Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do all sources in the Archive contain correct and reliable information?
A. No. Many materials, even those written during the events, contain inaccuracies and sometimes critical factual mistakes.
We all recollect the details of IYPTs through a prism of emotion, outstanding experience, and personal success. It is difficult for anyone to back up such details as people, time, place, regulations, problems or results, without documental or photographic proof. Please note that it took several years of systematic research to locate original records and quite reliably reconstruct the results of the earliest IYPTs that were commonly assumed gone forever.
As the human memory is not always accurate and reliable, it is perfectly natural to confuse figures, recall facts that never happened, or misattribute details between several separate events.
We encourage maximum caution when writing about IYPTs or re-using data from earlier accounts. A simple but vibrant introduction to restoring past details from multilingual, scattered sources is Handling evidence in history: the case of Einstein's wife by Alberto A. Martínez.
Be careful and do not hesitate to contact us if you see a mistake, or if you need our commentary on particular data.
Please, be especially attentive that
- there was no Polish team at the 1st IYPT, and therefore Poland could not have been a gold co-winner,
- the 1st IYPT was held in 1988, and neither in 1987, nor in 1989, nor in 1991,
- the IYPTs are held annually since 1988, not since 1993 or 1994,
- it is still disputed whether a formal international ranking existed at the 1st IYPT,
- problems in 1988—1993 were originally written in Russian, the basic working language at the earliest IYPTs; it is not yet always clear which of the known translations might have been officially used by LOCs and participants during or before the respective events,
- many of the regulations at the early IYPTs differed from what is common today, and a direct comparison of grades, or other details, may not be always correct,
- Wikipedia is not a primary source; we are proud for IYPT-related Wikipedia articles, but much work should be done to clean them up, correct inaccuracies, and provide proper references.
Q. The Archive collects various types of documents, ranging from raw handwritten Physics Fights notes, to reports in mass media. Is it advisable to bear in mind the status and origins of a particular record?
A. Definitely, yes.
The collection encompasses records made by different people in various circumstances, even if they are all about a particular IYPT. The following examples may explain why caution is needed in addressing or using particular data.
Any formal document (such as a new problem set or a ranking table) published today in English at iypt.org is an official release and a definitive primary source. It reflects the time of the publication and may never be edited, revised or updated. (Would it be appropriate if one of the 2017 problems is retroactively amended in 2022?)
A historical document known to have been published formally by the IYPT in the past, should be treated equally, unless it is clear that the copy is incomplete or distorted.
Nevertheless, no standard English documentation existed at the early IYPTs, and not all standard Russian texts are known. When re-published or translated into further languages, the texts suffered from omissions and inaccuracies, such as replacing 1024 with 10, or misattributing problems. Therefore, careful reconstruction, editing, or textual criticism may become necessary. As an example, however, the historical problems for the early IYPTs, restored and translated today into English from sources of varied credibility, are research-based retrospective reconstructions and not first-hand, primary official releases.
As for the ranking tables, where the primary official records are still missing, the basic principle is that historical data may be considered accurate and authoritative only after careful verification and research.
In a very typical situation, hearsay media coverage and even late essays published in credible journals, but not sufficiently referenced, may differ against the raw notes or small articles written shortly after the events by first-hand participants. Much attention is then needed to cross-check and restore the correct data.
Q. Is the Archive an official project of the IYPT?
A. The Archive is a personal initiative that explicitly positions itself as a retrospective research project. We collect and verify sources and do not make primary official releases. Where is an uncertainty on a winner, a problem, a grade, or a juror, we collect additional references and never claim that our conclusions are final and official truth. Nevertheless, since its inception, the Archive has been applauded by Evgeny Yunosov, formally accredited by the Executive Committee, and received funding from the Association IYPT. Such a status gives the project a good combination of research freedom and addressing priorities of the community.
The Archive maintains its information webpage at two sites, archive.iypt.org and iypt.ilyam.org, that mirror each other.
Q. Are all items in the collection copyright free?
A. No. Please be aware of our copyright policy and strictly respect the moral rights of original authors.
Documentation related to the International Young Physicists’ Tournament has been produced through years of work by numerous volunteers, activists, organizers, participants, and other contributors. Only a limited fraction has been available through traditional commercial channels. The overwhelming majority of the items were written for non-profit educational purposes and intended for open re-distribution, even if had formal publishers; many of the items were, however, only accessible within small community due to the natural limitations of the pre-internet era. All of traditionally published items are out of print, and can be typically traced only in private collections, in the archives of publishers, or in unique national libraries. Some vibrant, original documents of undisputable importance were never intended for international publication or permanent safekeeping, and can be seen as examples of ephemera or of gray literature.
Such a vast but scattered output, in over ten languages, has been done in various countries with different copyright laws, while some of the countries ceased to exist before implementing modern copyright legislation, such as the USSR. Much of the documentation had no explicit copyright claims; many suspected copyright holders, such as the Organizing Committees, never existed as legal bodies and neither maintained their output as copyright restricted, nor waived explicitly such rights.
Numerous individual authors cannot be easily contacted and sometimes even identified.
In making their output publicly available for future use, we seek to credit and to promote their contribution, and to protect their intellectual property. Our goals are to make sources available for research, teaching, private study, or other fair and sustainable activities making benefit for the IYPT or physics education. Aiming at having important data accountable, easily accessible and transparent, we are committed to the responsible use of this information.
It is the exclusive responsibility of readers in using our collection in a strictly appropriate way for non-commercial purposes only, and in respecting the work of authors in a very broad sense. The original contents under no circumstances may be adapted or changed. The users must give proper credits whenever citing an item, always directly and explicitly indicating the source of information. We expect the maximum responsibility in such sensitive actions as reproduction or transmission of records and disclosure of private details, even if a particular material is believed to be in public domain.
Like other historical archives and online repositories, we aim in our efforts only at indexing, preserving, and reposing data, and acknowledge the difficulty of resolving the legal status of every individual item. We generally follow the international practice and guidelines for historical online collections, as does the Internet Archive.
Whenever possible, we attempt to receive materials directly from originators with their written permissions. We are systematically contacting authors and editors to request such permissions. We are seeking to identify legally “public domain” items, to trace the authors of anonymous works, to provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, and to make our collection fully coherent.
Please contact us if you believe that a link or an item indexed in the collection is inconsistent with aims and terms of the Archive, or directly infringes a valid third-party copyright. Please contact us if you are an original copyright owner and can grant us with a particular permission regarding your work. We are eager to hear about the authors or originators who are not properly identified, so that consistent information may be preserved for the future. Please do not hesitate to request us for the available information regarding restrictions and background for a particular item.
Q. Are the items in the Archive indexed or searchable for key words? Is there a convenient searchable database?
A. Such a functionality is not yet implemented. Our ultimate goal is to allow users to perform Boolean searches by key words in full texts of the documents, and to find documents by year, author, language, subject, or other criteria. A particular emphasis would be given to establishing tags, key word indexes, and short summaries, for the items that are not written in English but constitute, nevertheless, a large fraction of the collection. As the Archive grows, DSpace can become a convenient platform for this purpose.
Q. I am considering launching a blog, putting online my photos or slides, writing a report, or submitting an IYPT-driven research paper to a journal. Are these good ideas?
A. Definitely, yes.
Q. I am a future participant and interested to cite or quote a solution indexed in the Archive. Did all of them undergo appropriate review, e.g. at the real IYPT stages? How can I know that a particular solution is correct?
A. The Archive is not endorsing any of the indexed solutions as correct, and did not perform any pre-selection based on the physical contents, average grades gained, or other criteria. While a retrospective selection among genuine IYPT reports would be appropriate for publishing The 10 Best IYPT Reports of All Time, the Archive is generally motivated in indexing all existing solutions. They are all an integer part of history, we believe.
As a matter of fact, many of the reports were published in the IYPT’s proceedings, did undergo a limited peer review by the editors, and were carefully selected by the authors before submission. When posted online at personal or institutional webpages, the solutions were similarly considered by authors as worth publishing. None of these arguments, however, can guarantee the physical validity of a particular solution.
Q. Unfortunately, the information provided by a particular source is somewhat incomplete. So, I see a few statements and conclusions in the Archive which are not quite right.
A. Thank you for contacting us promptly if you see a detail or a source that look incomplete or flawed. As a historical research project, we are not coming up with official data and always depend on our sources of different credibility. We certainly acknowledge that some details will need to be corrected or clarified over the time. We rely on the enthusiasm and input of our multiple informants, users, and volunteers. Do not hesitate to contact us at any time with suggestions or corrections.
Q. What is the most convenient way to submit materials into the section Solutions? I have very large presentations with videos. Using email or compressing multiple documents in a single zip is not convenient for me.
A. Neither is convenient for us. We offer a special submission manager, solutions.iypt.org, that allows easily uploading and indexing files into the collection. Please follow the recommendations below that will make things especially quick and easy.
- get an account: contact us to obtain an account for solutions.iypt.org,
- prepare your files: there is no limitation imposed to the primary file types and to the number of files constituting one solution. We happily index slides, articles, progress reports, videos, manuscripts, and any other materials. As a rule of thumb we recommend to share both PDFs and the original files such as PowerPoint slides or Word documents. We acknowledge that animations would be lost while the slides are converted into PDFs. Nevertheless, to make the Archive more convenient for the users and to partly address the issue of digital obsolescence and future incompatibility of software, we kindly request that all slides and reports should be duplicated as PDFs, when possible,
- upload: log in to solutions.iypt.org, save the names and contact emails of the authors, choose the files on your local disk, and simply click upload file,
- check: we will quickly review the submissions and put the HTML links to the individual files. In the last step, please check that everything works properly. Congratulations!
Our webpage serves as a linkothèque. We will happily index the files that are physically hosted at your personal website or Youtube videos taken during the IYPT. Thank you for sending us a link to any relevant material.
Q. Who benefits from the original solutions in the Archive?
A. Having your materials in the Archive is a great and rewarding record of your work and performance. They will serve as a helpful educational resource for future participants and team leaders. However, we are enouraging such submissions due to another reason: they will bring more advertisement to the IYPT, as the external audience will better see how excellent the IYPT problems are, and how great are the projects the teams come up with.
More original solutions mean more physics, more good rememberances in the future, and more visibility for the IYPT.
Q. The names of the IYPT in national languages can help in finding relevant materials in local electronic newspapers, homepages, and databases. What are the names of the IYPT in various languages?
A. The names are summarized in the list below.
Belarusian, taraškievica: Міжнародны турнір юных фізыкаў.
Belarusian, narkamaŭka: Міжнародны турнір юных фізікаў.
Bulgarian: Международен турнир на младите физици.
Chinese, classical: 國際青年學生物理辯論錦標賽.
Chinese, simplified: 国际青年物理学家竞赛.
Croatian: Međunarodni turnir mladih fizičara.
Czech: Mezinárodní Turnaj mladých fyziků.
Dutch: Internationaal Natuurkunde Toernooi.
English: International Young Physicists’ Tournament.
Finnish: Kansainvälisen nuorten fyysikkojen turnauksen.
French: Tournoi international des jeunes physiciens.
Georgian: ახალგზარდა ფიზიკოსთა საერთაშორისო ტურნირი.
German: Internationales Turnier Junger Physiker.
Hungarian: Ifjú Fizikusok Nemzetközi Versenye.
Korean: 국제 청소년 물리 토너먼트.
Mongolian: Олон улсын залуу физикчидийн тэмцээн.
Persian: مسابقات بین المللی فیزیکدانان جوان.
Polish: Międzynarodowy Turniej Młodych Fizyków.
Portuguese: Torneio Internacional de Jovens Físicos.
Romanian: Turnirul Internaţional al Tinerilor Fizicieni.
Russian: Международный турнир юных физиков.
Slovak: Medzinárodný turnaj mladých fyzikov.
Slovene: Mednarodni turnir mladih fizikov.
Spanish: Torneo Internacional de Físicos Jóvenes.
Swedish: Internationell turnering för unga fysiker.
Thai: ฟิสิกส์สัประยุทธ์ การแข่งขันฟิสิกส์สัประยุทธ์ระหว่างประเทศ.
Ukrainian: Міжнародний турнір юних фізиків.
Q. I am interested to contribute with items from my personal collection, but I am too short on time to digitize them myself.
A. Thank you. There are many ways we can borrow the items and send them back to you after scanning printed sheets or digitizing tapes. However, as a rule of thumb, the contents are far more important than the image quality. Some of the vibrant items in the collection, such as directives issued by the Soviet government in 1989 or problems printed by LOC in 1992, have been just photographed with a camera by our contributors.