Санкт-Петербургский государственный университет



April 12, 2008


The Russian team wins silver at the 10th AYPT (April 10—12, 2008) after a year-long preparation and selection at POISK Centre (Russia).


Image credit: Asscociation AYPT — Forschungsforum junger Physiker (April 12, 2008).

Left to right: Georg Hofferek (Austria), Dr. Leopold Mathelitsch (Austria), Ilya Martchenko (Russia), Alexei Schekochikhin (Russia), Anton Rykachevsky (Russia), Anton Kononov (Russia), Lev Spodyneyko (Russia), Polina Kakin (Russia), Dr. Elena Lebedeva (Russia), Mahdi Sparham (Iran), Dr. Mehdi Abbasi (Iran).


The competition in Leoben has attracted six Austrian teams and six international teams of Iran, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.

«I should note an extremely positive, motivated and friendly atmosphere at the competition. Everyone […] was just committed to physics», Russian team captain Alexei Schekochikhin said.

The Austrian Young Physicists’ Tournament (AYPT), held in Leoben (Styria), is supported by UNESCO and is officially recognized by International Organizing Committee of the International Young Physicists’ Tournament.

IYPT itself is among the most prestigious competitions in physics for secondary school students.

Structure and organization of the AYPT

The Austrian Young Physicists Tournament was launched in 1999 to select a national Austrian team for the IYPT.

As at otherYPT-relatedevents, the AYPT relies on the discussion of open-ended research tasks that are known in a year before the competition. The participants are expected to demonstrate comprehensive theoretical and experimental research projects, to defend these projects before a panel of Jurors, but also to make skeptical analysis of what their competitors have done. A discussion meeting among three or four teams is traditionally called Physics Fight.

«There were only 4 teams at the 1st AYPT, all of them from Austria. But already the next year it became international. We appreciate the participation of our friend guests very much. It has been a long tradition, especially among natural scientists and physicists, to establish an international community. This community we have here. And it is of special importance that this process starts already for people so young, as we have here, at this Tournament», said Dr. Leopold Mathelitsch, professor of physics at Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz and President of the AYPT.

The practice of inviting international teams, initially unexpected and questionable for some, entirely met the spirit of early IYPTs and the idea that its primary goal was not simply in selecting and announcing «the best team» but in promoting physics and giving the students a chance to discuss their research projects with international academic community.

The IYPT’s Secretary General Dr. Andrzej Nadolny called such a practice «an especial example of international cooperation in Central Europe».

By 2008, there have been about 10 different nations that have taken part in AYPT, including Czech Republic, Iran, Italy, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine.

According to a recently released statement, «there is no intention to make AYPT a rival to the IYPT», but it is very important that «the YPT associations of cooperating and befriended countries shall have the opportunity to send younger and less experienced students […] to an international competition, so that these students also get the benefit, reward and experience of participating in an international competition.»



Team leader and juror Ilya Martchenko is providing the Russian team with final advices on board flight KD 703. (April 10, 2008).


Georg Hofferek (Austria) is hosting the ceremony of drawing lots. (April 10, 2008).


Fight schedule as shown at the Opening Ceremony. (April 10, 2008).


Specifics of the Tournament

  • Virtually all jurors come from Austrian and international research institutions and universities;
  • The Organizing Committee maintains the entire transparency of the competition, even at the level of decision making;
  • Ranking tables, results of Finals and of Selective Fights, lists of Jury members are openly released by the Organizing Committee;
  • The review stage is allowed and attentively appreciated at the entire Tournament, including the Finals;
  • Policy regarding what teams are not allowed to join the tournament is openly released long before the event;
  • The Regulations of the AYPT entirely correspond the regulations of the IYPT, with minor modifications related to smaller number of teams;
  • Time management and calculation of scores at both Selective and Final Physics Fights are implemented with specialized software, IYPT Manager;
  • The entire competition is held in English language, even in the rooms where all three teams come from German-speaking countries;
  • At the 3rd Selective Round, every team may choose the problem that it would like to report.





Discussions on the future development of YPT educational system in Russia and worldwide

Extended discussions have been held between POISK Centre’s members and the IYPT international community, including life-long activists, jurors and organizers.

These discussions allowed not only to share opinions on pressing international issues, but also to reveal that the international community has a largely uniform point of view on what the YPT educational systems should look like, what are the educational and scientific cornerstones of the competition, and how they may be implemented in life and improved.

Besides that, the discussed topics included:

  • Early history of YPTs in Russia and the key role that Dr. Evgeny Yunosov played in introducing the YPT concept and launching both YPT (1979) and the International Young Physicists’ Tournament (1988);
  • Importance of revealing the archives of early IYPTs, including the lists of participating countries, problems and organizational details;
  • Importance of the review stage at anyYPT-relatedevent;
  • Importance of allowing students to regard their research projects from an international perspective, which is a must for today’s physicist. This includes language learning and a possibility to communicate with peers from other countries;
  • Importance of maintaining YPTs as entirely university-based events.


The team of Russia

  • Alexei Schekochikhin (Orel), captain
  • Polina Kakin (Peterhof)
  • Anton Kononov (Tikhvin)
  • Anton Rykachevsky (Saint Petersburg)
  • Lev Spodyneyko (Metallostroi)


  • Dr. Elena Lebedeva, Saint Petersburg State University
  • Ilya Martchenko, Saint Petersburg State University

Jurors at the Selective Fights (in alphabetical order)

This section is a subject to minor corrections

  • Christa Deinlein (Austria), AHS Theodor Kramer Straße, Vienna
  • Dr. Sonja Draxler (Austria), Universität Graz
  • Dr. Viktor Gröger (Austria), Universität Wien
  • Gregor Hlawacek (Austria), Montanuniversität Leoben
  • Dr. Heinz Kabelka (Austria), Universität Wien
  • Dr. Heinz Krenn (Austria), Universität Graz
  • Dr. František Kundracik (Slovakia), Comenius University in Bratislava
  • Dr. Heimo  G. Latal (Austria), Universität Graz
  • Andrii Lazariev (Ukraine), Université Claude Bernard-Lyon 1, France
  • Dr. Max  E. Lippitsch (Austria), Universität Graz
  • Ilya Martchenko (Russia), Saint Petersburg State University
  • Dr. Leopold Mathelitsch (Austria), Universität Graz
  • Dr. Andrzej Nadolny (Poland), Scientific Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Vienna, Austria
  • Dr. Balder Ortner (Austria), Montanuniversität Leoben
  • Dr. Brigitte Pagana-Hammer (Austria), Universität Wien
  • Dr. Mojca Pavlin (Slovenia), University of Ljubljana (???)
  • Dr. Peter Pippan (Austria), Montanuniversität Leoben
  • Dr. Martin Plesch (Slovakia), Institute of Physics, Slovak Academy of Sciences
  • J. Siess (???)
  • Katarina Susman (Slovenia), University of Ljubljana (???)
  • Erika Tilgner (Austria), HTL Spengergasse, Vienna
  • Dr. Heribert Tilgner (Austria), Universität Wien

Results after all three Selective Fights (April 12, 2008, by 13h00)

Place Team Total Score
1 Team Uni Wien 142.4
2 Pluskurs Physik Salzburg 141.7
3 Russia 138.9
4 Ukraine 138.5
5 Slovakia 134.1
6 Kepler Gymnasium Graz 131.8
7 Bischöfliches Gymnasium Graz 129.3
8 Switzerland 113.1
9 Iranian Elite Academy 109.1
10 Ursulinen Innsbruck 101.9
11 Turkey 91.3
12 Seebacher Gymnasium Graz 76.4


Russian, Turkish and Ukrainian teams after the 1st Selective Round. (April 11, 2008).



Anniversary cake at the barbecue party. (April 11, 2008).



A review is presented by the team of Keppler Gymnasium Graz at the 2nd Selective Round. (April 11, 2008).

















Jury at the Finals (in the order in which they were seated)

  • Dr. Leopold Mathelitsch (Austria), Universität Graz — Jury Chair
  • Dr. Heimo  G. Latal (Austria), Universität Graz
  • Dr. Max  E. Lippitsch (Austria), Universität Graz
  • Dr. Sonja Draxler (Austria), Universität Graz
  • Dr. Balder Ortner (Austria), Montanuniversität Leoben
  • Dr. Heinz Krenn (Austria), Universität Graz
  • Dr. Andrzej Nadolny (Poland), Scientific Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Vienna, Austria
  • Dr. Martin Plesch (Slovakia), Institute of Physics, Slovak Academy of Sciences
  • Andrii Lazariev (Ukraine), Université Claude Bernard-Lyon 1, France
  • Gregor Hlawacek (Austria), Montanuniversität Leoben



Teams and jurors gather at the Finals of the 10th AYPT. (April 12, 2008).


Anton Rykachevsky (Saint Petersburg, Russia) is opposing the Salzburg presentation on Problem No. 2 «Winged Seed». (April 12, 2008).


Alexei Schekochikhin (Orel, Russia) is preparing to make his report on the Problem No. 4 «Cymbal». (April 12, 2008).


Dr. Andrzej Nadolny (Poland) and the Russian team members Lev Spodyneyko (Metallostroi) and Alexei Schekochikhin (Orel) are discussing how to measure the temperature jump on a cymbal illuminated with an electronic flash. (April 12, 2008).


Results of the Final Fight (April 12, 2008, by 18h00)


Place Team Reporter Opponent Reviewer Total Score
1 Pluskurs Physik Salzburg 25.33 15.22 8.00 48.6
2 Team Uni Wien 23.67 16.56 6.28 46.5
3 Russia 24.67 13.56 6.50 44.7


«There are a lot of great teams from all over the world», Russian team captain Alexei Schekochinkin (Orel) says in an interview to Christina Lipp, Tv-1 Steiermark, the local Austrian television. (April 11, 2008).


Performance of the Russian team

The Russian team was the onlynon-Austrianteam that reached the Finals and ended as a silver winner of the competition, with teams of Uni Wien and Salzburg making a slight advance with a narrow margin.

«Our competitors, including IYPT winning teams of Slovakia, Austria and Ukraine, were very strong and have shown fantastic results. We appreciate our chance to meet these teams and wish them best of luck at the future competitions», Russian team member Anton Rykachevsky said.

The 2008 achievement is a result of POISK Centre’s long work in 2007—2008. A victory in such a high-level competition indicates that the Centre has a great potential in selecting and supervising YPT teams, when encouraging students to explore physics and learn languages.

POISK Centre is a Russian university-based organization founded to promote open intellectual scientific competitions and to provide support in professional supervising the participating Russian teams. The Centre’s teams represented Russia at the IYPTs in Australia (2004), Switzerland (2005) and Slovakia (2006), winning bronze medals twice and ranking as high as 4th overall in 2004. In 2007, the POISK Centre-selected Russian team made a best report at the Finals and won silver at the 9th AYPT.


The Russian Foundation for Education Support

The Russian participation at the 10th AYPT was sponsored by the Gazprom’s non-profitRussian Foundation for Education Support. Participants of the AYPT Russian team were selected among the members of the nationwide Gymnasium Union of Russia, that is promoted and supported by the Foundation.

The Gymnasium Union of Russia, an open network of Russian gymnasiums, lyceums and secondary schools, was introduced by the Russian education minister Andrei Fursenko on November 6, 2007, at a major conference in education held at Saint Petersburg State University. The collaborative initiatives of the Foundation and the Saint Petersburg State University are a part of the National Priority Projects and were directly supported by Russian Ministry of Education and Dmitry Medvedev, then vice-prime minister, and now the Russian president-elect.

A forward-looking joint statement covering the collaborative success at the 10th AYPT (2008) and the growing cooperation between the Foundation and the POISK Centre is expected to be released.

Conclusions and further work

«The AYPT gives to the students an opportunity of communication with their peers of different countries who share their genuine interest in science. It contributes to the broad promotion of YPT educational values and helps in maintaning motivation of those students who are engaged into research activities. Besides evident aspects of the AYPT, such as the expanding of international dialogue and cooperation, we should especially note an open and a very friendly atmosphere of the AYPT, which is in fact, the atmosphere that we are tending to maintain at our own events in Russia», Ilya Martchenko (POISK Centre) earlier wrote in an email to Georg Hofferek (Association AYPT-Forschungsforum junger Physiker).

«It was our sincere pleasure to host you and your team at the AYPT. We are already looking forward to continued cooperation», Georg Hofferek wrote.

POISK Centre now has a pleasant obligation to express its sincere gratitude to many professors, research fellows, postgraduate and undergraduate students for their ongoing invaluable assistance, participation in Jury, help in laboratory sessions, reviewing current research results and for many other activities: Dr. Robert Kolalis, Dr. Evgeniy Denisov, Dr. Boris Borisov, Dr. Dmitry Lisachenko, Dr. Alexey Pirozerskiy, Dmitry Martchenko, Andrey Uskov, Pavel Ulyanov, Arseny Lunyov, Ivan Yamschikov, Andrei Selivanov, Alexander Kanivets, Yury Grigoryev, Vladimir Spiridonov, Dmitry Efimov, Sergei Veresov, Ekaterina Mikhailova, Dmitry Luzin, and also to Dr. Sergey Pivovarov (Akademicheskaya Gimnaziya) who positively supported the preparation.

As in many participant countries, POISK Centre considers it very important to maintain the competitive spirit of participants with repeated open preparatory conferences, discussion tables, seminars and fights in English, because the background knowledge in physics, the consistence of research projects and the ability of holding a fluent English conversation are crucial to succeed at International Tournaments.

Such an approach is commonly supported by YPT associations worldwide. «Our competition brings many additional aspects [to traditional physics competitions]: team work, techniques of presentation, argumentation in English language. These are attributes claimed to be key competences from industry, from economy. But they are also demanded in the curricula in all countries, in all school systems. But it is not so easy to implement it in the actual and real teaching. And therefore such a competition is a very good way to train these competences», noted Dr. Leopold Mathelitsch, the AYPT president.





Related news

[May 5, 2007] The Russian team makes best report and wins silver at the AYPT (May3—5, 2007) after a year-long preparation at the POISK Centre (Russia).

[July 21, 2006] The Russian National team selected by POISK Centre wins bronze at the 19th International Young Physicists’ Tournament held in Bratislava, Slovakia (July5—12, 2006).

[July 21, 2005] The POISK Centre’s team has successfully represented Russia and received an Honorable Mention at the 18th International Young Physicists’ Tournament held in Winterthur, Switzerland (July14—21, 2005).

[July 1, 2004] The Russian team wins bronze medals and ties for the 4th place overall, showing an outstanding result at the 17th International Young Physicists’ Tournament held in Brisbane, Australia (June24-July 1, 2004).


External links

  • Video coverage of the 10th AYPT on Tv-1 Steiermark by Christina Lipp and Wolfgang Lackner, including an interview with Russian team captain Alexei Schekochikhin (*.wmv, 26 Mb, in German)
  • Official web-site of the AYPT (in English, German)

Ответственный за содержание: специалист управления по связям с общественностью С. С. Смирнова, s.s.smirnova@spbu.ru