The Young Physicists Tournament (YPT) was created as an alternative to traditional Olympiads in physics. While problems of IPhO have a certain answer (known in advance to the organizers) and should be solved in a reasonably short time, the IYPT tasks have no certain known solution and even the methods of approaching these problems are not evident.
In fact, secondary school students face scientific problems that require fully independent analysis, experimental investigation, theoretical and computational validation of obtained results.
The participants learn presenting and defending their ideas and participating in scientific discussions, called «Physics Fights».
In general, a «Physics Fight» is an analogy to a seminar or a scientific conference.
The Tournament is a tremendous opportunity for students to expand knowledge in physics, to gain experience of public speech, to learn more about the presentation techniques, but also to make acquaintances with other young people deeply interested in physics. The Tournament can help the students to effectively use their intellectual and communicational skills, which is crucially important for their future researches and diploma defense.
The interest in the Tournament remains for a long time. The «IYPT-veterans» are usually among leading students at their universities. Many international examples show that the former YPT participants are often involved in training new teams, actively help these teams in preparation and play important role in the ongoing development of YPT in their countries.
The International Young Physicists Tournament has a long history. The first Russian Tournament, Turnir Yunykh Fizikov, was held in 1979 in the Soviet Union by Evgeny Yunosov, who played a central role in the founding of this new competition. The сompetition received positive feedback from both secondary school students and scientific community and soon become known beyond Soviet boundaries. In 1988, Yunosov organized the first International Young Physicists Tournament attracting teams from Czechoslovakia, Poland and Soviet Union. Today, the IYPT is a prestigious annual intellectual competition that involves students from more than 20 countries.
By late 1990s and early 2000s, the leaders at IYPT were Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Belarus that enjoyed very active support from universities in the preparation of their National teams. These successful teams were trained in a good atmosphere of scientific and educational university-based associations and centres.
Recently, a cooperation of leading universities and secondary schools in Russia has led to such an organization in Russia, the POISK Centre.
«We felt a strong need in using completely new ways of training and supervising Russian teams at IYPT. By 2004, there was an urgent need in a university-based educative and research centre that would help to select and prepare a competitive team. We have to admit that the performances of certain Russian teams at recent IYPTs were incompatible with the scientific potential of our country and the role that Russia used to play in developing YPT as a new institution and a new type of competition. The POISK Centre […] hopes to implement many plans in providing professional, transparent, well-organized system of training Russian teams», said in 2004 Dr. Elena Lebedeva, the POISK Centre president.
Since 2004, the POISK Centre is remaining the university-based organization in Russia that is selecting, supervising and training the major National teams that represent the country at the International Young Physicists’ Tournament.
The team selected by POISK Centre has been a participant of IYPTs in 2004 (Brisbane, Australia), 2005 (Winterthur, Switzerland) and 2006 (Bratislava, Slovakia) with significant success, winning bronze medals twice. In May 2007, the POISK’s Russian team fought in the Finals, made a best report and won silver at the Austrian Young Physicists’ Tournament held in Leoben, Austria.