The Swiss Young Physicists' Tournament (SYPT) is a competition, where physics enthusiasts from middle schools from anywhere in Switzerland participate. In so called Physics Fights three teams (each consisting of two to three students) compete against each other. They take turns presenting and defending their solution to a given problem, criticizing the solution of the opposing team and reviewing the performance of the two preceding teams. The performance of all three teams is assessed by a jury. The teams have to try to convince both their opponents as well as the jury of the quality of their scientific work and results and of the understanding of physics.
The three rounds (on two days) are accompanied by a social program including opening ceremony, lunch, excursions, dinner and award ceremony after a final.
The problems are the same as the ones for the international counterpart, the IYPT, and are published about a year in advance to the IYPT. Usually, they are formulated quite openly and no single, simple or final solution is possible; therefore, the presentations to the same problem tend to be quite different: focussing on different aspects of the phenomenen or featuring different methods for example. Careful work and creativity during the experiments is just as important as a good knowledge and understanding of middle school physics and mathematics.
The schedule of a Physics Fight is strictly specified and is based on the idea behind scientific conferences. Three teams compete against each other in the roles of Reporter (Rep), Opponent (Opp) and Reviewer (Rev). The official language of the tournament is English - just as at the international tournament. But no fear: The focus is on (scientific) content and not pronunciation or grammar!
The tasks for the three students actively involved in a fight are as follows:
- The Reporter presents his/her solution for the selected problem. The solution is expected to cover at least an important aspect of the problem with a theoretical model and experimental results verifying this model. The solution should be understandable for a secondary school student.
- The Opponent asks clarifying and critical questions and points out possible shortcomings and mistakes in the solution presented by the Reporter. He/She shows the presentation‘s strengths and weaknesses. The discussion has to be based on the solution presented by the Reporter (not on the Opponent‘s). A good Opponent should lead the discussion in a way that both participants can learn something new.
- The Reviewer comments on the performances of both Reporter and Opponent.
A Physics Fight with three teams is divided into three stages. In each stage the roles of the Reporter, Opponent and Reviewer are assigned according to the table below. If there are four teams involved in a fight, each team pauses for one stage (see second table).
The Physics Fight follows a strict timetable (see table below). After the time reserved for a phase has been used up no new thought may be added. If the preparation time is exceeded, the time for the next phase is shortened accordingly.
|Phase||Time (total 45')|
|Presentation of the Reporter||12'|
|Clarifying questions of the Opponent to the Reporter||2'|
|Preparation of the Opponent||3'|
|Review of the presentation (maximum 5') and discussion between Opponent and Reporter||11'|
|Summary of the discussion by the Opponent||1'|
|Questions of the Reviewer to the Reporter and the Opponent||3'|
|Preparation of the Reviewer||2'|
|Review of the performances of the Reporter and the Opponent by the Reviewer||4'|
|Concluding remarks of the Reporter||2'|
|Questions of the jury to all three teams||5'|
The jury not only consists of physics teachers from the involved schools but also of former participants and experts from science and industry. Their task is to assess the performance of the the teams and grade each of them with grades between 1 and 10. After that there are quite often interesting and constructive discussions between jury members and the teams.
All students who go to secondary school II in Switzerland (Gymnasium, Berufsmittelschule etc.) can participate at the SYPT. Because it is a team competition the best way to go is to register as a team of three. Using the contact form you can register as a single person, as a team or even register multiple teams from the same school.
During the preparatory phase all possible help (friends, teachers, nobel laureates, ...) is allowed. However, consider that at the tournament you are alone on stage and have to explain your methods and procedure. Many ideas to start working on a problem can be found in the extensive reference Kit by Ilya Martchenko. In case of questions (now or during the preparation) please contact us
Please refer to the official regulations for further details.