The University Physics Competition 

The 2019 University Physics Competition

The 2019 University Physics Competition began on Friday, November 1, 2019, at 6pm MDT (Mountain Daylight Time), which is Saturday, November 2, 2019, 12am GMT/UTC, when the problems below were posted. 

Problem A:  Protecting Travelers to Mars

One of the challenges of sending humans to Mars is the significant radiation they would experience during the journey.  Develop a plan for protecting humans in a spacecraft traveling to Mars from most radiation.  To protect a habitable volume of 1,000 cubic meters, how much additional mass would need to be brought on the journey?  Provide a careful and thorough evaluation of your plan and its practicality.

Problem B:  Design a Roller Coaster
You must design a roller coaster ride to be as exciting as possible, yet safe.  The roller coaster will begin with a 20 meter horizontal segment, where passengers board, then climb up a hill to its highest point, taking it to an altitude 30 meters above the starting location. This gravitational potential energy will be the only source of energy for the roller coaster’s motion.  Precisely describe the path that the roller coaster track would follow, through three-dimensional space, and indicate the orientation of the car as it follows this track.  The track must form a closed loop, with the ride ending at the starting location.  At no point may the track descend below its starting altitude.  Analyze the dynamics of a roller coaster car and determine the total duration of the ride.  Use your analysis to make a persuasive case that your design would be safe, but riders would find it to be especially exciting.

To download a printable pdf award certificate for your team, set your browser to:*.pdf

Here * is your team number.  For example if your team number is 200, this is:

If you would like us to send paper award certificates for your team through the mail, please email us ( with your current postal mailing address.  We will send one set of certificates for each team, so please send us only one address.  We will not mail a separate certificate to each of the three members of your team.

The following announcement of results was made on Monday, January 13, 2020:


Full results announcement and complete listing of all medals in the 2019 University Physics Competition

We are very pleased to announce the results of the tenth 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 1, 2, & 3, 2019, analyzing an applied scenario using the principles of physics, and writing a formal paper describing their work.


In this year’s competition 305 teams submitted papers for judging. 186 teams selected “Problem A – Protecting Travelers to Mars” and 119 teams selected “Problem B – Design a Roller Coaster.”


For Problem A, the Gold Medal Winning Teams were:


Team 105: Alankit Dey

Institution: University of Delhi

Faculty Sponsor: Sachin Kumar

Team 105's 2019 Problem A Gold Medal Winning Paper


Team 289: Asif Billah, Aroni Ghosh, & Mrinmoy Kundu

Institution: Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology

Faculty Sponsor: Rajat Chakraborty

Team 289's 2019 Problem A Gold Medal Winning Paper


Team 343: Zhou Xingxu, Ye Hexin, & Xie Shenyuan

Institution: National University of Defense Technology

Faculty Sponsor: Liu Yonglu

Team 343's 2019 Problem A Gold Medal Winning Paper

For problem B, the Gold Medal Winning Teams were:


Team 190: Fang Yigao, Chen Siyi, & Shen Qi

Institution: Shanghai Jiao Tong University/Joint Institute

Faculty Sponsor: Mateusz Krzyzosiak

Team 190's 2019 Problem B Gold Medal Winning Paper


Team 389: Gao Xiaoxu, Ma Yingjie, & Cai Shengxun

Institution: Qingdao University

Faculty Sponsor: Peng Zou

Team 389's 2019 Problem B Gold Medal Winning Paper


Of the 305 papers submitted in the 2019 University Physics Competition, 5 teams (1.6%) were ranked as Gold Medal Winners, 60 teams (20%) were ranked as Silver Medal Winners, 83 teams (27%) were ranked as Bronze Medal Winners, and 157 teams (51%) were ranked as Accomplished Competitors.


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


Kelly S. Cline

Carroll College; Helena, MT

Director of the University Physics Competition

Above, 2019 Gold Medal Winner:
Alankit Dey

Above, 2019 Gold Medal Winners:

Zhou Xingxu, Ye Hexin, Xie Shenyuan, & Liu Yonglu


Above, 2019 Gold Medal Winners:
Gao Xiaoxu, Ma Yingjie, Cai Shengxun, & Peng Zou