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German Olympians win 1st place at European Physics Olympiad in Slovenia

May 25th, 2022

This year, after three years, the European Physics Olympiad was once again able to take place in person. From May 20th to 24th, 2022, 182 students from 37 countries came together in Ljubljana, Slovenia, to face the challenging experimental and theoretical tasks. The five German students showed outstanding performances and secured three gold, one silver and one bronze medal. This puts Germany in first place in the national rankings.

In addition to 30 European nations, guest teams from 7 countries outside Europe also took part in the 6th EuPhO. In total, 182 young people participated in the competition. The German national team of the EuPhO 2022 comprised the five best participants of the Physics Olympiad in Germany:

- Tim Enders, Goetheschule (Ilmenau)

- Théo Lequy, Werner-von-Siemens High School (Magdeburg)

- Finnley Paolella, Kronshagen High School (Schleswig-Holstein)

- Lukas Tyben, Gymnasium Nordhorn (Lower Saxony)

- Christian Vogel, Max Planck High School (Groß-Umstadt)


The German student team at the European Physics Olympiad 2022 in Ljubljana: from left to right Christian Vogel (bronze), Finnley Paolella (gold), Théo Lequy (gold), Tim Enders (gold), Lukas Tyben (silver).
However, the German team was able to fully convince with its performance and win five of the coveted medals. Théo Lequy achieved an outstanding 2nd place among all participants with 41.2 of 50 possible points and received one of the 12 gold medals awarded. He was closely followed by Tim Enders (3rd place) and Finnley Paolella (8th place), who were also awarded a gold medal. With his performance Lukas Tyben secured a silver medal and Christian Vogel a bronze medal. This is a strong performance by all team members, making Germany the best nation among all participating countries in terms of both points and medals. From a German point of view, the experiment went particularly well. The three best papers of the experimental exam were each written by German students and the prize for the best experiment went to Théo Lequy. The standard of the EuPhO tasks was somewhat lower this year than in previous years, but on average the Olympians still achieved only about 37% of the points possible.

With the exception of Finnley Paolella, all of them had already participated in last year's EuPhO and were thus able to benefit from their experience. In addition to the students, the delegation included team leaders Prof. Dr. Gunnar Friege (Leibniz University Hannover), Dr. Bastian Hacker (Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light, Erlangen) and Dr. Johannes Rothe (LMU Munich). Dr. Stefan Petersen (IPN, Kiel), the head of the Physics Olympiad in Germany, was involved as a member of the international academic committee, which was also supported by other former participants of the Physics Olympiad in Germany. In Ljubljana, the teams enjoyed a rich program with cultural highlights beyond physics as well as numerous opportunities to get in touch with young people from many other countries.

However, the experimental and theoretical tasks were at the heart of the competition. These were also very exciting in terms of content at this EuPhO and dealt in the theoretical exam with a cylinder oscillating in a narrow, liquid-filled vessel, thermal oscillations in a circuit and the motion of a dipole in a magnetic field. The experimental retreat was developed by the hosts in Slovenia and covered various physical aspects of illumination. The excellent preparation of the experiments by scientists from the University of Ljubljana should be emphasized here. The task texts and associated solutions are available in English on the competition website

A view of the exam hall at the EuPhO 2022 experimental retreat
The European Physics Olympiad (EuPhO) is a physics competition for school students from Europe and was held for the sixth time this year. The experimental and theoretical tasks of the competition demand a great deal of creativity from the participants in addition to physics knowledge. Countries from all over Europe but also guest teams from other continents take part in the EuPhO. As a rule, up to five Olympians from each country qualify for the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) via the national selection competitions. In Germany, this national competition is organized by the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN) in Kiel on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and in cooperation with the Ministries of Education and Cultural Affairs. A wide range of support services help participants and their teachers and motivate them to engage intensively with physics topics. Every year, around 1,000 students from all over Germany take part in the competition.

The organizers of this year's European Physics Olympiad deserve great appreciation for organizing the competition and heartfelt thanks for the time spent in Slovenia, which will certainly be long remembered by all participants. Next year, the EuPhO will be held in Hannover. The German organizing team will do its utmost to organize a competition that is also memorable in the best sense of the word and is looking forward to welcoming guests from all over Europe and beyond.

Dr. Stefan Petersen
Ph.: +49 (0)431 880-5120