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Science Saturday Swiss polytechnic hosts international physics competition

men in a lab

The EPFL team: Ruslan Mushkaev, Ivan Rijkov, Nicholas Greensmith, Vincent Masson and Maxime Scheder

(Alain Herzog / 2019 EPFL)

More than 200 physics students are gathering at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL)external link for the 2019 International Physicists’ Tournament (IPT)external link.

This a record year in terms of participation, with 19 teams from 16 countries competing. The teams will try to answer questions like, “Is it possible to estimate how far away a train is, and how fast it’s travelling, merely from the sound it makes as it approaches?” and “How can the structure of a samara – the helicopter-like fruit that grows on certain trees – inspire more efficient parachute design?”

EPFL won the gold medal last year, so it’s defending its title. But the six-day event – which runs from April 21-26 – is also an opportunity for networking.

“Once the qualifying stages are over, you often see teams discussing how physics is taught in their country,” says coordinator Evgenii Glushkov, a PhD student in the EPFL laboratory of nanoscale biology. “Competing for the medals is only part of what the IPT is about. We all head home having learned something – and met lots of new people along the way.”

The public can watch the presentations throughout the week, and the final, which will take place at the Rolex Learning Center Forum on April 26, will be broadcast live. Click hereexternal link for the full schedule.

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