If you want general information about the Victorian Young Physicists’ Tournament, click here.

Stage One Problems, Stage Two Problems Information session, Registration, Competition

Stage One Problems

  1. Conductivity of pencil lines: The lines, drawn by so-called ‘lead’ pencils, conduct electricity. Investigate the factors that determine the resistance of the line.
  2. Ice: A wire with weights attached to each end is placed across a block of ice. The wire may pass through the ice without cutting it. Investigate the phenomenon
  3. Sand: Dry sand is rather ‘soft’ to walk on when compared to damp sand. However, sand containing a significant amount of water becomes soft again. Investigate the parameters that affect the softness of sand.

Stage Two Problems

  1. Adhesive tape: Determine the force necessary to remove a piece of adhesive tape from a horizontal surface. Investigate the influence of relevant parameters.
  2. Slow descent: Design and make a device, using one sheet of A4 80 gram per square metre paper that will take the longest possible time to fall to the ground through a vertical distance of 2.5m. A small amount of glue may be used. Investigate the influence of the relevant parameters.
  3. Tipcat: Place a small wooden stick over the edge of a desk. Hit the end of the stick overhanging the table so that it flies away. How is the flight distance related to the relevant parameters? What is the condition for a maximum horizontal distance?
  4. Fingerprints: Fill a glass with a liquid and hold it in your hands. If you look from above at the inner walls of the glass, you will notice that the only thing visible through the walls is a very bright and clear image of patterns on your fingertips. Study and explain this phenomenon.
  5. Vikings: According to a legend, Vikings were able to navigate in an ocean even during overcast (dull) weather using tourmaline crystals. Study how it is possible to navigate using a polarising material. What is the accuracy of the method?

The team of three students need to do five of the 8 topics listed above.

Information session

An information session for interested teachers and students, and parents was held on Saturday, 20th March. The program included the following aspects:

  • Demonstration of the Stage One problems with brainstorming and general discussion of questions such as
    • What is the key property you are investigating and how do you measure it?
    • What factors could affect this property and how do you measure these?
    • What equipment will you need and how will you set it up?
    • What physics ideas might be needed to explain what is happening?
  • A Physics Phyte: What does it involve? What do the Reporter and the Opponent do?
  • Teacher’s Role: how do you motivate, support, supervise?
  • Competition Day: What’s it like?

The following notes from the information session will be of value.

Notes from the 2010 Information session 1.76 MB

The group brainstormed all three tasks considering: what is being investigated, how can it be measured, what factors might affect it, what equipment will be needed, etc. Notes were recorded by Milorad Cerovac, King David School.

Photo of diagram of a possible experimental set up for the Ice task. 49.1 kB
Photo of an actual experimental set up for the Ice task. 99.9 kB
Judging criteria used up to 2015 71.2 kB

Assessment criteria to be used by the judges for VYPT contests from the beginning until 2015. There is a separate criteria sheet for each of the roles of Reporter, and Opponent.


Teachers do not need to officially register school teams until the last day of term 3. Registration will be free. Schools need to provide the following to the AIP :

  • School’s Name.
  • Teacher’s name and full contact details.
  • The name of each school team and the names of the students in each team.

Schools considering entering next year are welcome as spectators, but they need to register as above, except indicating just the number of students coming.


The competition was held on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd December at PLC, Burwood Highway, Burwood. Nine teams competed in round robin of ‘Physics Phytes’ on the Thursday, with the best three teams competing in the finals on the Friday. The eliminated teams that scored > 90% of the average score of the finalists were awarded 3rd prize and each member of the teams received a copy of Jearl Walker’s ‘Flying Circus of Physics’.

The rules specify the winner of the final gets first prize and the other two teams are awarded second prize. However in the final the first two teams could not be separated and shared first prize.

  • 1st Prize: PLC Alpha: Jennifer Chen, Josephine Davies, Natasha Mohd Azri
  • 1st Prize: PLC Gamma: Stephanie See, Clare Thomas, Lai Kwan Soo
  • 2nd Prize: Donvale Christian College: Conrad Chan, Timothy Murray, Mae-Lee McIntosh

Each of the students received a copy of Jearl Walker’s book and a cheque. The amount for first prize was to be $200 for each of the three students in the winning team. In this case the amounts for 1st and 2nd were shared.

3rd Prize was Kew High School No 1 team, PLC Beta, King David School: Q Continuum. Other teams that participated were: Kew High School No 2 team, Western Heights Secondary College, King David School: Blueshifters, with team members each receiving a cheque.