Monthly Archive for February, 2010

Prizes at IYPT 2010

To increase motivation of all those momentarily preparing for their performance at the IYPT 2010 we can

> gladly announce that their efforts will be  honoured accordingly thanks to our sponsors.

We’d especially

like to express our thanks to Sony DADC Austria for providing 5 Playstation 3 for the winning team of the 23rd Physics World Cup.

We’d also like to thank the Wirtschaftskammer Wien for their incredible support concerning T-Shirts, Bags, USB-Sticks and many other things. They essentially help us to make the IYPT 2010 an

unforgettable event generic 10mg cialis for everyone.

Thanks on behalf of the whole team

Katharina Wittmann

IYPT IT Part 3

I’ve spent the last days working on our database. A central webbased php/mysql db with a nice frontend so that the teamleaders can input their data. I guess something similar is needed every year – it’s a pity that we have to reinvent the wheel for every IYPT.
Nevertheless I’m pretty confident that what we’ve worked out so far will do the job pretty well. No more Microsoft Office Excel files or crappy Access databases. Nice, clean html and css. phpmyadmin to query just about any information about the participants.
And the coolest feature so far: badges are created on the fly as pdf files.
As mentioned before I’m a fan of CSS based webdesign, so I decided to abuse this quite powerful layout tool to design our badges. Sadly there is no elegant html to pdf converter available. There’s dompdf but it doesn’t work with absolute and relative positioning or floats. I quickly realized that it would actually take a full blown html renderer – like the engine behind Firefox (Gecko).
In good old iypt-style I started to investigate and eventually found a great firefox addon, simply called Command Line Print, that allows firefox to be started in a special printmode. That worked fine on my desktop – but what about our server? Firefox wouldn’t run without a display – but google saved the day again and found me xfvb. Ok, so i would install a webbrowser on a headless server, install a print add-on and eventually start it all with a simple php exec. Guess what? That just didn’t work.
First we had to get a new VPS because on the old server – still running ubuntu dapper – the software we needed just wasn’t available. We now use a VPS running a recent debian, so firefox is actually called iceweasel.
The server would happily create perfect pdf files, but only using my user account. Apache runs as www-data and the extension wasn’t installed. On my account i did that via x-forwarding – getting that to work with another user again took some effort.
Finally i could create my pdf files when logged in as www-data. But still no luck with php executing the script.
Later Georg solved the mystery: apache sets it’s own env variables, so iceweasel quit because it couldn’t access it’s .mozilla dir which was supposed to be in the home dir.
There were some other, minor problems as well as you can imagine. But at least the core functionality is running smoothly now.
I still have to migrate some stuff to the new server. The forum, this blog, our svn reps. By the way I’m thinking about switching to git. It’s much more flexible.

The Great IYPT China Report

Das letzte IYPT liegt noch nicht einmal ein Jahr zurück und schon haben wir unseren Bericht darüber fertig geschrieben! Im Jahr 2007 ging das etwas schneller, 2008 war ich leider nicht wirklich dahinter. Über China ist jetzt jedenfalls ein ausführlicher Text entstanden, komplett mit Bildern und zwei Videos! Und weil ich so stolz bin hab ich auch ein Plätzchen auf dafür gesucht und gefunden!
Ein großes Dankeschön geht an Markus, der den Großteil geschrieben hat, und Ricky fürs Übersetzen.

IYPT 2010 Visiting Teachers’ Programme

We’re proud to announce this year’s IYPT Visiting Teachers’ Programme. It will enable teachers to watch physics fights, to discuss physics issues with jurors, to find out the main criteria for success in physics fights to have contacts with the students and to find out the motives for participation in a very challenging competition, to meet fellow teachers with interest in working with gifted students, to try out for themselves IYPT problems of previous years, and to explore Vienna and some of its science institutions.

For futher information please visit

Advance registration is required. Deadline for visiting teachers: May 21st.

Austria’s scientist of the year holds opening speech at IYPT 2010

The Austro-German physicist Prof. Rudolf Grimm of University of Innsbruck’s physics department has confirmed that he will hold a speech at the IYPT 2010 opening ceremony. Prof. Grimm was elected Austria’s scientist of the year 2009 by the Austrian committee of science journalists.

Apart from being a full professor of experimental physics at the University of Innsbruck Prof. Grimm holds the position of research director at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the Austrian, German as well as American Physical Society. In his outstanding academic career Prof. Grimm has been awarded a number of prizes, the most outstanding being the Wittgenstein Award in 2005.

Prof. Grimm’s scientific interest mainly lies in research on Bose-Einstein condensate. In 2002 he, together with his team, was the first worldwide to produce a Bose-Einstein condensate of Caesium and one year later they produced a Bose-Einstein condensate from molecules. For all those wondering about what this condensate thing is, visit to find out. The realization of a Fermi condensate in 2004, which again was first achieved by Grimm and his team, was ranked among the ten most important scientific breakthroughs of 2004 by the highly renown “Science” journal.

Prof. Grimm holds a PhD of ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) and studied physics at the University of Hannover. Besides successfully studying physics, then to-be Professor Grimm was guitarist of the Punk-Rock band “Bärchen-und-die-Milchbubis”. For details concerning this see (German).

If you want to find out more about Prof. Grimm, visit for a full-scale CV including some outstanding publications.

Who’s allowed to participate?

According to the the IYPT Regulations the following countries are allowed to participate at the IYPT2010:

update 17/02/2010: I have marked those countries that haven’t yet decided to send a team.
update 22/02/2010: Added more participants. As of today, 27 teams have registered.

  1. Australia
  2. Austria
  3. Belarus
  4. Brazil
  5. Bulgaria
  6. China (PRC)
  7. Chinese Taipei (ROC)
  8. Croatia
  9. Cyprus
  10. Czech Republic
  11. Finland
  12. France
  13. Georgia
  14. Germany
  15. Hungary
  16. Indonesia
  17. Iran
  18. Kenya
  19. Korea
  20. Macedonia
  21. Mexico
  22. Myanmar
  23. Netherlands
  24. New Zealand
  25. Nigeria
  26. Poland
  27. Russia
  28. Singapore
  29. Slovakia
  30. Slovenia
  31. Sweden
  32. Switzerland
  33. Thailand
  34. USA
  35. Ukraine
  36. United Kingdom

I am confident that this list is correct, but if you think that there’s a mistake, please send an email to!

I hope more teams will decide to participate soon!