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

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

Stage One Problems

  1. Electrical Resistance: How does the resistance of a wire change as the wire is stretched.
  2. Electro-oscillator: A mass is hung from the middle of a horizontal wire. When a current is passed through the wire, the mass may start to oscillate. Describe and explain this phenomenon.
  3. Bouncing drop: Investigate the motion of water droplets falling on a hydrophobic surface (e.g. coated with soot or teflon).

Files from the Information Session

Brainstorming Notes 47.1 kB

Notes on the three problems from the Information session held at Melbourne High School on the morning of Saturday, 26th March.

Variables and Methods for Problem No 3 159 kB

A powerpoint presentation on the bouncing drop problem prepared by Milorad Cerovac, King David School

Background Notes 168 kB

Information for teachers on the three problems. It contains possible questions that students could address, but what would not be of value to students, references to relevant articles in science journals.

A Quick Time video for Problem No 2 24.3 MB

The end of a laser pointer rests on the middle of the wire. As the wire moves the distant laser dot amplifies the movement. The video only shows the moving dot. A 23MB file.

High speed video of Bouncing Drop on a superhydrophobic surface 8.72 MB
An mp4 version of the video for Problem No 2 13 MB

This video has an icon in the middle, but it does not affect the image.

Research paper on Bouncing Drops

A paper by Bojan Durickovic and Kathleen Varland (University of Arizona, 2005) titled ‘Between bouncing and splashing: Water drops on a solid surface”, which describes their experimental set up as well as their results.

Article on Bouncing Drops from PhysicsWorld

Water droplets make an impact by Vance Bergeron and David Quere: PhysicsWorld 1/5/01. The physics of bouncing water droplets underlies a wide range of industrial applications from crop spraying to ink-jet printing, and continues to fascinate after 200 years of research.

Youtube video of the High speed video of Bouncing Drop on a superhydrophobic surface

Equipment: Problem No 3 on the bouncing drop is significantly enhanced by access to a high speed camera. Fortunately low cost high speed cameras for about $200 are coming on the market. Search for ‘Casio Exilim’. The video can then be analysed with Tracker. If the cost is prohibitive, consider a joint purchase with the PE Dept or a nearby school.

Stage Two Problems

  1. Moving cylinder: Place a sheet of paper on a horizontal table and put a cylindrical object (e.g. a pencil) on the paper. Pull the paper out. Observe and investigate the motion of the cylinder until it comes to rest.
  2. Astroblaster: When a large ball is dropped, with a smaller one stacked on top of it, onto a hard surface the smaller ball will often rise much higher than it would if it was dropped onto the same surface by itself, while the larger ball hardly bounces at all. Investigate this phenomenon and design a multiple-ball system, using up to 4 balls, that will reach the greatest elevation of the top ball.
  3. TV Controller: Rontgen discovered an unknown radiation, he called X- rays, while he was investigating the conduction of electricity by gases at low pressure. He thoroughly investigated the radiation, reporting on many different properties. A TV controller emits infrared radiation that controls the TV. What are the properties of this radiation.
  4. Polarising sticky tape: If white light is viewed through two polarising filters with a strip of transparent sticky tape placed between, the strip appears coloured. If several strips overlay each other a mosaic of colours appears. Investigate the phenomenon.
Stage 2 Topics for VYPT 2011 526 kB

This file includes the four additional topics for 2011 and a list of resources, suggested equipment and key questions for each topic.

Information session

An information session for interested teachers and students, and parents was held on a Saturday morning, 26th March at Melbourne High School. 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?


Teachers do not need to officially register school teams until the first day of term 4. Registration will be free. Schools need to provide the following to the AIP with an email subject heading, ‘Registration: VYPT’.

  • 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.


The competition was held on Thursday 1st December. The venue was to be Quantum Victoria, but it was not completed in time and the event was held at PLC. A round robin was held during the morning to identify the best two teams.

  • 1st Prize:Melbourne High School Beta: Matthew Lam, Charling Li
  • 2nd Prize: Melbourne High School Alpha: Toby Chen, Joash Arulprakasam

Each of the students received a copy of Jearl Walker’s book ‘Flying Circus of Physics’ and a cheque.

Other teams that participated were: three teams from Presbyterian Ladies College (PLC) and one team from the Academy of Mary Immaculate, with team members each receiving a cheque.

Powerpoints from the winning team:

Astroblaster Powerpoint 6.35 MB

Powerpoint for the topic ‘Astroblaster’ prepared by the team of Matthew Lam, Charling Li, Jasjit Manpotra from Melbourne High School as part of 2011 VYPT.

Polariser Powerpoint 4.68 MB

Powerpoint for the topic ‘Polariser’ prepared by the team of Matthew Lam, Charling Li, Jasjit Manpotra from Melbourne High School as part of 2011 VYPT.