Appendix to the Statutes of the International Physics Olympiads
THE SYLLABUS
General
Adopted in Portoroz, Yugoslavia, June 1985
Modified in: Warsaw, Poland, July 1989
Havana, Cuba, July 1991
a) The extensive use of the calculus (differentiation and integration) and the
use of complex numbers or solving differential equations should not be
required to solve the theoretical and practical problems.
b) Questions may contain concepts and phenomena not contained in the Syllabus
but sufficient information must be given in the questions so that
candidates without previous knowledge of these topics would not be at a
disadvantage.
c) Sophisticated practical equipment likely to be unfamiliar to the candidates
should not dominate a problem. If such devices are used then careful
instructions must be given to the candidates.
d) The original texts of the problems have to be set in the SI units.
A. Theoretical Part
Adopted in Portoroz, Yugoslavia, June 1985
Modified in Warsaw, Poland, July 1989
The first column contains the main entries while the second column contains
comments and remarks if necessary.
1. Mechanics
a) Foundation of kinematics of a point |Vector description of the position of
mass |the point mass, velocity and
|acceleration as vectors
b) Newton's laws, inertial systems |Problems may be set on changing mass
c) Closed and open systems, momentum |
and energy, work, power |
d) Conservation of energy, conservation |
of linear momentum, impulse |
e) Elastic forces, frictional forces, |Hooke's law, coefficient of friction
the law of gravitation, potential |(F/R = const), frictional forces
energy and work in a gravitational |static and kinetic, choice of zero of
field |potential energy
f) Centripetal acceleration, Kepler's |
laws |
2. Mechanics of Rigid Bodies
a) Statics, center of mass, torque |Couples, conditions of equilibrium of
|bodies
b) Motion of rigid bodies, translation, |Conservation of angular momentum
rotation, angular velocity, angular |about fixed axis only
acceleration, conservation of |
angular momentum |
c) External and internal forces, |Parallel axes theorem (Steiner's
equation of motion of a rigid body |theorem), additivity of the moment of
around the fixed axis, moment of |inertia
inertia, kinetic energy of a rotating|
body |
d) Accelerated reference systems, |Knowledge of the Coriolis force
inertial forces |formula is not required
3. Hydromechanics
No specific questions will be set on this but students would be expected
to know the elementary concepts of pressure, buoyancy and the continuity law.
4. Thermodynamics and Molecular Physics
a) Internal energy, work and heat, |Thermal equilibrium, quantities
first and second laws of |depending on state and quantities
thermodynamics |depending on process
b) Model of a perfect gas, pressure and |Also molecular approach to such
molecular kinetic energy, Avogadro's |simple phenomena in liquids and
number, equation of state of a |solids as boiling, melting etc.
perfect gas, absolute temperature |
c) Work done by an expanding gas |Proof of the equation of the
limited to isothermal and adiabatic |adiabatic process is not required
processes |
d) The Carnot cycle, thermodynamic |Entropy as a path independent
efficiency, reversible and |function, entropy changes and
irreversible processes, entropy |reversibility, quasistatic processes
(statistical approach), Boltzmann |
factor |
5. Oscillations and waves
a) Harmonic oscillations, equation of |Solution of the equation for harmonic
harmonic oscillation |motion, attenuation and resonance -
|qualitatively
b) Harmonic waves, propagation of |Displacement in a progressive wave
waves, transverse and longitudinal |and understanding of graphical
waves, linear polarization, the |representation of the wave,
classical Doppler effect, sound |measurements of velocity of sound and
waves |light, Doppler effect in one
|dimension only, propagation of waves
|in homogeneous and isotropic media,
|reflection and refraction, Fermat's
|principle
c) Superposition of harmonic waves, |Realization that intensity of wave is
coherent waves, interference, beats, |proportional to the square of its
standing waves |amplitude. Fourier analysis is not
|required but candidates should have
|some understanding that complex waves
|can be made from addition of simple
|sinusoidal waves of different
|frequencies. Interference due to thin
|films and other simple systems (final
|formulae are not required),
|superposition of waves from secondary
|sources (diffraction)
6. Electric Charge and Electric Field
a) Conservation of charge, Coulomb's |
law |
b) Electric field, potential, Gauss' |Gauss' law confined to simple
law |symmetric systems like sphere,
|cylinder, plate etc., electric dipole
|moment
c) Capacitors, capacitance, dielectric |
constant, energy density of electric |
field |
7. Current and Magnetic Field
a) Current, resistance, internal |Simple cases of circuits containing
resistance of source, Ohm's law, |non-ohmic devices with known V-I
Kirchhoff's laws, work and power of |characteristics
direct and alternating currents, |
Joule's law |
b) Magnetic field (B) of a current, |Particles in a magnetic field, simple
current in a magnetic field, |applications like cyclotron,
Lorentz force |magnetic dipole moment
c) Ampere's law |Magnetic field of simple symmetric
|systems like straight wire, circular
|loop and long solenoid
d) Law of electromagnetic induction, |
magnetic flux, Lenz's law, |
self-induction, inductance, |
permeability, energy density of |
magnetic field |
e) Alternating current, resistors, |Simple AC-circuits, time constants,
inductors and capacitors in |final formulae for parameters of
AC-circuits, voltage and current |concrete resonance circuits are not
(parallel and series) resonances |required
8. Electromagnetic waves
a) Oscillatory circuit, frequency of |
oscillations, generation by feedback |
and resonance |
b) Wave optics, diffraction from one |
and two slits, diffraction grating, |
resolving power of a grating, Bragg |
reflection, |
c) Dispersion and diffraction spectra, |
line spectra of gases |
d) Electromagnetic waves as transverse |Superposition of polarized waves
waves, polarization by reflection, |
polarizers |
e) Resolving power of imaging systems |
f) Black body, Stefan-Boltzmanns law |Planck's formula is not required
9. Quantum Physics
a) Photoelectric effect, energy and |Einstein's formula is required
impulse of the photon |
b) De Broglie wavelength, Heisenberg's |
uncertainty principle |
10. Relativity
a) Principle of relativity, addition of |
velocities, relativistic Doppler |
effect |
b) Relativistic equation of motion, |
momentum, energy, relation between |
energy and mass, conservation of |
energy and momentum |
11. Matter
a) Simple applications of the Bragg |
equation |
b) Energy levels of atoms and molecules |
(qualitatively), emission, |
absorption, spectrum of hydrogenlike |
atoms |
c) Energy levels of nuclei |
(qualitatively), alpha-, beta- and |
gamma-decays, absorption of |
radiation, halflife and exponential |
decay, components of nuclei, mass |
defect, nuclear reactions |
B. Practical Part
(Adopted in London-Harrow, United Kingdom, July 1986)
The Theoretical Part of the Syllabus provides the basis for all the
experimental problems. The experimental problems given in the experimental
contest should contain measurements.
Additional requirements:
1. Candidates must be aware that instruments affect measurements.
2. Knowledge of the most common experimental techniques for measuring physical
quantities mentioned in Part A.
3. Knowledge of commonly used simple laboratory instruments and devices such
as calipers, thermometers, simple volt-, ohm- and ammeters, potentiometers,
diodes, transistors, simple optical devices and so on.
4. Ability to use, with the help of proper instruction, some sophisticated
instruments and devices such as double-beam oscilloscope, counter,
ratemeter, signal and function generators, analog-to-digital converter
connected to a computer, amplifier, integrator, differentiator, power
supply, universal (analog and digital) volt-, ohm- and ammeters.
5. Proper identification of error sources and estimation of their influence on
the final result(s).
6. Absolute and relative errors, accuracy of measuring instruments, error of a
single measurement, error of a series of measurements, error of a quantity
given as a function of measured quantities.
7. Transformation of a dependence to the linear form by appropriate choice of
variables and fitting a straight line to experimental points.
8. Proper use of the graph paper with different scales (for example polar and
logarithmic papers).
9. Correct rounding off and expressing the final result(s) and error(s) with
correct number of significant digits.
10. Standard knowledge of safety in laboratory work. (Nevertheless, if the
experimental set-up contains any safety hazards the appropriate warnings
should be included into the text of the problem.)