The International Young Physicists' Tournament (IYPT) is the international counterpart to the SYPT. In contrast to the SYPT, students from all over the world participate. The format is the same: Three teams (each consisting of 5 students) compete against each other in so called Physics Fights. 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.

In five rounds the best three teams are selected; in the final they "fight" for the IYPT cup. The whole tournament is accompanied by an extensive social program and usually lasts eight days.


The problems are the same as the ones for the national counterpart, the SYPT, and are published about a year in advance to the tournament. 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.

Physics Fight

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).

Physics Fight with three teams
Team 1 Rep Rev Opp
Team 2 Opp Rep Rev
Team 3 Rev Opp Rep


Physics Fight with four teams
Team 1 Rep - Rev Opp
Team 2 Opp Rep - Rev 
Team 3 Rev Opp  Rep -
Team 4 Rev  Opp Rep


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. In the fights of the first four rounds it is not known beforehand which problems are presented, in contrast to the national tournament. The Opponent challenges the Reporter for any one of the 17 problems; the Reporter then decides whether to accept or reject the challenge. In the last round, the Reporter can choose which problem to present and the challenge is omitted. In addition the discussion is longer in the international tournament compared to the SYPT.

The Opponent challenges the Reporter for the problem 1'
The Reporter accepts or rejects the challenge 1'
Preparation of the Reporter 5'
Presentation of the Reporter 12'
Clarifying questions of the Opponent to the Reporter 2'
Preparation of the Opponent 3'
Review of the presentation (maximum 4') and discussion between Opponent and Reporter 14'
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'


Detailed and current information about the regulations of the IYPT can be found on the official website.


To participate at the IYPT, you have to be part of the Swiss Team. The first stept is the participation at the SYPT; whoever is good enough is invited to the team qualification, where up to nine students compete for the five places in the team. The team is selected according to several different criteria.

If you are interested in a participation at the IYPT and/or SYPT, contact us.