In recognition of the growing significance of physics in all fields of science and technology, and in the general education of young people, and with the aim of enhancing the development of international contacts in the field of school education in physics, an annual physics competition has been organised for secondary school students. The competition is called the International Physics Olympiad and is a competition between individuals.
The competition is organised by the Ministry of Education, the Physical Society or another appropriate institution of one of the participating countries on whose territory the competition is to be conducted. The organising country is obliged to ensure equal participation of all the delegations, and to invite teams from all those countries that participated during the last three years. Additionally, it has the right to invite other countries. The list of such new countries must be presented to Secretariat of the IPhOs (# 8) at least six months prior to the competition. Within two months the Secretariat has the right to remove, after consultations with the Advisory Committee (# 8), from the suggested list the teams that in opinion of Secretariat or Advisory Committee do not meet the criteria of participation in the IPhOs. The new countries not accepted by the Secretariat or Advisory Committee may, however, participate as “guest teams” but such participation does not create any commitments with respect to inviting these countries to the next competition(s).
No country may have its team excluded from participation on any political reasons resulting from political tensions, lack of diplomatic relations, lack of recognition of some country by the government of the organising country, imposed embargoes and similar reasons. When difficulties preclude formal invitation of the team representing a country students from such a country should be invited to participate as individuals.
The competition is conducted in the friendly atmosphere designed to promote future collaborations and to encourage the formation of friendship in the scientific community. Therefore all possible political tensions between the participants should not be reflected in any activity during the competition. Any political activity directed against any individuals or countries is strictly prohibited.
Each participating country shall send a delegation, normally consisting of five students (contestants) and two accompanying persons (delegation leaders) at most.
The contestants shall be students of general or technical secondary schools i.e. schools which cannot be considered technical colleges. Students who have finished their school examinations in the year of the competition can be members of the team as long as they have not commenced their university studies. The age of the contestants should not exceed twenty years on June 30th of the year of the competition.
The delegation leaders must be specialists in physics or physics teachers, capable of solving the problems of the competition competently. Each of them should be able to speak English.