The University Physics Competition 

The 2014 University Physics Competition

The fifth annual University Physics Competition started on Friday, November 14, 2014 at 6pm MDT, w
hen the following problems were posted:

Problem A:  Circumbinary Planets

Consider two stars, one with 50% of the mass of our Sun and one equal in mass to our Sun.  This binary star system has an orbital period of 30 Earth days.  Where could a planet have a stable orbit in this system?  Describe the possible stable planetary orbits.


Problem B:  A Water Fountain

A water fountain located at the middle of a circular pond ejects water straight up, and the water spreads out into a cone shape with the axis of the cone being vertical. As the water moves, its molecules collide with each other. Determine the probability that any molecule of the ejected water hits the pond at the point (x, y). Assume that the fountain’s ejection point is at (0, 0). From your model, determine the most probable place where the water lands and also the median circle, that is, that circle around the fountain inside which exactly half of the water lands. 

The following announcement of results was made on Wednesday, January 14, 2015:

We are very pleased to announce the results of the fifth annual University Physics Competition.  The University Physics Competition is an international contest for undergraduate students, who worked in teams of up to three students at their home colleges and universities all over the world, and spent 48 hours during the weekend of November 14, 15, & 16, 2014, analyzing an applied scenario using the principles of physics, and writing a formal paper describing their work.


In this year’s competition 131 teams submitted papers for judging.  93 teams selected “Problem A -Circumbinary Planets” and 38 teams selected “Problem B – A Water Fountain.” 


For Problem A, the Gold Medal Winning Team was:


Team 726:  Gautam Rai, Sven Wasmus, & Maximilian Schallwig

Institution: Jacobs University Bremen

Faculty Sponsor:  Peter Schupp

The 2014 Problem A Gold Medal Winning Paper


For problem B, the Gold Medal Winning Team was:


Team 807:  Bikun Li, Zichao Yang, Yuan Li

Institution:  South University of Science and Technology of China   

Faculty Sponsor:  Jun Yang

The 2014 Problem B Gold Medal Winning Paper


Of the 131 paper submitted in the 2014 University Physics Competition, 2 teams (1.5%) were ranked as Gold Medal Winners, 23 teams (18%) were ranked as Silver Medal Winners, 36 teams (27%) were ranked as Bronze Medal Winners, and 70 teams (53%) were ranked as Accomplished Competitors.


We extend our sincerest congratulations to each of the 131 competing teams for their excellent work and their enthusiasm for physics!


Kelly S. Cline

Carroll College; Helena, MT

Director of the 2014 University Physics Competition

Above, 2014 Gold Medal Winners:  Jun Yang, Bikun Li, Zichao Yang, and Yuan Li.
Above, 2014 Gold Medal Winners:  Sven Wasmus,
Gautam Rai, 
& Maximilian Schallwig