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01 February 2016

US Invitational Young Physicists Tournament -- results from 2016

Shenzhen Middle School, USIYPT Champions 2016
The eighth annual US Invitational Young Physicists Tournament was held last Friday and Saturday, January 29-30, at Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA.  Eleven teams from around the world competed; results are listed below.

Phoenixville Area High School of Pennsylvania was atop the standings after the six preliminary rounds.  In the final rounds, Shenzhen Middle School, of Shenzhen, China, earned the championship trophy.

Champions: Shenzhen Middle School (pictured)
Second Place: Rye Country Day School, New York
Finalists: The Harker School, California; Phoenixville Area High School

Clifford Swartz Poster Session Champions: Nanjing Foreign Language School, Nanjing, China

Poster Session: 
Pioneer School of Ariana, Tunisia
Woodberry Forest School, Virginia
Phillips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire
High School Affiliated to Renmin University, China
Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science, New Jersey
Nanjing Foreign Language School, Nanjing, China
Cary Academy, North Carolina

I know that I and the USAYPT board thanks Randolph College, and physics department chair Peter Sheldon, for their extraordinary efforts in hosting and supporting the tournament.  

For 2017, the USIYPT will be held January 28-29 at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, hosted jointly by the university and by Phoenixville Area High School.  The problems for 2017 are listed below.

If you'd like information about participating -- either as a juror, or as the leader of a team -- please contact me.  A "Young Physicists Tournament" involves not just the presentation of research, but extensive discussion and conversation between teams about that research.  Teams are judged not only on the quality of their own research, but on their ability to communicate their understanding through asking and answering questions.  You will love it.

USIYPT Problems 2017

Granular materials
Build an apparatus that performs the following procedure: a rectangular container is placed on a vibrating base. The container is split into two equal parts by a vertical wall that is shorter than the outer walls of the container. An equal number of beads are placed in both containers at a level slightly less than half the height of the middle wall. As the base oscillates up and down at a constant frequency the beads jump above the middle wall from side to side; eventually they will all be in one side of the container. Explain this phenomenon and estimate how long the process takes for your apparatus.

Investigate the motion of a projectile inside a blowpipe.  Determine the conditions for maximum exit velocity when blown by the mouth.

Support a long, vertical tube containing water.  Heat the tube directly from the bottom and you will observe that the water erupts.  Arrange for the water to drain back into the tube to allow repeated eruptions.  Investigate the parameters that determine the eruption frequency.

Planck’s constant
Use LEDs to measure Planck’s constant, and explain the theoretical basis for your experiment. Measure the wavelength of the LED light directly, without relying on the manufacturer's data.  Describe the precision of your experiment and discuss if your margin of error covers the currently accepted value of the constant. You must build the experiment yourself from standard electronic parts, without relying on a commercially available Planck's constant apparatus.

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