The University Physics Competition 

The 2020 University Physics Competition


The 2020 University Physics Competition began on Friday, November 6, 2020, at 6pm MDT (Mountain Daylight Time), which is Saturday, November 7, 2020, 1am GMT/UTC, when the contest problems below were posted.


Problem A:  Ion Thrusters to Saturn

A spacecraft is in a circular orbit around the Earth, with an orbital period of 90 minutes.  The spacecraft has a total mass of 5,000 kg, including fuel.  The spacecraft is equipped with ion thrusters that can provide a constant thrust of 400 millinewtons, with a specific impulse of 4,000 seconds.  Our goal is to place the spacecraft into a circular orbit around Saturn, with an orbital period of 40 hours.  What is the minimum amount of fuel this will take?  What will be the duration of the trip?  How should the thrusters be controlled during the journey?


Problem B: Quadcopter Stability in Wind

We have designed a quadcopter UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) drone that has a mass of 1.5 kg, and is powered by four rotors which can each generate up to 7 Newtons of thrust.  The rotors of the drone are each centered 50 cm from its center of mass, and arranged in a square.  Determine the maximum windspeed for safe operation of the quadcopter, so that it can stay within 20 cm of a target location.  Note that real wind is not steady, varying in magnitude and direction.


Results of the 2020 University Physics Competition were posted on January 18, 2021.


To download a printable pdf award certificate for your team, set your browser to:  http://www.uphysicsc.com/certificates2020/*.pdf

Here * is your team number.  For example if your team number is 200, this is:  http://www.uphysicsc.com/certificates2020/200.pdf


If you would like us to send paper award certificates for your team through the mail, please email us (director@uphysicsc.com) 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 18, 2021:

 

Full results announcement and complete listing of all medals in the 2020 University Physics Competition


We are very pleased to announce the results of the eleventh 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 6, 7, & 8, 2020, analyzing an applied scenario using the principles of physics, and writing a formal paper describing their work.

 

In this year’s competition 346 teams submitted papers for judging. 244 teams selected “Problem A – Ion Thrusters to Saturn” and 102 teams selected “Problem B – Quadcopter Stability in Wind.”

Univ. of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong Univ. Joint Institute

 

For Problem A, the Gold Medal Winning Teams were:

 

Team 340: Xie Mengxiang, Xiao Yao, & Zhao Yingshan

Institution: Tongji University, China

Faculty Sponsor: Ma Yan

 

Team 354: Bibek Bhujel, Fahrudin Delic, & Carmelo Desales Ortiz

Institution: Jacobs University Bremen, Germany

Faculty Sponsor: Peter Schupp

 

Team 426: Andrew McEntaggart, Adele Payman, & Aulden Jones

Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

Faculty Sponsor: Edwin Greco

 

Team 447: Yasin Sönmez, Arda Aydın, & Batuhan Keskin

Institution: Boğaziçi University, Turkey

Faculty Sponsor: Ilmar Gahramanov

 

For problem B, the Gold Medal Winning Teams were:

 

Team 335: Zhu Guorui, 

Institution: Tongji University, China

Faculty Sponsor: Ma Yan


Team 380: Chen Qiuyu, Zhan Haidong, & Zhang Chongfa

Institution: National University of Defense Technology, China

Faculty Sponsor: Peng Gang

 

Of the 346 papers submitted in this year's University Physics Competition, 6 teams (1.7%) were ranked as Gold Medal Winners, 54 teams (15%) were ranked as Silver Medal Winners, 99 teams (29%) were ranked as Bronze Medal Winners, and 187 teams (54%) 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

director@uphysicsc.com

www.uphysicsc.com

Above, 2020 Gold Medal Winners:

Team 335: Zhu Guorui, 

Institution: Tongji University, China

Faculty Sponsor: Ma Yan

Above, 2020 Gold Medal Winners:

Team 340: Xie Mengxiang, Xiao Yao, & Zhao Yingshan

Institution: Tongji University, China

Faculty Sponsor: Ma Yan

Above, 2020 Gold Medal Winners:

Team 354: Fahrudin Delic, Carmelo Desales Ortiz, Bibek Bhujel

Institution: Jacobs University Bremen, Germany

Faculty Sponsor: Peter Schupp


Above, 2020 Gold Medal Winners:

Team 380: Zhang Haidong, Zhang Chongfa, & Chen Qiuyu

Institution: National University of Defense Technology, China

Faculty Sponsor: Peng Gang

Above, 2020 Gold Medal Winners:
Team 426: Adele Payman, Andrew McEntaggart, & Aulden Jones

Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

Faculty Sponsor: Edwin Greco

Above, 2020 Gold Medal Winners:

Team 447: Yasin Sönmez, Arda Aydın, & Batuhan Keskin

Institution: Boğaziçi University, Turkey

Faculty Sponsor: Ilmar Gahramanov