Share the stage with Nobel Prize winner Brian Schmidt:

AIP Congress Student Experiment Competition 2012

See High School Physics Experiment Competition 2013

The Australian Institute of Physics and the University of New South Wales invite enthusiastic high school physics students across Australia to participate in the AIP Congress Student Experiment Competition. The winning entry will be presented at the AIP national congress—just before Prof Schmidt's talk.


Conduct physics experiments to investigate a physical phenomenon of your choosing and report your findings to the AIP Congress hosted by UNSW in December 2012.

Suggested Experiments

  • Original Research, if you can think of a good question

Or, experiments to answer an interesting question of your own choosing. The following list is just to suggest that there are many such questions:

  • Why is the sky blue? (model experiments would be fine)
  • Why are the front brakes on cars bigger than the rear brakes? (model experiments would be fine)
  • What gain can be achieved with a simple acoustic telescope?
  • How much has the visible face of the moon changed/moved since Galileo? (Your observations)
  • How does a plane (or a bird or a bee) fly? (model experiments fine in all cases)
  • How does rotating a magnet about various axes, including that of symmetry, affect its field and the Faraday emfs produced?


  • Choose an experiment that can be done within a month or so
  • Choose an experiment for which equipment is readily available
  • You may seek guidance from a suitable supervisor (e.g. teacher or academic) for your experiment
  • Choose an interesting physical phenomenon
  • Judges will value, among other things: thoughtful experimental design and analysis, careful measurements, interesting questions, novelty of approach.


Participation is open to students in years 7 to 11 enrolled in high school across Australia.


Please register your interest here.

Paper Submission

You will need to submit a two-page report that includes an abstract, brief background, method, results and conclusions of the conducted physics experiment. Use the provided template and do not change layout or font sizes. Include tables and figures as necessary. Include a list of student participants (up to 5) in the project with their year and school. Acknowledge any significant help from outside sources.

Paper template can be downloaded here.

Paper Submission Date: November 15th, 2012. Submit paper entries to Shane Hengst.

Prize money and procedures

  • Winners will be awarded prizes from Prof. Brian Schmidt
  • The authors of all accepted papers will be asked to make a poster (size A1).
  • A representative of the team producing paper, judged to be the best, will be invited to give a talk at UNSW during the Australian Institute of Physics Congress. The talk will precede that by Prof Brian Schmidt. (The team will receive prize money of $1000, plus a contribution to travel expenses of the representative, if coming from interstate or country NSW).
  • All accepted entries will feature in a UNSW poster session and up to 10 runners-up will have their posters displayed at the national conference, with the two best posters receiving $500 each.
  • All entrants will be invited to the talk and poster sessions.


Date Item
October 15th 2012 Registration of Interest
November 15th 2012 Paper submission deadline
December 1st 2012 Students will be informed of their allocation
December 9-13th 2012 AIP Congress at University of New South Wales
December 12th 2012 Winner presentation and poster winners announced






  • Only a maximum of 5 students per project.
  • If you are selected for the oral presentation, only one representative of the team will talk.
  • The paper submission is limited to two-pages using the supplied template.
  • Open only to Year 7-11 students.
  • Final judging of prizes is by the judging panel, who reserve the right to refuse a submission and/or prize

Further information, please contact Shane Hengst.