The Science Olympiads have their roots in Central European school competitions. Once UNESCO and several other pioneers became involved, the number of participants and professions represented in the fields of science increased. A total of around 12,000 young people have taken part in the IPhO so far.
The first International Physics Olympiad was held in 1967. Switzerland has participated since 1995, with considerable success, winning 2 gold, 3 silver and 14 bronze medals, plus 35 honorable mentions over the past 20 years. In 2015, the five high school students was awarded two bronze medals and three honorable mentions.
Participants are chosen based on a national selection process comprising several rounds. In Switzerland and Liechtenstein this process is run by seven specialist associations (biology, chemistry, geography, informatics, mathematics, physics and philosophy), which together form the umbrella association of the Association of Swiss Scientific Olympiads (ASSO). The associations are funded through donations. Young people do not have to pay to participate in the Science Olympiads, and the association members work on a voluntary basis.
Students at secondary education II level are eligible to participate. Whereas the provision of broad-based support is the focus in the first round, targeted support is subsequently provided to young talent crucial to Swiss universities.
International Physics Olympiad
Association Swiss Physics Olympiad