IPhO 2011– Harmony in Physics

Bangkok – The capital city of Thailand hosted the 42. International Physics Olympiads 2011 (IPhO) under the slogan Harmony in Physics, which took place from July 10th to 18th. The royal Thai family and the Chulalongkorn University of Bangkok entertained 84 countries with excursions all over the capital, and with cultural shows.

During the theoretical test students had to solve three exercises covering classical physics topics, such as the gravitational laws governing the three-body problem, the thermodynamics describing the behavior of soap bubbles, and the electrodynamics which was used to describe scattering processes between atoms and ions.

During the five hours of experimental examination the contestants were asked to reverse engineer a digital caliber, and to solve a mechanics experiment, with the goal of finding the position and the mass of a small sphere inside a cylinder.

This year Switzerland has been represented by these five contestants (from left to right):

  • Sebastian Käser,
    from Gurzelen (Gymn. Thun Schadau, BE)
  • Dominic Schwarz,
    from Teufen (Kantonschule Trogen, AR)
  • Jean-François Pinazza,
    from Lonay (Gymnase de Morges, VD)
  • Thanh Phong Lê,
    from Crissier (Gymnase du Bugnon, site de Sévelin, VD)
  • Sylvain Hauser,
    from Moutier (Gymn. français Bienne, BE)

Congratulations to Jean-François Pinazza for his bronze medal, and to Dominic Schwarz and Thanh Phong Lê for earning each an honorable mention.