How to play

What tasks you will solve

The IPT problems are designed in a way to not have an exact solution. Your task is to apply a relevant scientific methodology and study the given effect or dependency as deep as possible.

We use three key criteria in selecting and designing problems:

  • Open – there is no right answer to the task, you can choose your own depth of the solution
  • Allow different approaches – you can either solve the problem theoretically, experimentally, numerically, or combine these methods
  • Accessible – tasks are designed to be doable by students, you would not need sophisticated equipment or advanced physics knowledge

Exemplary problems

Pringles stack ring

It is possible to build structures by stacking Pringles on top of one another in various configurations. What are the physical parameters that allow some geometric patterns to be constructed? What is the largest stack ring that can be built? What maximal weight can it support?

Popcorn jumps

At a certain temperature, popcorn bursts open, jumps and emits a ‘pop’ sound. Devise a method to estimate the jump height of the corn kernels based on measurements of the sound of the pop and determine the limits of the precision in your chosen method. Typical parameters for consideration may include the type of corn, initial positioning of corn, heating mechanism, heat, heating rate, kernel coupling, etc.

Three roles

During each Physics Fight, 3 (4) teams confront each other. Round after round, they play the roles of Reporter, Opponent and Moderator (and Observer).

One round runs as follows:

The Reporter has 10 minutes to expose his solution to a problem. Then, he/she has to defend his answer and points of view during the following discussions.

The Opponent has to explain in 5 minutes the weaknesses and eventual errors of the Reporter’s solution. The Opponent then participates in the discussion to improve the Reporter’s solution.

The Moderator will review both the Reporter’s and the Opponent’s performances. Their duty is to help the jury decide their marks by pointing out the signs of progress made during the discussions.

The jurors ask clarifying questions, giving scores and feedback to each role in the round.

Then team swap the roles, so each team presents in each role once in a fight.

Before each edition, the execom runs a jurors briefing, aimed at instructing the jurors and ensuring smooth and consistent grading.

During physics fights, jurors are given the grading guidance), a shortened version of the description of the roles in the rules.

Tournament gameplay

The tournament starts with a drawing when teams are distributed to the rooms for the selective fights. The execom ensures that, for the given number of teams and rooms, there are minimal repetitions of any two teams to meet during selective fights.

The winning team in each physics fight earns 2 bonus points.

The total points earned in all selective fights are used for ranking the teams. 2-7 places go to the semifinals, while 1 place goes straight to the final.

How to start

The best way of getting started is to learn from others! We have many resources available to give you a flavour of physics fights and IPT problems. Review our solution database to see the presentations made by previous years participants. Our YouTube channel features Grant Finales from previous years and selective fights from our online editions - listen to discussions and try coming up with tricky questions for the reporter. If you are wondering how to write a preselection report - we have a selection of previous years’ reports, accompanied by an average grade for it.