About the Swiss Selection

The Swiss Selection for IPT 2019 will happen on December, 16th at the University of Geneva (this was modified to accomodate the registered teams). The deadline for registering a team is now passed.

Following the format of the international competition, the participating teams have to work in advance on three problems among the five selected from the official 2019 problems list. They must be able to present a (possibly partial) solution to one of the problem and defend it against other participants and jury members. Participants must also be able to oppose or review two more, hence the need to work on a total of three problems.

The best solutions mix theoretical models and experimental measurements that, hopefully, match !

For more details about the principles of the competition, see the IPT portal.

The two best teams, according to the jury grades, will be qualified for the international final that will be held in April 2019 at EPFL.

Problems of the Swiss Selection

These five problems are taken from the official IPT 2019 Problem List.

1. Tesla coil engine

When a thin metal wire is placed on top of a Tesla coil, the wire shoots off sparks from  its ends and acquires a rotational motion, as if propelled by the sparks.

Explain the phenomenon. Optimize the electrical and mechanical part of the setup to obtain the maximum rotational speed. What is the efficiency of such an engine compared with conventional electric engines?


5. Water dancing ball

When a ball lying on a hard and flat surface is hit by a jet of water that falls perpendicular to the surface, it may start to oscillate. Investigate how the oscillations depend on the relevant parameters.


6. Broken pencils

It is universally believed that the fall of a pencil leads to the breakage of its graphite rod. What is the probability of fracture? How does this probability depend on the height of the fall and the length of the pencil? Propose an effective non-invasive technique to test whether the rod of a pencil is damaged.


12. Jet charged!

With charged rods or balloons one can make a fine water jet bend. Study the jet trajectory. What is the smallest radius of curvature of the water jet that can be achieved? Are loops or helices possible?


16. Camera inception

If you project in real time what a camera is recording and use that camera to film this projection, you will see a pattern of recursively nested images (the so-called Droste effect). Due to the finite speed of light and processing time of the camera, each image will be slightly shifted in time. Determine under what conditions can the effect be used to measure the speed of light.


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