Explorer Competition

Physics Unlimited's inaugural team-based Explorer Competition took place in November/December 2017.

Assignment
Competitors were given one to two weeks to submit their solutions to one or both independent parts of this year's assignment. The two research-based topics were (1) Tidal Heating and (2) Relativistic Electrodynamics. The assignment can be viewed as a PDF document here.

Submission stats
We received a total of 80 submissions (!) from teams located in over a dozen countries (counting each team's work on one of the two optional topics as a separate submission). Each team was comprised of up to a total of 6 high school students. The quality of work done by many teams was exceptionally high. Several teams submitted reports that could very likely be published as papers in a scientific journal. The number of pages in many submissions, often typed in LaTeX, exceeded 20-30.
To summarize, the judges were very pleasantly surprised by the level of skills shown here, and we are confident that most participants, whether or not they were awarded a prize, will find success in their future academic careers.

Results
Total scores were tallied by adding the points received by teams on each subsection; a detailed breakdown of the points is available in this three-sheet Excel document.
Lists of teams ranked by the total number of points received on each of the two parts, including their respective awards, if any, are available in the following two PDF files: Kinds of prizes
Please note that in addition to the conventional gold, silver, and bronze team medalist awards, and the honorable mention certificates, there are also two subjective awards for each part: the most elegant solution and the most creative solution. These certificates will be given to teams judged to have used a particularly interesting, unique, or compact solution on one of the problems. Recipients of both of these types of awards are also listed in these files.

When will the prizes be awarded?
We anticipate mailing out and e-mailing the respective awards or certificates in February 2018. If you are the manager of a team who has been awarded one of the listed prizes/certificates, we request you to please e-mail us at directors@physicsu.org the following information, with the subject line "2017 Explorer Competition: Team Info": We hope you have both enjoyed and were challenged by the Explorer Competition, and we encourage you to participate in our other recurring events, such as the academically rewarding PhysiKarma initiative. Finally, we would like to extend huge thanks to this year's judges, Robert-Iulian Raveanu and Malin Stanescu, for their tireless efforts in grading all of your works.

Best of luck in your academic pursuits!
Physics Unlimited Organizers