Teams consist of three to five students, including one Team Captain and one Team Leader (an adult mentor preferably with adequate physics knowledge – usually a science educator who can provide guidance to the team). Each team will need to come up with a theoretical model, research, and experiment all of these problems before the competition, as the competition itself is of presenting these solutions to other teams and the jurors.
Each team represents their respective country and participates in a league structure of “Physics Matches” (PM). Each Physics Match includes two to three teams in a room, where they compete according to a modified version of the IYPT structure. There are three roles that each team will have a turn at: Reporter, Opponent, and Reviewer. There is a score multiplier of 3× for the reporting team, 2× for the opponents, and 1× for the reviewing team, each reflecting the importance of their respective role in the Physics Match. In each Physics Match, teams will have a shot at all the positions.
The presenting team will be challenged to present one of the questions within a limited time frame. The opponent then draws the attention of the jury to what they see as flaws in the presentation. At any point in time, there there can be at most one person from each team on the podium. Both sides are also given time to debate with each other on their findings, or pass on notes to their representative. The reviewing team may provide their view on both presentations and weigh-in on the debate as well.
Presenting teams are given the option to reject problems in a Physics Match. The first rejection comes without penalty; however, every subsequent rejection after that is at the expense of -0.2× on their score multiplier. Penalties carry throughout the entire competition and do not renew every round. Thus, it is highly recommended that your team researches the solutions to as many of the ten problem as possible. The IYPT requires the completion of all 17 problems. The selection of the Canadian National Team for the IYPT is based on the team score and the result of the individual selections.
Finally, the jury gives scores out of ten to each of the teams. The teams then rotate so that by the end of the Physics Match, each team has received scores for all three roles. The scores are ultimately used to determine the winners.
For more details regarding how the competition works such as rules and regulations, how to prepare, and how the competition is scored, please refer to the Rules and Regulations.