× Judging of the 2018 Explorer Competition has completed. Both the QM and SM sections have been graded, and the results are available on this page (please see below). Please follow the instructions to receive your team's score breakdown and comments from the judges, along with a relevant certificate. We thank all participants and wish continued success to all teams!

2018 Explorer

Physics Unlimited's 2018 Explorer Competition consisted of a two-part open-ended assignment that took place in November 2018.


Scores and ranking


Important instructions on receiving awards:
Even if you have already done the following for QM part and have also submitted SM part, please e-mail us at directors@physicsu.org with your team name in the subject line and mentioning QM or SM in the body to receive your team's score breakdown of the relevant part and comments from the judges, along with a certificate of participation. We will respond to you with a request to re-confirm the order of names on the relevant assignment before issuing award certificates for medalists and honorable mentions.

The assignment contains two separate sections: one section on quantum mechanics and another on statistical mechanics. Teams may complete both sections or choose to complete only one, as is specified in the grading section in the .pdf instructions. For successful completion of both sections, we recommend that teams set aside at least 20 hours of time. Please refer to the submission explanation in the assignment packet for details on both formatting and the submission process.
Note: in addition to these instructions, beginning this year there is a nominal $10 per team participation fee (regardless of whether you worked on one or both parts) due at the time of your first (or only) section's submission. This fee is necessary to offset some costs of maintaining our operations. Last year's medalist teams are exempt from the participation fee. For everyone else, you may pay the fee or submit PhysiKarma points in lieu of the fee. Please refer to the instructions below for an easy way to exchange the fee for PhysiKarma.

The two sections were due according to the following schedule:
Quantum Mechanics: due Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST
Statistical Mechanics: due Friday, November 30, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST

For any content-related questions during the competition, competitors may use the Piazza platform here. We wish all teams the best, and most importantly we hope it serves as an enriching experience!

PhysiKarma submission
The following describes how to substitute your team's nominal $10 fee with PhysiKarma points, stemming from our collaboration with Prof. Po-Shen Loh of expii. We are shortening instructions to these easy steps:
(1) create an account on the Expii.com website,
(2) e-mail directors@physicsu.org all your team members' user profile links, which have format https://www.expii.com/user/N, in one e-mail message with the subject line "Explorer Competition - PhysiKarma - Team Name", substituting Team Name with your actual team name,
(3) contribute as much content as you'd like to the Physics section before the end of the day on Sunday, December 9, 2018.
We'll calculate the number of contributions your team made, which will equal the #physikarma you can use in lieu of the team participation fee using 2M=$1, where M is the number of people on the team, e.g. a team of 4 people needs to make 80 contributions to fully cover the fee, but you may cover any fraction of it based on the equivalence formula.

Submission stats
We received a total of 83 final team submissions from teams across the world. Each team was comprised of up to a total of 6 high school students.
Physics Unlimited's inaugural team-based Explorer Competition took place in November/December 2017.
Please see this archived page to view the assignments and results from that event.

Please see this Explorer Competition root page to view the assignments and results from previous years.