Students of the UW Faculty of Physics ranked as Gold Medal Winners in the University Physics Competition 2022. The contest was attended by 417 teams from research centres all over the world, including 11 teams from the Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw. Among the UW students are also winners of 5 silver and 2 brown medals.

The University Physics Competition is an international contest for undergraduate students who have had at least one year of university physics. At the beginning of the contest each team selects one of two problems. The problems may contain incomplete information so background research and reasonable assumptions are necessary for the final analysis. To detail their work, the theoretical analysis must be presented in a formal paper, in English, within 48 hours. The contest took place at the beginning of November 2022 while its results were released on 17th January.


Deflecting an Asteroid

The first problem was dealing with an asteroid with a diameter of 100 metres on a trajectory to directly impact the Earth. Considering both fuel and spacecraft, the teams had to calculate the time the spacecraft needed to hit the asteroid before the Earth impact. For this problem, the Gold Medal Winning Team was from the UW Faculty of Physics: Jan Dobrakowski, Wojciech Śmiałek, and Ignacy Stachura.


FIFA Penalty Kicks

Another problem referred to the game of FIFA football. When a penalty kick is taken, one player takes a single shot at the goal, which is only defended by the opposing team’s goalkeeper. To avoid the goalkeeper, the shooting player often aims for an upper corner of the goal. The contestants had to figure out initial ball velocities and spins for a successful shot to an upper corner from the penalty mark, as well as calculate initial ball velocity and spin for the best chance of avoiding the goalkeeper and make the goal.


It is already seventh consecutive year that students of the University of Warsaw take part in the University Physics Competition. The UPC work is coordinated by Paweł Sidorczak, a physics student with four-year experience in the organisation of the UPC at the UW.


More information (in Polish) is available on the UW Faculty of Physics’ website >>