Author Archives: phyadmin

2018 Regional Competition

Congratulations to all teams who competed in the 2018 regional NZYPT competition. The top 3 teams in each region were:

1st = ACG Parnell College 1
2nd = ACG Parnell College 2
3rd = Auckland Grammar School 1

1st = Wellington High School A
2nd = Onslow
3rd = Wellington High School B

1st = Burnside High School
2nd = Riccarton High School B
3rd = Riccarton High School A

The NZ finals take place on Saturday 24th of March at the University of Canterbury with 9 teams competing. The top 2 schools from the Christchurch and Wellington regions, and the top 5 schools from the Auckland region will be competing. These schools are:

  • ACG Parnell College
  • Auckland Grammar School
  • St Cuthbert’s College
  • Kristin School
  • Wellington High School
  • Onslow College
  • Burnside High School
  • Riccarton High School


ACG Parnell 1 – 1st in Auckland

Wellington High School and Onslow College

Burnside High School – 1st in Christchurch

2018 Tournament Sign-Up

Use this form to register your team/s for the 2018 New Zealand Young Physicists’ Tournament regional competition on Saturday March 10th in either Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.

Registration Form

If you are entering more than one team please complete a separate form for each team.
Early bird registration ($105 per team) closes Wednesday December 6th 2017. Full registration ($180 per team) closes Friday February 16th 2018. Full team details are required by Friday February 23rd 2018.
You will be sent an invoice for the registration fee.

Any queries please contact

NZYPT Problems for 2018

1. Invent Yourself

Construct a simple seismograph that amplifies a local disturbance by mechanical, optical or electrical methods. Determine the typical response curve of your device and investigate the parameters of the damping constant. What is the maximum amplification that you can achieve?  Invent yourself

2. Heron’s Fountain

Construct a Heron’s fountain and explain how it works. Investigate how the relevant parameters affect the height of the water jet.

3. Azimuthal-Radial Pendulum

Fix one end of a horizontal elastic rod to a rigid stand. Support the other end of the rod with a taut string to avoid vertical deflection and suspend a bob from it on another string (see figure). In the resulting pendulum the radial oscillations (parallel to the rod) can spontaneously convert into azimuthal oscillations (perpendicular to the rod) and vice versa. Investigate the phenomenon.

4. Water Bottle

The current craze of water bottle flipping involves launching a partially filled plastic bottle into the air so that it performs a somersault before landing on a horizontal surface in a stable, upright position. Investigate the phenomenon and determine the parameters that will result in a successful flip.

 5. Weighing Time

It is commonly known that an hourglass changes its weight (as measured by a scale) while flowing. Investigate this phenomenon.

6. Drinking Straw

When a drinking straw is placed in a glass of carbonated drink, it can rise up, sometimes toppling over the edge of the glass. Investigate and explain the motion of the straw and determine the conditions under which the straw will topple.

7. Dancing Coin

Take a strongly cooled bottle and put a coin on its neck. Over time you will hear a noise and see movements of the coin. Explain this phenomenon and investigate how the relevant parameters affect the dance.

Download the problem list here: NZYPT Problem List 2018


IYPT 2017 Singapore

The New Zealand IYPT team achieved 5th place in the world and the top silver medal position.

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The New Zealand IYPT team in 2017 is comprised of Isobel Bremner (Onslow College), Eric Caufmann (Hamilton Boys High School), Jonathan Chan (Auckland Grammar School) , Finnegan Clapcott Messerli (Onslow College) and captain of the team Otis Rea (Wellington High School).
Team leader/ mentors : Gavin Jennings, Kent Hogan, Paul Gunn, Kerry Parker and Susan Napier.

The training camps in held for the team in Wellington and Auckland provided excellent preparation for them prior to departure for Singapore. The students in the team all managed to radically improve the standard of their solutions to the international level ready for the competition in Singapore. The team arrived in Singapore and were ready to take on the world.

The team and organisers would like to thank all of the supporters for their help again making this another very successful year.
In particular thanks to :
The Royal Society and Debbie Woodall, Auckland Grammar School, Onslow College, Wellington High Schoool, Riccarton High School, Hamilton Boys High School, Westlake Girls High School, The University of Auckland, The Institute of Physics, Electrix, Warpspeed computers, Victoria University of Wellington, The MacDiarmid Institute and The University of Canterbury along with many past IYPT participants and parents.

2017 New Zealand IYPT Finals

The NZ finals took place on Saturday 25th of March at the University of Canterbury. Congratulations to all participants and good luck to the 9 individuals who were chosen for the NZ selection squad. They will present their new problem on Saturday 8th of April with the aim of gaining a place on the New Zealand team which will compete in Singapore in July.

The placings for the NZ finals were as follows:

1st = Onslow College
2nd = Wellington High School
3rd = Auckland Grammar School
4th = ACG Parnell College
5th = Riccarton High School
6th = Rangi Ruru Girls School

1st Place - Onslow College

1st Place – Onslow College

2nd place - Wellington High School

2nd Place – Wellington High School

3rd Place - Auckland Grammar School

3rd Place – Auckland Grammar School

NZ Selection Squad

NZ Selection Squad

Prime Ministers Future Scientist Prize

Congratulations to former New Zealand IYPT representative Catherine Pot from Onslow College, Wellington who was awarded the 2016 Prime Minister’s Future Scientist Prize.

Catherine Pot, Rt Hon Bill English. WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - March 21: Prime Ministers Science Prizes March 21, 2017 Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Mark Tantrum /

Catherine Pot, Rt Hon Bill English. WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – March 21: Prime Ministers Science Prizes March 21, 2017 Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Mark Tantrum /

NZ Problems 2017

The 7 problems for the NZYPT competition in 2017 are :

1. Invent Yourself
Construct a passive device that will provide safe landing for an uncooked hen’s egg when dropped onto a hard surface from a fixed height of 2.5 m. The device must fall together with the egg. What is the smallest size of the device you can achieve?

2. Balloon Airhorn
A simple airhorn can be constructed by stretching a balloon over the opening of a small container or cup with a tube through the other end (see Figure). Blowing through a small hole in the side of the container can produce a sound. Investigate how relevant parameters affect the sound.

3. Single Lens Telescope
A telescope can be built using a single lens, provided that a small aperture is used instead of an eyepiece. How do the parameters of the lens and the hole influence the image (e.g. magnification, sharpness and brightness)?

4. Fast Chain
A chain consisting of wooden blocks inclined relative to the vertical and connected by two threads (see Figure) is suspended vertically and then released. Compared to free fall, the chain falls faster when it is dropped onto a horizontal surface. Explain this phenomenon and investigate how the relevant parameters affect the motion.

5. Resonating Glass
A wine glass partially filled with liquid will resonate when exposed to the sound from a loudspeaker. Investigate how the phenomenon depends on various parameters.

6. Gee -Haw Whammy Diddle
A gee-haw whammy diddle is a mechanical toy consisting of a simple wooden stick and a second stick that is made up of a series of notches with a propeller at its end. When the wooden stick is pulled over the notches, the propeller starts to rotate. Explain this phenomenon and investigate the relevant parameters.

7. Vacuum Bazooka
A ‘vacuum bazooka’ can be built with a simple plastic pipe, a light projectile, and a vacuum cleaner. Build such a device and maximise the muzzle velocity.

Full Details Here

New Zealand Young Physicists win silver medals in IYPT 2016.

New Zealand Young Physicists’ Team 2016
Photo from our left to right are

Sang Wook Kim – Auckland Grammar School
Carlos Aguilera Cortes – Auckland Grammar School
Byung Hoon Cho – Auckland Grammar School
Jack Tregidga – Wellington High School
Catherine Pot – Onslow College

Report from the International Young Physicists’ Tournament (IYPT 2016) held in Yekaterinburg (Russia) from the 26th June to 5th July 2016.

IYPT (The World Cup of Physics) 2016 – saw students from 29 countries around the world gather to debate their solutions to the 17 open ended problems set for the tournament. The students had carried out both theoretical and practical research to explain the phenomena. The New Zealand students had all participated in the NZYPT regional tournaments (Auckland or Wellington or Christchurch) and the national NZYPT tournament (Auckland) before gaining selection to the initial NZ squad and the final international New Zealand team. They qualified through competition between the other members of the squad and attended two training camps held in Auckland in the weeks before the tournament in Russia.

The final New Zealand team was composed of the following five students :
Byung Hoon Cho (Captain) Auckland Grammar School
Carlos Aguilera Cortes Auckland Grammar School
Sang Wook Kim Auckland Grammar School
Catherine Pot Onslow College
Jack Tregidga Wellington High School

The student team was accompanied by Gavin Jennings (Auckland Grammar School), Kent Hogan (Onslow College) and Sue Napier (Riccarton High School) who were all team mentors, trainers and acted as international judges throughout the New Zealand and international tournaments.

The IYPT has five rounds of competition between teams drawn by ballot. The students compete against other countries in structured debates called Physics Fights. Each fight has three components. A reporter giving his/her solution to the problem. An opponent to check and clarify the physics as well as point out the strengths and weaknesses of the report. A reviewer to prioritise the report and opposition and point out any errors they observe.

The performance of each component is marked by international judges and scaled (x3 for the report, x2 for the opposition and x1 for the review) to obtain a total score for each team.

The first round fight saw the NZ team drawn against the toughest of opposition – Singapore – who were the tournament champions last year.
The scores for NZ’s first fight were : Singapore 43.6 (winner) vs NZ 38.0 vs Austria 33.3
This placed the NZ team in 6th place with 38.0 points at the end of round 1.
Fight 1 details:
Report : Sang Wook Kim reported his solution to Ultrahydrophobic water scoring 18.0 points
Oppose : Carlos Aguilera Cortes opposed Austria’s solution to Rolling on a disc and scored 12.75 points
Review : Sang Wook Kim reviewed Singapore’s solution to Hot water fountain scoring 7.25 points

The 2nd round scores for NZ’s fight were NZ 37.9 (winner) vs UK 35.1 vs Iran 28.8 vs Canada 23.7
This placed the NZ team in 7th place overall with 75.9 points at the end of round 2.
Fight 2 details:
Report : Byung Hoon Cho presented his solution to Paper vice and scored 18.0 points
Oppose : Jack Tregidga scored 13.0 points in opposition to Canada’s solution to Super ball.
Review : Catherine Pot scored 6.9 points reviewing the UK’s solution to Water waves.

The 3rd round scores for NZ’s fight were NZ 37.7 (winner) vs Australia 30.7 vs USA 23.4
The NZ team were placed 6th with 113.6 points at the end of round 3.
Fight 3 details:
Report : Byung Hoon Cho scored 18.3 points with is solution to Invent yourself – a Random number generator
Oppose : Carlos Aguilera Cortes scored 12.6 points vs Australia’s solution to Magnetic train
Review : Jack Tregidga scored points 6.80 vs the USA’s solution to Sensitive flame.

The 4th round scores for NZ’s fight were Korea 39.1 (winner) vs Ukraine 37.3 vs New Zealand 32.7
The NZ team were placed 7th overall with 146.3 points at the end of round 4.
Fight 4 details:
Report : Carlos Aguilera Cortes presented his solution to Frisbee vortices and scored 12.9 points
Oppose : Jack Tregidga opposed Korea’s solution to Contactless calliper and scored 12.6 points
Review : Carlos Aguilera Cortes scored 7.2 points vs Ukraine’s Rolling on a disc.

The final round was going to be a hard one to win since the Swiss team were in 3rd place and heading for the world finals of the event 
The 5th and final round saw the team gain their highest score of the tournament to finish up in 7th place out of the 29 countries on 184.4 points. This makes them silver medals winners !
The 5th round scores were : New Zealand 38.1 (winner) vs Switzerland 37.4 vs Georgia 25.2
Fight 5 details:
Report Catherine Pot presented her solution to the Van der Pauw Method scoring 18.3 points
Oppose Jack Tregidga opposed Switzerland’s Light Rings solution and scored 12.6 points
Review Sang Wook Kim reviewed Georgia’s solution to Ultrahydrophobic Water scoring 7.2 points.

The placing for the top 10 teams at the end of the tournament were:
1. Singapore 2. Germany 3. Switzerland 4. Chinese Taipei 5. Korea
6. Slovakia 7. New Zealand 8. China 9. Hungary 10. Ukraine

This is another great result for the New Zealand team in the 29 country international tournament.
UK 11th and Australia 17th were other notable results 

The success of the team would not have been possible without the efforts of Kent Hogan, Sue Napier, Kerry Parker (Wellington High School) and Gavin Jennings in mentoring and supporting the practical work of the students over the last six months.

Report by Gavin Jennings
Chairman of NZYPT.

2016 NZYPT Regional Winners

Congratulations to all teams who competed in the 2016 NZYPT competition the top 3 teams in each region were:

1st = Auckland Grammar School 1
2nd = Auckland Grammar School 2
3rd = ACG Parnell College 2

1st = Onslow
2nd = Wellington High School 1
3rd = Wellington High School 2

1st = Burnside B
2nd = Riccarton B
3rd = Christchurch Girls

The NZ finals take place on Saturday 19th of March at ACG Parnell College with the top two teams in each region competing.

Wellington Winners
Christchurch 1st - Burnside B
Christchurch 2nd - Riccarton B
Christchurch 3rd - Christchurch Girls