British Physics Olympiad

May 15, 2024

The British Physics Olympiad provides a series of competition papers for Years 10 - 13 to stretch and challenge talented young physicists.  In recent years the competitions have attracted entries from 30-40,000 students.

This year Hans from Year 12 took part in Round 1. The top 100 Round 1 students are invited to take BPhO Round 2.

BPhO wants to provide opportunities for students to develop their physics and gain confidence in their subject. Finding a paper particularly challenging is not going to demoralize a student who expects to find it particularly challenging. The papers contain some approachable questions, but also some designed to stretch the students until the elastic snaps. They are expected to be left to think and discuss one or two of the questions after the competition, or else it is merely more of the usual exam experience. The intellectual satisfaction of solving a problem that is worth solving, when the results do not affect the student’s career, should be developed. In order to gain insight into the physics when it becomes difficult requires resilience or the student will never be able to stand the heat.  The way to understand a topic more deeply is to try problems which are demanding in gathering the ideas together, to develop determination and perseverance particularly, having an approach (drawing diagrams, etc.), doing problems that are worded in a clear and unambiguous way but do not lead the student into the answer, are intellectually demanding.