Are you preparing for the tournament or thinking about participating but still have some questions about how the torunament works or what you will need to do during those Physics Fights? Some commonly asked questions and their answers can be found here. If you can't find the answer you were looking for, feel free to contact us.


About SYPT:

How do I register?

The SYPT, short for Swiss Young Physicists' Tournament, is a project-oriented physics competition for high school students. Each participant solves one of 17 interesting physics problems and presents his/her solution at the tournament in a Physics Fight (see below). The tournament is a team competition (teams of three) and is held in English. Apart from physics, students also practice skills such as project management, presentation, debate and teamwork. To get an impression for the tournament check out this video.
The best students are also selected for the team qualification where the team for the International Young Physicists' Tournament is chosen.Participating at the IYPT allows you to meet and compete with talented students from all over the world.
Any high-school student living in Switzerland and enrolled in a school based in Switzerland may participate. If you like working on your own scientific project and have a curiosity for science, the SYPT is right for you. Although no formal requirement, we recommend that students have attended at least one year of physics courses at high-school and are between one to three years away from graduation. For younger students we organize the Swiss Young Naturalists' Tournament.
The tournament consists of several debate-like Physics Fights in which three teams compete. Each fight consist of three stages that follows a strict schedule (see SYPT Regulations). In the first stage, a member of the first team takes the role of the Reporter, a member of the second team the role of the Opponent and a member of the third team the role of the Reviewer. In the second and third stage the roles cycle through the teams and team members according to the Fight Plan.
To help students prepare for the SYPT we organize the SYPT Physics Week which is usually held in February. During the Physics Week students conduct measurements and are coached for Opposition and Review. Additionally, social activities are organized so you can get to know fellow participants. Please note that the problems offered at the Physics Week may be restricted. The number of spots at the Physics Week is limited.
There are no fees to participate at the SYPT or SYPT Physics Week. Additionally, we offer meals at our tournament and pay an allowance for accommodation for students living too far to commute to the tournament. Students must pay for their own transportation to and from the events.


Before the SYPT:

The registration is usually from October to December (see specific tournament year for exact dates) and can be done online. Please note that you must first make an account before entering your data. You can either register as an individual or as a team of three (important: every student in a team must register separately) and can choose whether you would wish to take part at the SYPT Physics Week. You must also select the problem you wish to present. Please note:
  • The registration is only definite once confirmed by us. Although we try to send out the confirmations as soon as possible, it may take a few weeks after the registration deadline until you hear from us.
  • If we receive many registrations for the tournament and/or the Physics Week, we may not be able to accept everyone.
  • Restrictions to the problems permitted at the Physics Week may apply. Visit the dedicated section for more information.
  • Each team must solve three different problems.
  • We will combine the individual registrations to form new teams. We try our best to put students from the same region together so that they can prepare together.
  • Registering a team with more or less than three students is invalid and will be considered as individual registrations.
Although the SYPT-problems usually cover several different fields of physics, there are some common procedures. For almost all problems some material, e.g. a video or publication, already exists and provides a suitable starting point (after all, somebody must come up with these problems). You should also think about a suitable setup/device to conduct quantitative experiments. When performing your experiments make sure they are reproducible and try to also perform a correct error analysis. If possible, at least one relevant parameter should be investigated quantitatively and compared to the theoretical prediction. Finally, start writing your presentation early and make sure you documented your work (pictures, videos, ...).
The problems are selected in a way that in most cases they can be carried out using high school equipment, but in case you do need additional material contact a university or research institute as early as possible. Additionally, our association may be able to help you.
Warning: research is hardly ever predictable. Experiments may not work the first time or other problems may arise, so don’t do everything last minute. Be persistent but also have fun.


At the SYPT:

Every participant will be active in three Physics Fights, once as the Reporter, once as the Opponent and once as the Reviewer.
The Reporter presents a solution to the problem selected during the registration (see Fight Plan). Most presentations are prepared in PowerPoint, Keynote, or similar programs. The time for the presentation is strictly limited to 12 minutes.

An important aspect of the presentation is to convince the other teams and the jury that you did your own experimental work. It is allowed to bring along devices you have been using for your investigation, but it is also perfectly fine to just show videos/photographs instead. A good solution should also show a good understanding of the relevant theory. If possible, at least one relevant parameter should be investigated quantitatively and compared to the theoretical prediction.

There are three parts while the Opponent takes the stage:
  • summary of the presentation and critical feedback (strengths and weaknesses)
  • discussion between Opponent and Reporter
  • summary of discussion

In the second phase the Opponent leads a discussion with the reporter on shown solution. In a good discussion, both Opponent and Reporter participate equally and articulate their opinion frequently. Furthermore, the Opponent ideally manages to help the Reporter further develop the solution but still focuses on the parts that were presented.

You can find out about the problem you will have to oppose once the Fight Plan is published (two weeks prior to the tournament). It is advisable to prepare for your opposition by reading some literature and thinking about possible discussion points.

The Reviewer has to give a critical feedback to both the Reporter and the Opponent. Since the presentation has already been summed up by the Opponent, the Reviewer is expected to add points that were missed by both of them and to focus on the discussion between them (the focus should be on the science, i.e. scientific method, mathematics, physics, experimental procedures, assumptions etc). It is advisable to prepare for your review by reading some literature and thinking about possible questions.
Although there is only one active team member in each stage, it is important that the other team members provide as much help as possible. During the presentation they can assist the Opponent and the Reviewer by writing down unclear points or shortcomings. During the discussion they are allowed to pass on new questions (e.g. on a sheet of paper) to their active team member. Additionally, they may answer specific questions during the jury questions as well as provide technical support.
Pro IYPT-CH organizes a jury for each physics fight. Each juror grades the performance of Reporter, Opponent and Reviewer independently on an integer scale from 1 to 10. The average is calculated but with the single lowest and highest grade counting only half and the grade rounded to two decimals (e.g. if you get a 6, 7, 7, 9, 9, then the six as well as one of the 9’s count half such that your average is 7.63.). The grade of the report is multiplied by a factor of 3.0, the opposition by 2.0 and the review by 1.0 to give you the score for this role. Once the fight is over the point acquired by each team are added up and rounded to a single decimal. These grades are used to compile both a team and an individual ranking that is published on our website. Additionally. the best three teams after the three rounds of Physics Fights compete in a final round on the second day where the SYPT-winner is crowned.
We select the winners of the SYPT and 6 (in exceptional cases 7) further students based on the individual ranking for the Team Qualification which is a two-day event that takes place 1-2 months after the SYPT. At the Team Qualification students get another chance to compete in a physics fight with a new problem. Based on the performances at the Team Qualification we select five students to represent Switzerland at the IYPT.