The International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) is an annual competition for secondary school students, which aims to promote physics and the development of international contacts in physics education. It is one of the International Science Olympiads.
The first edition of the IPhO took place in Warsaw, Poland, in 1967, with only five participating countries. Since then, IPhO has become a global event, where more than 400 competitors, from 85 countries compete against each other.
India has been participating in the IPhO since 1998, and for the first time in 20 years, all the five participating students from India bagged gold medals in the 49th IPhO this year!
The five boys—Lay Jain and Pawan Goyal from Kota, Bhaskar Gupta from Mumbai, Nishant Abhangi from Rajkot and Siddharth Tiwary from Kolkata—were selected by the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education after a rigorous selection process.
As reported in the Indian Express, this year’s edition of IPhO took place in Lisbon, Portugal, and saw the participation of about 396 students from across the world, of which 42 won gold medals.
The IPhO competition consists of a theoretical and an experimental examination, each of five-hour duration. This year, the theoretical examination had questions based on LIGO detection of gravitational waves, the ATLAS instrument at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the physics of blood flow in living tissues and growth of tumours.
Speaking about the experience to the Times of India, Pawan Goyal said, “The experimental component was difficult, but the theoretical exam was easier, and the three of us scored between 29 and 30 out of 30 marks.”
Out of all the participants, the top 8% who scored the highest are awarded gold medals.
Praveen Pathak, a scientific officer at Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, a national centre of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), which led the International team, spoke to Times of India and said that India performed exceptionally well with this being the best performance yet so far.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)