Physics Unlimited's inaugural team-based Explorer Competition took place in November/December 2017.
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org the following information, with the subject line "2017 Explorer Competition: Team Info":
- The full names of your team members who contributed to the submission. We will double-check this with our records, but our goal is to make sure we list all members of your team exactly as you wish them to be listed on the corresponding certificate!
- A statement on whether or not you would like us to host your team members' names on our website in perpetuity as publicly available information, associated with your team name (alternatively, you may choose to remain publicly anonymous).
- (Optional) Your team photo as an attached file, along with a statement on whether or not you would like us to host it on our website in perpetuity as publicly available information, associated with your team name (alternatively, you may choose to let us make your team photo, if you send one in, accessible only to you through the profile section).
- The answer to the following question: "Would you like us to upload your original submission onto our website, to be publicly accessible from the following future directory: physicsu.org/explorer/2017/[your-team-name].pdf?"
- If and only if your team has been highlighted in either the gold, silver, or bronze color in the above documents: please list your full postal mailing address where you would like the physical team award to be sent.
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