Three student teams at International University from the space engineering program under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh city won prizes at the 10th University Physics Competition.
Representatives of teams from International University in Ho Chi Minh city have won prizes at the 10th University Physics Competition. Photo courtesy of the university
The prizes included one silver medal and two "potential" prizes.
The 10th University Physics Competition attracted 305 teams that were asked to resolve one of two problems: protecting travellers to Mars or designing a rollercoaster.
The University Physics Competition is an international contest for undergraduate students who work in teams of three at their home colleges and universities all over the world, and spend 48 hours in November analyzing a real-world scenario using the principles of physics, and writing a formal paper describing their work.
At the start of the contest, each team selects one of two problems which appear on the website. Problems are written to be accessible to students who have had at least one year of university physics but are designed to be conceptually rich and open-ended in nature, so that they are still challenging to senior level students.
The problems may contain incomplete information, so the students have to do background research and make some reasonable assumptions in order to proceed with the analysis. This means that there may not be one unambiguously correct method, but instead, there may be many useful approaches and approximations.
During the contest, teams may use books, journals, computers, the Internet, programs that they write, or any other nonliving resources, but they may not consult with any people outside of their team.
Teams must perform a theoretical analysis of the scenario presented using the principles of physics, and write a formal paper, in English, detailing their work. Each paper must begin with a 300-word summary, providing key details and results of the work performed. Each paper must include a list of references used, as well as make in-text citations to these resources.