At its fourth participation in the International Championship of Physicists (IPT, English acronym), Brazil achieved its best result yet: climbing to the podium in second place in the 2021 competition, which ended in early July. Based at the University of Warsaw, Poland, but held remotely due to the pandemic, the event was attended by 12 countries and the Grand Final was disputed between Brazilian, Russian and Ukrainian university students. Russia scored the best result and Ukraine came in third.
Brazil’s performance was celebrated with excitement by organizing the tournament Brasileiro dos Físicos (or BPT, which means Championship of Brazilian Physicists), which serves as the national selection to determine the Brazilian representative at the IPT. “We, as a committee, are very excited about the result, especially since in four participations – 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 – Brazil has already reached two finals – 2018 and 2021,” said Mateos Azevedo, a member of the committee. From BPT, GALILEO.
In 2021, the responsibility fell to the team at the State University of Campinas (UNICamp), formed by Captain Felipe Mazzi, Maria Carolina Volpato, Leonardo Falabella, Anderson Volto, Ana Elisa Barrioni and Joao Pedro Minchillo led by Professors Leandro Tesler and Pierre-Louis Assisi. It was Unicamp’s first participation in an international tournament.
And they did their job very well: they repeated the 2018 achievement by reaching the final and overtaking that edition’s place, with the Federal University of ABC (UFABC) team securing bronze for Brazil. “This achievement is a reward for years of dedication and hard work on the part of the group of students from various courses who believed in the idea and mobilized themselves into an intense preparation,” says Unicamp Team Leader, Leandro Tesler, in the statement.
Created in 2009 in Ukraine, the International Physics Championship consists of a competition between students – undergraduates and masters – who are looking for solutions to physical problems that are little understood by the scientific community. One team presents a solution that is opposed by another, and finally a third group reviews the discussion and tries to piece together the arguments of both sides.
In this edition of IPT, for example, one issue that was raised was the bending motion that spaghetti acquires when placed in water. Participants were encouraged to investigate the dynamics of the shape and answer whether this phenomenon was present in other blocks, such as linguine, pattini, and even lasagna. The other 16 issues formulated by the organization can be accessed at The site does IP.
Forecasts for the coming years
With a second place finish in 2021, the expectation of the Brazilian physical championship is to make the national selectivity more diverse in order to increase the country’s competitive reach in upcoming international competitions. “So far, we’ve only had official participation in BPT from teams from the southeast, more specifically from São Paulo, but we know the potential that Brazil has,” Azevedo says.
At a time when science is increasingly valued, such tournaments are becoming more and more important. “We really believe in the potential this competition should offer to train full-fledged scientists, since it involves not only theoretical decisions, but experimental constructions, teamwork and scientific communication per se,” continues the Brazilian, a master’s student at McGill University, in Canada.
He invites all students, not just Physics, but Engineering, Mathematics and anyone interested in other courses: “The 4th edition of the BPT will take place this year or next year, online, and everyone is welcome to participate! Assemble a team at your university (public, private or technical education) and participate in the competition. To contact the National Committee, simply send an email to [email protected]
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