The details of the preselection for 2018’s selection will be announced soon. To get an idea on what the preselection may involve, have a look at 2017’s rules below.

Rules of the preselection:

  •  Each team must complete a written report outlining the solution to one problem selected from a possible two (four, only if your team won a national selection). The selected problems are:
    • Lego Tower (number 3)
    • Tea with Honey (number 15)
    • Handy Glider (number 1 – only if your team won a national selection)
    • Light-driven Vehicle (number 10 – only if your team won a national selection)

    The complete description of these problems is as follows:

    1. Handy glider

    It is possible to make small gliders with paper and to make them fly for a very long time by putting your hand below the glider during flight. Explain the physics behind this phenomenon and describe the optimal set of parameters for the best control of the glider.

    2. Tea with honey

    Construct a device to continuously stir a cup of tea with a tea spoon of honey at the bottom. The device should be operated using a single 1.5V AA battery and the honey should be dissolved and uniformly distributed in the minimum possible time. Propose your own criterion for determining the homogeneity of the stirred solution. How will using the sugar instead of honey, or adding a slice of lemon to your tea influence the results?

    3. LEGO Tower

    A LEGO mold, water and gelatin can be used to produce jelly, or ‘gummy’ LEGO bricks. It is possible to build towers using these gummy LEGO bricks in the same way as can be achieved with their plastic counterparts. What is the maximum height of gummy LEGO tower that can be built and how does this depend on the concentration of gelatin in the bricks?

    4. Light-driven vehicle

    Build a toy car that is powered by an external light source. What is the maximum speed that the car can reach if it starts moving from rest? The light source cannot be moving with the car and is limited to 5 W of power consumption. What are the important parameters that influence the final speed of the car?


  •  The reports must be handled in a .pdf format, with the text arranged in a single or double columns and cannot exceed 5 pages (except the title page), including plots and/or pictures. The team is free to enclose its own experimental material (videos, computer programs, etc… all in total smaller than 10Mb or links to online material) and to cite it properly in the report.
  • The teams have until January 15th, 23h59 UTC to send their report only to (for anonymity reasons)
  • Each report will be judged on the basis of three main criteria: 1) does it give a plausible physical answer to the initial question, 2) is the approach innovative, and is it supported by experiment and/or theory, 3) has the problem been explored in sufficient depth, i.e. have all the possible approaches been considered. The form of the report (layout, phrasing, presentation) is also important. It should be written in a clear and concise manner.
  • Each report will be anonymised before being distributed amongst the jury members. To ease the anonymisation process, if unnecessary please avoid any explicit mention of your team’s university or origin, except on the title page. The qualified teams will be announced at the latest by January 22nd, 23h59 UTC.
  • Each jury member can grade all the reports except the ones from his/her own country’s teams, if any. Each report will be graded by the same number of jury members. The teams will be ranked according to their report and receive some feedback about their work. The ranking will serve as the basis for seeds in the tournament.

I remind you that this preselection process is free. The registration fees will have to be paid only by the teams qualified for the international competition, and will be due to the LOC by January 31st.

Example of preselection report:

Report 8