The University Physics Competition 

The 2015 University Physics Competition

The sixth annual University Physics Competition started on Friday, November 13, 2015 at 6pm MST, w
hen the following problems were posted:

Problem A:  Terraforming Mars
It has been proposed that we could begin the process of terraforming Mars by directing comets or asteroids into trajectories that will impact on the planet.  The energy imparted by these bodies might warm the atmosphere of Mars sufficiently to sublimate gas frozen at the polar ice caps, thus giving Mars a thicker and warmer atmosphere.  Suppose that we want to subject Mars to a series of 10 impacts that would together carry enough energy to give Mars an atmosphere which would allow pure liquid water could exist in a stable form on the Martian surface.  How large would these impactors have to be and how much impulse would need to be given to each impactor in order to put it into a Mars intersecting orbit?
Problem B:  Golfing Around a Tree
A golfer hits an errant shot and finds the ball directly behind a tree, 120 meters from the green.  The tree is too close and too tall to hit the ball over the tree, so the golfer is forced to hit the ball either to the left or to the right of the tree.  Let us model the tree as a cylinder, with its center 10.0 meters from the ball, with branches extending in all directions to give our cylinder a radius of 5.0 meters.  Describe the ball/club interaction that will result in a shot that will go around the tree and end up on the green.  Assume the green is circular, 10.0 meters in diameter, and the center of the green is directly behind the center of the tree, as seen from the location of the ball.

The following announcement of results was made on Friday, January 15, 2016:

Full results announcement and complete listing of all medals in the 2015 University Physics Competition

We are very pleased to announce the results of the sixth 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 13, 14, & 15, 2015, analyzing an applied scenario using the principles of physics, and writing a formal paper describing their work.


In this year’s competition 150 teams submitted papers for judging.  77 teams selected “Problem A –Terraforming Mars” and 73 teams selected “Problem B – Golfing Around a Tree.”  


For Problem A, the Gold Medal Winning Team was:


Team 190:  Victor Chan, Michael Primrose, & Vismay Shah

Institution: University of Toronto

Faculty Sponsor:  Dae-Sik Moon

The 2015 Problem A Gold Medal Winning Paper

For problem B, the Gold Medal Winning Team was:


Team 108:  Haoran Miao, Shutong Li, & Yihong Zhang

Institution:  Nanjing University

Faculty Sponsor:  Sihui Wang 

The 2015 Problem B Gold Medal Winning Paper

Of the 150 papers submitted in the 2015 University Physics Competition, 2 teams (1.3%) were ranked as Gold Medal Winners, 25 teams (17%) were ranked as Silver Medal Winners, 43 teams (29%) were ranked as Bronze Medal Winners, and 80 teams (53%) were ranked as Accomplished Competitors.


We extend our sincerest congratulations to each of the 150 competing teams for their excellent work and their enthusiasm for physics!


Kelly S. Cline

Carroll College; Helena, MT

Director of the 2015 University Physics Competition

Above, 2015 Gold Medal Winners:  
Haoran Miao, Shutong Li, Yihong Zhang, and Sihui Wang
Above, 2015 Gold Medal Winners:  
Vismay Shah, Victor Chan, and Michael Primrose