Shrewsbury School

Physics: Salopian team selected to represent the UK in IYPT Final in Germany

Wednesday 22 February 2012

A team of students from Shrewsbury School have been named the best in the country, and now have the opportunity to represent the UK at the International Young Physicists’ Tournament (IYPT) being held in Germany in July 2012.

IYPT Team 2012: Alex Facey, Ed Elcock, Ratanon Suemanothom, Alistair Fisher, James Brent and Stephen Li Alex Facey (captain, G UVI), Stephen Li (Rt UVI), James Brent (Rb LVI), Alistair Fisher (PH LVI) and Ratanon Suemanothom (G LVI) claimed victory over the runner-up team from John Leggott College, Scunthorpe, after winning a series of ‘Physics Fights’ which not only test their in-depth knowledge and problem-solving abilities in advanced physics, but also their presentational skills.

The UK Final took place at Shrewsbury in February; the adjudicators included Mark Tocknell (ex. Westminster School Physics Dept. and Second Master), John Balcombe on behalf of the UKYPT, and the team leader from John Leggott College.

All UK teams had been working on the solutions to five open-ended and challenging problems; our preparations began in September with bi-weekly meetings to research the solutions to:

  •   floating drawing pins – attraction to other floating objects
  •   a Gaussian cannon – optimal position of the magnet
  •   bright waves (caustics) – relation between the waves and the pattern
  •   a rolling bottle part filled with water – investigate its motion
  •   coins balancing at an angle on a magnet – explain this curious effect

The teams were tasked with presenting details of their tests and findings at the final, before being quizzed on their works both by their opponents as well as by the tournament officials.

All the international teams are now preparing their solutions these 5 and a further set of 12 problems – more information on these and the IYPT can be found on

Shrewsbury’s success in this prestigious international competition has been quite extraordinary.  The first year that the UK took part in the competition was in 2003, and since then Shrewsbury School’s team has been judged to be the strongest team in the UK no fewer than six times!  Our teams have so far travelled to Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, Croatia and China to take part in the International stage, and came away from China with bronze medals.

Please see our IYPT page for more information on the IYPT and Shrewsbury’s success over the years.

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