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8 Physics Competitions for High School Students 2023

8 Physics Competitions for High School Students 2024-2025

If you're a high school student with a passion for physics, you might be interested in exploring some of the many physics competitions available to you. These competitions can be a great way to challenge yourself, deepen your understanding of physics concepts, and meet other like-minded students and professionals in the field. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of these opportunities so that you can make more informed decisions about which ones are right for you!

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The International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) is an annual physics competition for high school students from around the world. Participants compete by solving theoretical and experimental physics problems, with the aim of demonstrating their knowledge and problem-solving skills. The IPhO not only provides an opportunity for students to showcase their abilities, but also promotes science education and international cooperation. The competition is organized by the International Physics Olympiad Foundation, and is hosted by a different country each year.

Competition Date: July 21 to 29, 2024

The Davidson Fellows Scholarship is a prestigious scholarship program that recognizes and supports exceptional students who have completed significant original work in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature, music, or philosophy. Upon submitting the research, two nominators with whom the student shares a professional relationship (i.e., not family or friends) and are familiar with the student’s work must also submit a nomination form.

Eligibility: Students who are 18 years old or under and are also a U.S. citizen residing in the United States, a Permanent Resident of the United States residing in the United States, or are stationed overseas due to active U. S. military duty.

Submission Type: Research Paper

Registration Date: February 14, 2024

Prizes: $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 scholarships to high-achieving students

The F=ma Competition is an annual physics competition for high school students in the United States. It is sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers, and is designed to test students’ knowledge of classical mechanics. Participants are given a set of multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as kinematics, forces, energy, and momentum. The top performers in the competition are recognized with awards and prizes. Winners from the F=ma Competition will advance to the USAPhO exam, and eventually to the International Physics Olympiad.

Test Date: February 8, 2024

Registration Deadline: January 22, 2024

The National Science Bowl is a nationwide academic competition created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to encourage students to excel in mathematics and science, and to pursue careers in these fields. The competition tests students’ knowledge in all areas of science and mathematics, including biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, energy, and math. Students participate in regional competitions; then, winning teams move forward to the national competition.

Competition Date: April 25 – April 29, 2024

Eligibility: Middle and high school students

Application Deadline: Registration closes 3 weeks prior to the date of the regional event.

Participants in the USAPhO compete in two rounds of exams, with the top-performing students advancing to a training camp, and ultimately to the final stage, known as the “Physics Olympiad Team Selection Exam.” The top-performing students in the final exam are selected to represent the United States at the International Physics Olympiad.

Test Date: USAPhO Exam test date is to be available
Early June – U.S. Physics Team Training Camp, University of Maryland

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The Physics Bowl American High School Physics Competition is organized by the American Physics Teachers Association, the only academic institution in the U.S. specializing in popularizing and improving physics education. Every year, the association provides American universities and high schools with updated and in-depth educational resources that highlight the newest ideas in the field of physics through conferences, forums, and competitions.

Registration Deadline: February 26, 2024

The Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. ISEF brings together high school students from around the world to showcase their original research projects in a variety of scientific disciplines, including biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, and computer science. It is an annual event sponsored by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and organized by the Society for Science & the Public. The event takes place over several days, with a range of events including project displays, oral presentations, symposiums, and keynote speeches from distinguished scientists.

Deadline: Varies from state to state

Eligibility: Students must be in grades 9-12, and be 19 years of age or younger on the day of the national competition. Students must also be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or U.S. territories, or be enrolled in a U.S. school abroad.

The Sir Isaac Newton (SIN) Exam is an annual contest held in early May, in which students from any grade can participate. The contest is an exam that is ideally taken at a local school with teacher supervision during a two-hour period. The exam covers basic physics, mainly from the suggested Ontario Secondary School Physics Curriculum. The material is aligned with the rest of the Canadian curriculum, and emphasizes basic classical mechanics and common sense.

Registration Deadline: April 27, 2024 (based on last year’s deadline)

Each of these competitions offers a unique set of challenges and opportunities—such as solving complex problems, designing and building devices, and presenting research—all of which will give you valuable experiences and opportunities to stand out amongst your peers. So, whether you’re interested in theoretical physics, experimental physics, or something in between, there’s a competition out there for you!

If you’re thinking about participating in a physics competition, be sure to do your research and find one that aligns with your interests and strengths. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself – these competitions can be tough, but they can also be incredibly rewarding!


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