

# 6

The financial principles of the organization of the competition are as follows:

# 7

The competition is conducted on two days, one for the theoretical competition and one for the experimental competition. There should be at least one day of rest between these two days. The time allotted for solving the problems should normally be five hours. The number of theoretical problems should be three and the number of experimental problems one or two.

When solving the problems the contestants may make use of tables of logarithms, tables of physical constants, slide-rules, non-programmable pocket calculators and drawing material. These aids will be brought by the students themselves. Collections of formulae from mathematics or physics are not allowed.

The theoretical problems should involve at least four areas of physics taught at secondary school level (see Appendix). Secondary-school students should be able to solve the competition problems with standard high school mathematics and without extensive numerical calculation.

The host country has to prepare one spare problem which will be presented to the International Board if one of the first three theoretical problems is rejected by two thirds of members of the International Board. The rejected problem cannot be considered again.

# 8

The competition tasks are chosen and prepared by the host country.

# 9

The marks available for each problem are defined by the organizer of the competition, but the total number of points for the theoretical problems should be 30 and for the experimental 20. The laboratory problems should consist of theoretical analysis (plan and discussion) and experimental execution.

# 10

The obligations of the organizer:

  1. The organizer is obliged to ensure that the competition is conducted in accordance with the Statutes.
  2. The organizer should produce a set of Organization Rules, based on the Statutes, and send them to the participating countries in good time. These Organization Rules shall give details of the Olympiad not covered in the Statutes, and give names and addresses of the institutions and persons responsible for the Olympiad.
  3. The organizer establishes a precise program for the competition (schedule for the contestants and the accompanying persons, program of excursions, etc.), which is sent to the participating countries in advance.
  4. The organizer should check immediately after the arrival of each delegation whether its contestants meet the conditions of the competitions.
  5. The organizer chooses (according to # 7 and the list of physics contents in the Appendix to these Statutes) the problems and ensures their proper formulation in English and in other languages set out in # 5. It is advisable to select problems where the solutions require a certain creative capability and a considerable level of knowledge. Everyone taking part in the preparation of the competition problems is obliged to preserve complete secrecy.
  6. The organizer must provide the teams with interpreters.
  7. The organizer should provide the delegation leaders with copies of the solutions of the contestants in their delegation not later than 24 hours before beginning of the discussion on grading.
  8. The organizer is responsible for the grading of the problem solutions.
  9. The organizer drafts a list of participants proposed as winners of the prizes and honourable mentions.
  10. The organizer prepares the prizes (diplomas), honourable mentions and awards for the winners of the competition.
  11. The organizer publishes the proceedings of the competition (in English) within one year from the end of the competition. Each of the participants, i.e. the delegation heads, the pedagogical leaders and the competitors, receive one copy of the proceedings free of charge.

# 11

The scientific part of the competition must be within the competence of the International Board, which includes the delegation heads and pedagogical leaders of all the delegations.

The Board is chaired by a representative of the organizing country. He/She is responsible for the preparation of the competition and serves on the Board in addition to the accompanying persons of the respective teams.

Decisions are passed by a majority vote. In the case of equal number of votes for and against, the chairman has the casting vote.

# 12

The delegation leaders are responsible for the proper translation of the problems from English or other languages mentioned in # 5 to the mother tongue of the participants.

# 13

The International Board has the following responsibilities:

  1. to direct the competition and supervise that it is conducted according to the regulations;
  2. to ascertain, after the arrival of the competing teams, that all their members meet the requirements of the competition in all aspects. The Board will disqualify those contestants who do not meet the stipulated conditions. The costs incurred by a disqualified contestant are covered by his/her country;
  3. to discuss the Organizers' choice of tasks, their solutions and the suggested evaluation guidelines before each part of the competition. The Board is authorized to change or reject suggested tasks but not to propose new ones. Changes may not affect experimental equipment. There will be a final decision on the formulation of tasks and on the evaluation guidelines. The participants in the meeting of the International Board are bound to preserve secrecy concerning the tasks and to be of no assistance leaders may reveal the individual grading of the students of their team;
  4. to establish the winners of the competition and make a decision concerning presentation of the prizes and honourable mentions. The decision of the International Board is final;
  5. to review the results of the competition.
  6. to select the country which will be assigned the organization of the next competition.

Observers may be present at the meetings of the International Board, but not to vote or take part in ceremony of the competition.

# 14

The institution in charge of the Olympiad announces the results and presents the awards and diplomas to the winners at an official gala ceremony. It invites representatives of the organizing Ministry and scientific institutions to the closing ceremony of the competition.

# 15

The long term work involved in organizing the Olympiads is coordinated by a Secretariat for the International Physics Olympiads. This Secretariat consists of the President and Secretary. They are elected by the International Board for a period of five years when the chairs become vacant.

There shall be an Advisory Committee convented at the President of the IPhOs. The Advisory Committee consists of:

  1. The President.
  2. The Secretrience gained during past international competitions.

# 16

The present Statutes have bees drafted on the basis of experience gained during past international competitions.

Changes in these Statutes, the insertion of new paragraphs or exclusion of old ones, can only be made by the International Board and requires a qualified majority (2/3 of the number of the members of the International Board at current competition).

No changes may be made to these Statutes or Syllabus unless written or electronic texts of the proposals have been disseminated to all the countries present at the last Olympiad at least three months in advance.

# 17

Participation in an International Physics Olympiad signifies acceptance of the present Statutes by the Education Ministry of the participating country.

# 18

The originals of these Statutes are written in English.

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