Sergei Denisov shares names, documents from IYPTs 1993-1997

Sergei Denisov comments on the IYPTs 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997, and shares names, photographs and many authentic documents, including detailed results, regulations, diplomas, and manuscripts.

S. D. works at LESTER, an IT company based in Moscow.

Names. Here are the team members from SUNC MGU at a few IYPTs:

IYPT 1993, Protvino: Boris Rozentul (captain), Maxim Andreeev, Oleg Golubitsky, Sergei Denisov, Natalya Ratnikova, Sergei Varlamov (leader.)

IYPT 1994, Groningen: Sergei Denisov (captain), Maxim Andreeev, Oleg Golubitsky, Boris Rozentul, Alexey Tarasov, Sergei Varlamov (leader.)

IYPT 1996, Tskhaltubo: Maxim Sidorov (captain), Dmitry Levkov, Irina Rezvyakova, Olga Belovolova, Leonid Gusev, Sergei Denisov (leader), Maxim Andreeev (leader.)

IYPT 1997, Cheb: Anatoly Dymarsky (captain), Dmitry Melnikov, Semjon Kuzin, Petr Mikheev, Michail Zagoruyko, Sergei Denisov (leader), Maxim Andreeev (leader.)

Documents from the IYPT 1993.

Team diploma for SUNC MGU [pdf]

Documents from the IYPT 1994.

Regulations of the IYPT in Russian [txt]

Team diploma for SUNC MGU [pdf]

Personal diploma for Sergei Denisov [pdf]

Program [pdf]

Rules and Regulations [pdf]

Problems in Russian language, partially [pdf]

Probably an anthem (I am not familiar with the Dutch language) [pdf]

Team and individual ranking before the Semi-Finals [pdf]

Team and individual ranking after the Semi-Finals [pdf]

A photograph of the team in the Netherlands.

Documents from the IYPT 1996.

I have very little materials from this IYPT in Tskhaltubo, Georgia.

Regulations of the IYPT in English dated October 1994 [txt]

Team and individual ranking after the selective fights, i.e. before the Semi-Finals [pdf]

Individual ranking after the Finals [pdf]

Documents from the IYPT 1997.

Problems from the Russian YPT (that normally matched the respective IYPT problems [doc] [pdf]

Team and individual ranking before the Semi-Finals [pdf]

Team and individual ranking after the Semi-Finals [pdf]

Team and individual ranking after the Finals [pdf]

A photograph of the team on the way to Prague (in Warsaw, if I am not mistaken.)

Badge. And I just happened to find the following badge from an YPT.

The details and documents were shared between March 19 and April 24, 2012.

Roman Stepanyan comments on a few early IYPTs, clarifies details

Roman Stepanyan, Ukrainian team member and team leader at several IYPTs since 1993, comes back with substantial feedback about the early IYPTs, new details, and important corrections for the IYPT Archive.

Roman Stepanyan earned a PhD from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and is currently a researcher at DSM Ahead in Geleen, Netherlands, focusing on the rheology of complex fluids.

R. S. Accidentally I found your blog about IYPT. In a number of interviews, you ask about the members of the Ukrainian team in 1993. Unfortunately, the information provided by Yaroslav Chinski is somewhat incomplete. The
members were (not sure about the Latin spelling of the names, except my own.)

  • Dimitri Galayko (school 117, Odessa)
  • Alexander Nikitin (school 117, Odessa)
  • Alexander Morozov (Richelieu Lyceum, Odessa)
  • Yaroslav Chinski (Richelieu Lyceum, Odessa)
  • and myself: Roman Stepanyan (school 117, Odessa)

In your list, Dimitry Galayko is absent, which is the main reason I am writing this e-mail: he was one of the key players and certainly deserves to be mentioned. If necessary, you can contact him personally.

Some more details:

The problem reported by us in the final (Ukrainian team) was “Recharge” where we were given a charged capacitor and had to transfer its charge (as much as possible) to another capacitor. It was reported by Dimitry Galayko with Georgian team as opponent.

We were opponents of the Hungarian team. I was representing the opposition. The Georgian team was reporting “Domino”, opposed by Georgians. Our team was represented by A. Morozov.

There were actually three Ukrainian teams:

  • the official one (ours, based on School 117 team who won the All-Ukrainian YPT that year, trained by Sergey Kolos; see above for the names),
  • Odessa (Richelieu Lyceum) and
  • Lugansk.

So, some statements about the teams in your paper are not quite right.

During the Tournament in Fryazino (a kind of Post-Soviet tournament) the same year, our team had all the same members except A.Morozov. Dmitri Neselovskiy was “playing” together with us that time. We won that
tournament but I do not recall the details.

I. M. Many thanks again for your kind and so helpful input. If possible, can I please check with you the names of the Ukrainian team members and leaders at the IYPTs that you attended either as a leader or as a member?

R. S. I’ve put the info I remember below. [...] I also asked Vladimir Kulinskii about the names, etc.

1992 : Alexander Morozov, Igor Zozulya, Valentin Topelkin; this is all available data about the team.

> Leader Igor Altman, Zozulya was the captain.

1993 (with your recent correction) : Ukraine-National — Roman Stepanyan (captain), Alexander Morozov, Dimitri Galayko, Alexander Nikitin, Yaroslav Chinskiy, Sergey Kolos (leader.)

> There was also “Ukraine-Odessa” (led by Kulinskii, the same team as in 1994)

1994 : I don’t have any data on the Ukrainian team, but Vladimir Kulinskii was probably the leader or one of the two leaders.

> The names of the 1994th Ukrainian team (also present at 1993th YPT as Ukraine-Odessa) as I’ve got them from Kulinskii: Sergey Koleboshin, Vladimir Tolpekin, Igor Orlovich, Dimitri Popov,  Andrey Lugunov. Leader: Vladimir Kulinskii.

1997 : Kirill Belokurov, Igor Vorokhaev, Grigoriy Zavorothny, Denis Murakhovskiy, Elisaveta Ovdeenko as team members; no direct data on the team leaders.

> Pavel Viktor was the leader. Vorokhaev was the captain, I guess.

I. M. Thank you. I will make all these corrections at archive.iypt.org and in my preprints. If you do not have objections, I will also bring your commentaries into a short news release, so that we have a public primary source for these essential updates and corrections.

R. S. I do not have any objections. [...] Your archive looks really impressive!

UPD R. S. I found some diplomas from Fryazino, Protvino and Vienna. It’s a pity I don’t have our team’s diplomas from Fryazino and Protvino, only the personal ones.

The discussion and fact checking held between December 7 and December 15, 2011. Updated with documents, corrected on August 27, 2012.

Wei Ji Ma shares slides, notes from the 6th IYPT (1993)

Wei Ji Ma (Whee Ky Ma), participant of the 6th IYPT (1993) in the Dutch team, scans and shares his notes and slides on the problems 2, 3, 4, and 5, on the physics behind the gravitational constant.

Download: Dutch-language report on problems 2-5 at 6th IYPT (scanned pdf.)

Download: English-language report on problems 2-5 at 6th IYPT (scanned pdf.)

Download: English-language slides for problems 2-5 at 6th IYPT (scanned pdf.)

Wei Ji Ma (Whee Ky Ma) was born and grew up in Groningen (the Netherlands) but has his family origins in Shandong (China.)

He earned his PhD degree in string theory at the University of Groningen, working mostly with his advisor Erik Verlinde at the University of Utrecht and Princeton University. From 2002 to 2004, he was a postdoc at the California Institute of Technology and, after that, a postdoc in computational neuroscience at the University of Rochester. He is currently an assistant professor in Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Wei Ji Ma is the co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the Rural China Education Foundation. He has always been a science and education activist, having founded and coordinated the Complexity in Biology Club at Caltech or the Physics Promotion Team at Groningen. He has multiple interests from chess to politics, theater and classical music.

W. J. M. [In Summer 2009, I] visited my old home in the Netherlands again and was able to find my old notes and overhead projector slides about the Gravitation questions in the 1993 IYPT, as well as my (Dutch) notes for the national competition. Altogether, it is 50 pages or so.

Sorry, the slides and notes have been sitting in my office for more than a year now, and I have kept postponing the rather easy act of scanning them. In my mind it grew to be a bigger and bigger task, but when I came back from a trip and saw your emails, I decided I finally had to do it. And of course it only took me 15 minutes. So here they are. It was quite nostalgic to read back the things I wrote 17 years ago, when I was still very naive about science.

I have scanned the materials exactly as I found them; back in 1993, I had bundled together the answers to all the gravitation questions (I believe 2 to 5).

I hope the materials will be useful. I look forward to seeing the online IYPT Archive! Thanks for all the work you are putting into it. Let me know if I can help in any other way!

I. M. Many thanks for the scanned sheets. Such things do really make a difference in clarifying the IYPT history in all details!

Georg Hofferek, Executive Committee member, has just [commented on these reports], “I liked that problem when I first read it in the collection of old problems however, I think it is way, way, way to “large” for an IYPT problem, you could write entire books on the consequences of changing the gravitational constant… or almost any other constant, for that matter.”

[As a brief remark,] I have a plot showing the percentage of fully theoretical problems decaying with time, as at the early IYPTs there were much more theoretical problems than now.

W. J. M. Yes, it was a very big problem, but on the other hand I liked unconstrained theorizing a lot, probably more than doing experiments. No wonder I ended up in theoretical physics! In fact, my experience with the IYPT and in particular with the gravitation problem was a strong motivation for me to go into that field. However, the thought has occurred to me that devoting four problems to the decaying gravitational constant was perhaps a bit much, given that there was a lot of overlap and it reduced the diversity of the problem set overall. Nevertheless, I think it is amazing that it is possible to come up with interesting theoretical problems that high school students can say something about.

I. M. Many thanks for explaining your motivation in this problem. It is really amazing how the IYPT was helping participants to develop motivation and to continue with research, and it is always very nice to better know about such experiences.

In late 2008, Wei Ji Ma gave a detailed interview on his experience at the 6th IYPT, scanning and sharing many original documents from 1993. He found further slides and reports in Summer 2009, and scanned them on November 2, 2010.

Interview with Yaroslav Chinskiy on 6th IYPT, 1993 YPT of CIS, Ukrainian YPT

Yaroslav Chinskiy, member of Odessa teams in 1993, clarifies organizational details of 6th IYPT and post-Soviet selective competitions.

Yaroslav Chinskiy got team silver (2nd place overall) at the 6th IYPT, team silver (3rd place overall) at the 1993 all-Ukrainian YPT, and participated at the post-Soviet CIS tournament in Fryazino in 1993, representing the Richelieu Lyceum, Odessa and Ukraine. He studied physics at Odessa National Ilya Mechnikov University and got a degree in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University in 2000. Yaroslav is now credit derivatives team lead at the Electronic Broking division of ICAP North America Inc.

I. M. When did you first learn about the IYPT?

Ya. Ch. We knew about IYPT. Our school, the Richelieu Lyceum, was represented in earlier tournaments and we had a goal to reach IYPT level as well.

I. M. Who were members of your team at the IYPT?

Ya. Ch. It was a fascinating time! In 1993, our team consisted of:

  • Roman (Odessa School 117)
  • Alexander (Richelieu Lyceum)
  • Alex Nikitin (Odessa School 117)
  • Vadim Neselovskiy (Richelieu Lyceum), vadimneselovskyi.com
  • and me

Only Roman and Alexander continued further work in physics.

I. M. In what non-Ukrainian YPT-related events, besides the 6th IYPT, have you taken part?

Ya. Ch. I took part in the 6th IYPT in Protvino and in a Tournament held in Fryazino in 1993. I believe that our team leader Sergey Kolos took part in earlier tournaments.

I. M. What was the Tournament in Fryazino? A selective local Russian competition, or…?

Ya. Ch. That was the 1st post-USSR tournament that replaced All-Soviet YPT. I saw a few references to it here: school1.fryazino.net

I. M. Can you recall what were the results of your team at the YPT in Fryazino in 1993?

Ya. Ch. Unfortunately, I don’t remember.

I. M. Am I not mistaken that the YPT in Fryazino and the all-Ukrainian YPT in Odessa were separate events? Thus, you have taken part at All-Ukrainian YPT in Odessa in 1993, Fryazino YPT for post-Soviet teams in 1993, and 6th IYPT in Protvino in 1993?

Ya. Ch. You are correct.

I. M. How much time did your team have for preparation to 6th IYPT? Did you have any joint preparatory meetings between Richelieu Lyceum and School 117 in 1993?

Ya. Ch. The combined team emerged after the UYPT which happened in the spring of 1993. So we had a few months to prepare. I believe that before IYPT we played only one tournament as a team which was held in Fryazino.

I. M. Was there a selection for the Ukrainian national team?

Ya. Ch. The team was selected based on the results of the All-Ukrainian YPT. I believe that team from hs. 117 won and we (Richeleu Lyceum) took 3rd place.

I. M. Were there any other Ukrainian teams at the 6th IYPT? Alexander Morozov says no, but a Czech source mentions a team from Luhansk (somehow saying it was a Russian, not Ukrainian team.)

Ya. Ch. There was some controversy regarding Luhansk. I do not remember the details and can not confirm their presence on the 6th IYPT.

I. M. Am I right that the key organizer of Ukrainian local tournaments was Valery Koleboshin?

Ya. Ch. Yes. He was and remains one of the key figures in UYPT.

I. M. Can you identify what problems were discussed by Georgian and Hungarian teams in the Final Fight? Seemingly, it was “Dominoes” by Georgia, and “Gagarin’s record” by your team. Can you recall what Hungarians reported?

Ya. Ch. I recall that Georgian team presented “Dominoes” but I do not remember any other details about the Final.

I. M. Who was the Reporter, the Opponent and the Reviewer at the Final fight from the Ukrainian team?

Ya. Ch. I am not 100% sure. I assume that Roman was the reporter, Alexander was the opponent and Vadim was the reviewer. I think that Roman received a personal achievement award as well.

I. M. Can you recall the situations of teams speaking English, not Russian? Alexander recalls that once he personally interpreted for the Dutch team at a Physics Fight.

Ya. Ch. The language of the 6th IYPT was Russian. So the foreign teams had to rely on the interpreters. I recall that Alexander was interpreting for some of the teams. I am not sure if it was Dutch.

I. M. Is there a chance that diplomas, photos or any other documents may survived in your archives?

Ya. Ch. I should have the diploma. I will forward you a copy.

I. M. Can you reveal any details that might have appeared inaccurate in our discussion with Alexander?

Ya. Ch. There are few mistakes about the team. The team was comprised for 3 students from each school. Roman and Alex Nikitin were from 117 and were in the winning team. I do not recall the name of the 3rd person from School 117. The Lyceum was represented by Alexander, Vadim Neselovskiy and me. We were classmates and members of the same UYPT team.

I. M. Did Evgeny Yunosov personally host the Finals or make talks at the Opening or Closing ceremonies in 1993?

Ya. Ch. Evgeny Yunosov played the key role. I do not remember the details of the ceremonies, but he was there.

I. M. We still have troubles with the Russian version of the problems for 1993 (although several translations have been found.) Do you possibly have a copy, or can advise who might have preserved it?

Ya. Ch. I am sure there is a copy and all the stats available in the Richelieu Lyceum (www.rl.odessa.ua). You should contact Valery Yakovlevich Koleboshin.

I. M. Many thanks for your help.

The interview was primarily taken between August 27 and September 2, 2009, with minor updates and fact checking made on May 27, 2010.

Interview with Alexander Morozov on 6th IYPT, 5th IYPT, Soviet and Ukrainian YPTs, educational influence of IYPT

1991, 1992, 1993, Historical IYPT interviews — ilyamartch @ 7:10 pm

Alexander Morozov, now a researcher at the University of Edinburgh, has been a participant of the 5th IYPT (1992), 6th IYPT (1993), and several national and regional tournaments in 1991, 1992, and 1993 on behalf of Odessa and Ukraine. In 1993, his team was a silver winner at the 6th IYPT, held in Protvino, Russia. Alexander analyzes the long-term educational influence of the Tournament and clarifies many organizational details of early IYPTs.


I.M. When did you first take part in a Young Physicists’ Tournament?

A.M. It was in 1991, if I am not mistaken, when Evgeny Yunosov held an important large nationwide Young Physicists’ Tournament in Odessa. I am not absolutely sure, but seemingly it was the Soviet YPT. For the first time, I became a YPT player at this 1991 competition. The team of my school, the Richelieu Lyceum, took part in the Soviet Tournament in Moscow a year before, in 1990, but I did not play at that time.

I.M. Where exactly this assumingly ‘All-Soviet’ YPT was held?

A.M.It was held in the Pioneers’ Camp ‘Molodaya Gvardiya’ (Young Guard) just at the coast of Black Sea.

I.M. What were the achievements of your team at the ‘Soviet’ Tournament of 1991?

A.M.We reached the Finals, but ended at the third position in the Final Fight. Besides me, the team included Valentin Topelkin and Igor Zozulya.

There were teams of Zaporozhye and, probably, SUNC MGU at these Finals.

The decision to launch the All-Ukrainian Young Physicists’ Tournament was taken after this Soviet-wide competition. In 1992-1993, the Ukrainian YPT was held in Odessa.

I.M. Did your team take part in the 4th International Young Physicists’ Tournament in 1991?

A.M. No, we did not go there.


I.M. In what Tournaments of 1992 did you participate?

A.M. Well, at least in the large All-Soviet Young Physicists’ Tounament and in the International Tournament in Protvino.

I.M. The Soviet Union was no longer existent in 1992. It seems strange that such a competition was called a ‘Soviet’ Young Physicists’ Tournament.

A.M. I am not certain, but it seems to be that it bore that name :-) .

I.M. Where did the 1992 ‘Soviet’ Tournament take place?

A.M. After a certain amount of efforts, I recall that this place was called Lesnaya Polyana. It was quite a lonely place outside Moscow.

I.M. After searching for a while, I may assume that this place was the Lesnye Polyany resort facility (les-polyani.ru). Does it seem correct?

A.M. Seemingly, yes.

I.M. What were your achievements at this competition?

A.M. We reached finals and approached the absolute winners with a very narrow margin. There were discussions if to grant us with a shared first place, or with a second place.

We were awarded with the shared first position, in the end.

I.M. What problem did your team report at the Finals of the ‘Soviet’ Tournament of 1992?

A.M. It was a problem about the water flowing through a dam. Igor Zozulya was the reporter. By the way, exactly as it was in 1991, our team included me, Igor Zozulya and Valentin Topelkin.

I.M. You were a participant at the 5th IYPT, where the teams of Belarus and Czechoslovakia were reported to be gold winners. Who were members of the Ukrainian national team at the 5th IYPT?

A.M. There was a strange decision. The national Ukrainian team would consist of three persons from my team (namely, me, Igor Zozulya and Valentin Topelkin), and two persons from Zaporozhye (I cannot be quite sure that this is precisely correct.) It was due to the fact that my team represented Odessa, not the entire Ukraine. I cannot be sure if this decision was taken by Ukrainian authorities or by the organizers of the 5th IYPT. If I am not mistaken, Yunosov himself took part in the discussions.

When we arrived to Protvino, it turned out that the second half of the team was not able to come. Therefore, only three of us played at the competition.

Our team could not report several problems, because they were expected to be developed by the second half of our team. That is why we reached Semi-Finals, but did not pass farther. We were not among finalists, but I cannot remember our exact position.

I.M. When did the 5th IYPT take place? There have been references that it took place on April 25-30, 1992.

A.M. It was held in Summer 1992. It is absolutely impossible that it took place in April.


I.M. Am I right that in 1993 you took part in a Ukrainian national competition before joining the Ukraine’s IYPT team?

A.M. The team that I was tightly affiliated with ceased to exist in 1992, when everyone graduated from secondary school and entered university. I was a year younger than my team mates and could play in 1993. Therefore, I was a member of the team of Richelieu Lyceum (Odessa) that consisted of very young inexperienced students. We ended third at the All-Ukrainian Tournament, held in Odessa.

The winners, another Odessa team, gained the right to participate at IYPT and invited me to join them. In result, I may say that the Ukraine was represented in Protvino with a team that won a selective tournament, plus me, who joined the national team without technically deserving that.

I.M. How much time did your team spend in preparation to the 6th IYPT?

A.M. We didn’t have much time for preparation. We worked for a month, or so.

I.M. Who was the chief organizer of the IYPT in 1993?

A.M. Evgeny Nikolayevich Yunosov was the principal organizer of the Tournament. I also recall a surname Varlamov. Seemingly, he was a Moscow team leader, but he was associated with the Organizing Committee.

I.M. I may say that Sergei Varlamov was a prominent YPT activist in early 1990s. He brought the Russian team to the gold medals at the 7th IYPT in Groningen, Netherlands. After retiring from training Russian IYPT teams, he focused on the Physics Olympiad and, also, the Physicists’ Tournament for University Students which he now supports and promotes.

Could you clarify where exactly the 6th IYPT was held? Where did the participants live?

A.M. The Tournament was held in Protvino. The teams lived in a hotel, which was a rather high 10- or 12-storey building located on the main street. In 1992, everyone lived in exactly the same hotel.

Photo courtesy of A.M. Stepanets

I.M. After some searches, I may say that it must have been Protva Hotel (protva-hotel.podmoskovie.info). It is a 12-storey building, located on 4, Ulitsa Pobedy in Protvino, Moskovskaya Oblast. Ulitsa Pobedy (Victory Street) is the central street in Protvino.

Where did the Opening and Closing ceremonies and also the Physics Fights take place? Did they take place at the Protvino-based Institute for High Energy Physics?

A.M. The Physics Fights were held at a Conference Center, on the same street, in some 500…700 meters from the hotel. An observation station for the accelerator was located just there, near the center of Protvino.

I.M. After further searches, I may assume that this Conference Hall was inside the ‘Proton House of Culture’, located just there, on Ulitsa Pobedy.

Photo courtesy of A.M. Stepanets

It might possibly have been the House of Scientists, located near Moskovskaya Ulitsa.

Photo courtesy of A.M. Stepanets

I.M. What teams took part at the 6th International Young Physicists’ Tournament in 1993? There have been references to the teams of Belarus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Moldavia, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

A.M. Well, the team of Ukraine was my team :-) . There was no other Ukrainian team. I clearly remember the teams of Belarus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Netherlands, Russia and Slovakia. I cannot definitely confirm the participation of other teams.

I.M. There have been indications that, all in all, 19 teams from 11 countries took part at the 6th IYPT. If confirmed, it would be a unique case in the entire IYPT history, meaning that one or several nations were likely to be represented with much more than 1 or 2 teams. There are concerns on the validity of these reports.

A.M. I vaguely recall Selective Fights where the teams were distributed in a ’strange’ (non-uniform) way. Theoretically, the number of 19 may be correct.

I.M. Was it a common practice of making reports with paper posters? Were there any teams that used transparencies and overhead projectors?

A.M. Usually, the reports at the All-Soviet and All-Ukrainian tournaments were made with paper posters. At the International Tournament, almost everyone used transparencies. It was considered a ‘gesture of desperation’ if someone wrote with a chalk on blackboard.

In 1993, the team of Netherlands brought a laptop with PowerPoint presentations. I am very doubtful of how they showed it. If I am not mistaken there might have been a technique of projecting the slides with a common overhear projector. Unfortunately I don’t remember that clearly, but it is even possible that they had a laptop with a transparent LCD panel that allowed projection to the screen when placed on the overhead.

I.M. Did the Russian remain the most used working language at the 6th IYPT?

A.M. Yes, almost every team spoke Russian at the Physics Fights. It was the working language of the Finals as well.

I.M. How was organized the interpretation for the Dutch team? Did the Organizing Committee supply interpreters?

A.M. Well, yes, the interpreters were available. However, they were senior university students or young researchers who have just passed their exam in English language. Unfortunately, it didn’t assist them to interpret complicated speech in real time. It was quite often that a certain juror assisted such an interpreter of even replaced him.

Once, I personally interpreted the Dutch report at a Physics Fight when we played together. It was humorous :-) .

I.M. Was there any interpretation for the Dutch team during the Finals?

A.M. I cannot say that for sure.

I.M. The ranking tables after the 6th IYPT are quite obscure. Can you recall the achievements of any teams?

A.M. If I am not mistaken, the best four teams were distributed in the following way:

  1. Georgia
  2. Ukraine
  3. Hungary
  4. Czech Republic.

I.M. What problems were discussed in the Final Fight?

A.M. I must say that at certain Tournaments of early 1990s, the Finals were held with absolutely new problems distributed in a day before the Final Fight. However, it was not a practice for IYPTs.

I did not make a single report at the Tournament of 1993, because no one challenged our team with ‘my’ problems. In the Final, we won a preliminary fight that allowed us choosing the sequence of stages. We announced that we would like to make report in the last stage. We had a prominently developed solution to the problem “Gagarin’s Record” that I was expected to present.

After certain tactical manipulations, the team of Georgia could challenge us with either the problem “Gagarin’s Record” either the problem “Capacitor/s” that we had already reported in the Selective Fights.

Unfortunately :-) , the Georgian team made an absolutely reasonable decision of not challenging us with “Gagarin’s Record”. So, we reported a problem on Capacitor/s and the Georgian team opposed us.

The Georgian team reported the problem “Dominoes” which proposed to study the propagation of a wave in the line of falling domino bones.

Problem No. 6 “Gagarin’s record”: “In April 1961 Yury Gagarin set a world record for the fastest round-the-world orbit space flight. Suggest the cheapest way of beating this record. Note that not every record may be officially recognized.”

Problem No. 8 “Dominoes”: “Dominoes are placed vertically at a small distance from each other in a long row on a table surface. Make the first domino fall and the “wave of the falls” will proceed along the row. Calculate and measure experimentally the maximum speed of this wave.”

I.M. Who was your team leader and could you recall the names of your team mates?

A.M. My team leader was Sergei Kolos. The captain of my team was Roman Stepanyan. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the names of other team mates, because I met them in the very last moment before the IYPT. As I have said, I was invited to join a team that I was not affiliated with before.

I.M. A number of problems at today’s tournaments are focused on the soft condensed matter physics, which is of common interest for you and me. There are many topics concerning polymer physics and physics of complex fluids (such as the rheological behavior of shear-thinning fluids, Kaye effect, Weissenberg effect.) Colloid solutions, surfactants and various capillary instabilities appear in problems every year. Were there any problems of this type in early 1990s?

A.M. Typically, there were not many ‘exotic’ problems. However, the topics in soft condensed matter appeared regularly. I recall a problem to study the form of a solidified stearin droplet after it fell from a large height into cold or hot water. There was a problem on the maximum speed of a toy ship propulsed by means of soap (perhaps, it was proposed to construct such a ship.)

Long-term educational influence of the Tournament

I.M. Did the Tournament leave positive impressions on you? Do you think it provided you with certain skills necessary in life?

A.M. Positive impressions? Definitely, yes. It was fascinating to travel to different cities, to communicate with people of the same age and the same interests, to compete etc. Skills in life? Probably, yes. But certainly not in science.

Several years after I entered the university, I became more or less indifferent to Olympiads and Tournaments. In my opinion, the form of the Tournaments that I observed when being a player, contributed to developing skills that were not quite important in science, and were harmful sometimes. In many cases, it was required to quickly think and to present yourself in a bright form, but not to draw validated conclusions.

Please, don’t get me wrong. If someone presented a solution with errors, these errors were immediately revealed. However, the background knowledge and substantial achievements of participants did not play as influential role, as certain irrelevant aspects did.

It would be very interesting for me to trace the biographies of the participants of the Tournaments of 1991-1993, in which I participated. I would be eager to find out the percentage of participants that became involved into scientific activities, and how successful they are nowadays. It is possible to detect these things with the reference indexes for their publications (Web of Science). I assume that the result would be depressing. Among my immediate acquaintances, there were many persons whom I considered much more intelligent than me. None of them is associated with scientific activities today.

I should notice that my partially negative perception of the Tournament is caused by nothing but this ‘distortion’, when the Tournament achievements failed to match the later scientific achievements of a certain person. This perception appeared much later.

When I was a player myself, I was sincerely fascinated with every new Tournament and they constituted the brightest events of those years.

I.M. I personally think that today’s YPT community apprehends your concerns very seriously, because it is of greatest importance to find a balance of competition (that motivates participants and is a cornerstone of any YPT) and highest scientific standards in very broad and nuanced sense.

A.M. If one assumes so, I would agree that concept of YPT is a leap towards “thoughtful analysis and considerable immersion into the subject”. It is then very important that the grades for a given research project are adequate. Otherwise, we may eliminate all enthusiasm of participants, event the greatest.

I.M. What was the atmosphere of the Tournaments of 1992 and 1993?

A.M. It is difficult to formulate an answer. Everyone had a great will to win and therefore the relations between teams were quite troubled, and hostile in certain cases. Throughout the tournament, when many teams were not passing to consequent Rounds, the mood and the atmosphere were progressively increasing. But that was not the case for the finalists :-) .

I recall the experience of the International Young Physicists’ Tournament of 1992. Then, the Georgian team did not pass to a certain Round (possibly, before Semi-Finals) and offered us to take advantage of their operating prototype of a Magnetic Suspender. It was assembled for demonstrations for the problem “Magnetic Suspender”. However, they seriously competed with our team before.

An element of competition was prevailing. Physics played a secondary role, unfortunately.

I.M. How attentively did the Jury consider the novelty and originality of solutions?

A.M. Well, my opinion is biased, by default :-) . In my opinion, if there were no evident faults in the solution, the attention was mostly paid to the clearness of presentation. I still recall the impressions of my own presentations. I was quite a weak, as a physicist. However, my ability to explain myself in a transparent way often led to my prevalence over other participants that were much stronger than me, in terms of physics. It pleased me and depressed me at the same time.

I.M. What was the weakest point of the Tournament concept, in your opinion?

A.M. If I consider the Tournaments that I personally attended, I think that the greatest problem was that they convinced the participants that every problem had a predetermined solution.

It might have been implicit. However, after the Finals, certain participants might have concluded that they just have seen a “best” or a “correct” “solution” of a problem.

When a person, who is very successful in this method of operation with science, faces real scientific work, he might experience physiological difficulties. At first, there is no guarantee that an answer exists. At second, even if it exists, it is never known (any problem is easily solved if you know someone has solved it before.) At third, the solution of a real problem might take several years, while a large portion of these years are gaps when you cannot obtain any result.

It is very uneasy if someone experiences such “failures” after he was repeatedly told that he was successful, he was winning at Olympiads and Tournaments and he should go into science.

But in reality, the reason for such problems is not a “bad luck” or a “lack of skills”, but simply wrong expectations of what a real science is.

I may be flawed with these assumptions, however :-) .

I.M. I cordially thank you on behalf of everybody who is interested in the history of IYPTs. Your personal memories and skeptical analysis are very important for today’s activists and organizers of the Young Physicists’ Tournaments.

A.M. Thank you for your questions. Of course, I don’t remember every detail and my answers are evidently not complete. I hope that one day I could also get access to several documents that might remain in Odessa. I very hope that in result I could help you.

Alexander Morozov was born in 1976. As a student at the Richelieu Lyceum (Odessa), he took part in several national and regional Young Physicists’ Tournaments, at the 5th IYPT (1992) and at the 6th IYPT (1993), where his team was a silver winner.

After graduating in 1995 from Odessa University (Ukraine) and receiving his Master’s degree from the same university in 1997, he researched into soft condensed matter physics and taught undergraduate courses in the University of Groningen (Netherlands).

In 2002, he defended his PhD thesis “Orientational Transitions in Block Copolymer Melts Under Shear Flow” in the group of Hans Fraaije. He worked as a postdoc at the University of Leiden on pattern formation and flow instabilities of polymer melts, discovering a so-called “subcritical transition” in Couette and Poiseuille flows, when the flow is linearly stable but non-linearly unstable. In January 2007, Alexander moved to the group of Mike Cates at the Universityof Edinburgh (United Kingdom) winning the fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Alexander Morozov has co-authored over 20 journal articles. His main research interests include hydrodynamic instabilities and transition to turbulence in visco-elastic fluids, shear-induced phase transitions in block-copolymers, flows of dense granular matter, vesicles adsorption and also the Theory of Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM).

The interview was primarily taken between January 28 and February 3, 2008.

Interview with Wei Ji Ma on the 6th IYPT (1993)

Wei Ji Ma (Whee Ky Ma), participant of the 6th IYPT (1993), gives a detailed interview and scans all handouts, reports, diplomas and notes from his archives.

Download: Wei Ji Ma’s scanned materials in a pdf.

Download: additional Wei Ji Ma’s scanned materials in a pdf (1).

Download: additional Wei Ji Ma’s scanned materials in a pdf (2).

Wei Ji Ma (Whee Ky Ma) was born and grew up in Groningen (the Netherlands) but has his family origins in Shandong (China.)

He earned his PhD degree in string theory at the University of Groningen, working mostly with his advisor Erik Verlinde at the University of Utrecht and Princeton University. From 2002 to 2004, he was a postdoc at the California Institute of Technology and, after that, a postdoc in computational neuroscience at the University of Rochester.

He is currently an assistant professor in Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Wei Ji Ma is the co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the Rural China Education Foundation. He has always been a science and education activist, having founded and coordinated the Complexity in Biology Club at Caltech or the Physics Promotion Team at Groningen. He has multiple interests from chess to politics, theater and classical music.

W.J.M. I think it is great that you are trying to put together the history of the IYPT. I have very warm memories of it. Yes, we were the only “non-Soviet” team at that competition, which made it an even more interesting experience for us. I would certainly be willing to answer your questions. Since it’s long ago, I don’t remember all the details very clearly, but I may be able to find back some old notes etc.

Last week I was back in Holland for a few days, and I took the opportunity to dig up my documentation from IYPT 1993. I scanned most of it.

I.M. All your notes and memories, your report from 1993, as well as scanned diplomas, letters, schedules etc. are very valuable in terms of factual information (dates, names, teams, scores, results). However, they also help understanding the atmosphere of the event, organization procedure etc. :-)

It is fantastic that all these documents have survived and are now available.

I especially value that you have scanned all of your auxiliary notes, including even drafts from Physics Fights. They are very interesting for me and they will be very helpful in the future when it comes to checking minor details and analyzing, e.g., how teams presented themselves and provided peer review (at opposition, review stages.)

How did you become a member of the national Dutch team in 1993? Am I correct that your team leader was Hans Jordens?

W.J.M. We were all classmates (6th grade of high school). They were all aged 18 but I was 14, because I had skipped grades earlier. Our school was Willem Lodewijk Gymnasium (“gymnasium” meaning something like the British “grammar school”), located in Groningen, a city in the north part of the Netherlands. Our coach was our school’s physics teacher, Sjoerd Falkena.

You are right that we were also accompanied by the organizer of the Dutch Physics Olympiad (now president of the International Physics Olympiad), Hans Jordens. He was and is a lecturer at the University of Groningen.

I.M. If possible, can you recall the names of your team mates? Who was the team captain? (Such information is of great importance to the IYPT archives and has already proven to help people to establish contacts with friends/colleagues/affiliates).

W.J.M. The Dutch team consisted of:

  • Chris Bakker
  • David Gerds
  • Chris Jetten
  • Petra Jochemsen
  • and myself (Whee Ky Ma).

Originally, Peter Haadsma was part of our team, but because he couldn’t make it, he was replaced by Petra Jochemsen.

I.M. Was there a selection or a local Tournament?

W.J.M. We had earned our place in the IYPT by winning the national final, held at the University of Groningen on June 11-12, 1993. The other two finalists were the Bogermancollege from Sneek (a small town), and the Stedelijke Scholengemeenschap Middelburg from Middelburg, a town in the far south of the Netherlands.

These three schools had earned their places in the national final on the basis of the sum of the scores of their best five students in the first round, which was an individual competition held on January 20, 1993. Our scores: Peter Haadsma – 49; David Gerds – 45; Chris Bakker – 45; Chris Jetten – 41; Whee Ky Ma – 38; Petra Jochemsen – 37. The maximum possible score was 70. The national average score was 23.6. Because Peter Haadsma dropped out, Petra Jochemsen replaced him. Total scores of the best five students: Willem Lodewijk Gymnasium – 218; Bogermancollege – 218; Stedelijke Scholengemeenschap Middelburg – 200.

Apart from the national final for school teams, individual scores were also used to select the participants of the national individual final (I believe the highest 20 scores from around the country were selected). From our school, only Peter Haadsma (49) made it to the individual national final, from June 1-8 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. That national final was used for qualification for the international individual competition, which according to my information was held in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA, from July 10-17, 1993.

I.M. When did you first learn about the IYPT? How much time did you have for preparation?

W.J.M. Our teacher Falkena received our scores in March of 1993. Then it became known that we would participate in the national final. We had from then (end of March) till June 12-13 to prepare for the national final, and only a few days between the national final and leaving for Protvino. In those days, we had to translate everything into English.

I.M. How exactly did your team organize preparation? Did you have joint meetings, collaborative experiments or, for example, everyone worked on their own problems? Did you practice evening “braining storms” to improve your reports when already at the IYPT?

W.J.M. We were all in the same school and we saw each other every day. We worked mostly in teams on problems, but I remember that I prepared “Gravitation” mostly by myself. During the tournament, we still worked on our presentations.

I.M. Did you have any support from Groningen and/or Utrecht Universities when preparing to the IYPT? (such as access to laboratories, consultations etc.)?

W.J.M. We were not helped formally by the university in our preparation, but I myself had one meeting with a physics professor at the University of Groningen to talk about a few of our solutions. Utrecht University was not involved at all. Also, the principal of our school had a PhD in physics and he helped us a bit.

I.M. How were organized the interpretation and/or translation services for your team? Did a special person assist your team at Physics Fights?

W.J.M. I believe we always had a translator working with our team. This worked very well. I don’t remember any difficulties. We were the only team that presented in English. I don’t remember if other teams also had translators, but I believe not. In our free time, we talked with other teams in English. My report from July 1993 says: “The communication language was English, which was generally spoken well. Who didn’t speak English, did speak French.”

I.M. Belarusian team leader Leonid Markovich (in a 1992 article) and Ukrainian team member Alexander Morozov (in a 2008 discussion) warmly recall that the Dutch team used a laptop and an unknown “portable plotter” that helped to quickly prepare overhead transparencies. What was that “portable plotter” in fact? An early laser printer or…?

Alexander Morozov writes: “In 1993, the team of Netherlands brought a laptop with PowerPoint presentations. I am very doubtful of how they showed it. If I am not mistaken there might have been a technique of projecting the slides with a common overhear projector. Unfortunately I don’t remember that clearly, but it is even possible that they had a laptop with a transparent LCD panel that allowed projection to the screen when placed on the overhead”.

As far as I can guess, this was the earliest ever multimedia aid for a IYPT report. :-)

However, even earlier, there were people who used computers for numerical simulations. In 1988, Yury Yufryakov used a Soviet 8-bit home computer, with a CPU running at 1.77 Mhz and 32 Kb RAM, to simulate gravitational waves on water.

W.J.M. The electronic presentation tool: yes, I vaguely remember it. It was a handheld device that could be put on an overhead projector and project directly onto the screen. Hans Jordens would know the details. Looking back, I think this may have been an unfair advantage, as the other teams were not in a situation where they had access to such technology.

I.M. How attentively did the jury focus on the novelty and originality of reports? Did the teams consider their reports as “solutions” or as “research projects”?

W.J.M. As far as I remember, the jury paid a lot of attention to this. They didn’t require complete and perfect solutions but they did value a logical thinking process and thorough background research. I remember giving a presentation about “Unification” (third round), when the opponent team (Hungary) asked why accelerators use protons and not electrons. I had absolutely no clue but the opponent team then wrote down an equation that answered the question (I believe it was about energy loss). They got high scores, while we got low scores (see page 22). This was deserved, and I felt very bad about it afterwards. My teammates cheered me up.

I.M. What problems did your team report at the event? What curious or unexpected experimental/theoretical results can you recall?

W.J.M. I still have my complete text of my “Gravitation” presentation. If you want it, I can send it to you next time I visit the Netherlands. I also have some notes from other problems, but nothing that seems particularly interesting.

I.M. Can you identify what problems were discussed by Georgian, Ukrainian
and Hungarian teams in the Final Fight?

W.J.M. Georgia presented “Dominoes” in the final. I don’t recall (and didn’t write down) what other problems were presented in the final.

I.M. Were you somehow affiliated with the 7th IYPT in Groningen? (As a
guest, visitor, juror, team leader?) Did you take part at the 5th IYPT (1992)?

W.J.M. I did not participate in any form in either. However, I was a jury member for the national final in 1994, I believe.

I.M. What was the position of your team in ranking tables? It seems that your notes taken at PFs can help finding out many details on the schedule and on the results of the IYPT.

W.J.M. Round information:

  1. First round: with Lugansk and Poland (Warsaw)
  2. Second round: with Novgorod and Odessa
  3. Third round: with Poland (Quark) and Hungary
  4. Fourth round: with Belarus and Jekaterinenburg
  5. Semifinals: with Ukraine and Poland (Warsaw). The semifinals scores are listed on page 30 of the pdf: Ukraine – 262; Holland – 257.4; Poland – 260.4. So it was very close.

We did not go through to the finals. The finals were held in front of everybody in a big lecture hall. Hungary, Ukraine, and Georgia were in the finals. Eventually, Georgia won, but Ukraine was close.

I.M. Do you think that the IYPT has provided you with any useful skills (such as presentation techniques)?

W.J.M. Skills: yes, I benefited a lot from IYPT in many ways. I learned some advanced physics, I practiced my presentation skills, but most of all, I set my first steps on the road of knowing people who were different from the ones I was usually surrounded by.

I.M. In your opinion, was the 6th IYPT primarily a “competition” with teams mostly motivated to win, or a “physics discussion club”, or a “conference”, or a “science fair” where the key interest was in physics behind the problems?

W.J.M. Mostly a competition in which every team tried their best to win. However, the relations between the teams were very good and as I mentioned, I made many friends. For me it was also a community of like-minded people, who came from different parts of the world, brought together by their passion for physics.

I.M. What overall impressions did the Tournament leave on you?

W.J.M. The IYPT made a huge impact on my life. I had already decided earlier that I wanted to study physics, but I was even more convinced after the tournament. I ended up doing both my undergraduate studies and PhD in physics (string theory, with Erik Verlinde), although I am now in theoretical neuroscience. Most importantly, the IYPT brought me in contact with wonderful people from many different backgrounds – I got a glimpse of how big the world is.

You might also find it interesting to know that I wrote in my report afterwards, “My personal impression is that the mentality of Eastern Europeans is completely different from ours in the West. This mostly meant that the self-righteousness and arrogance which are so clearly present here, were much less with them.” This is an impression I have seen confirmed later in life (speaking in crude generalizations) – that Eastern Europeans tended to have deeper friendships, be more genuine, and be less jaded than Westerners.

During the tournament, sometimes I felt more connected to people from other teams than to my own teammates. (In retrospect, this may have had to do with the fact that I am ethnically Chinese though born and raised in the Netherlands, while my teammates were all Dutch.)

I.M. You mentioned that you have acquired new friends during the IYPT.

W.J.M. I remember playing chess with Denis Irinisth several times. I also believe there was a really pretty girl on either his or on the Hungarian team (or one on both?) whom I was quite smitten by, but I have no evidence to prove this. :-)

Unfortunately I have not kept in touch with Denis Irinisth. I believe he ended up studying physics at the Lomonosov State University in Moscow. If you hear about him from other participants, please let me know!

I.M. I searched for Denis in Russian language and have found some details. He graduated from the Department of Physics, Moscow State University in 1999, he still actively plays chess and recently played at Chessserver.ru, he is no. 61 among 610 participants in their ranking table, he is mentioned as marketing director at Irbis, he is also briefly mentioned as a Novgorod-born Brain-Ring player (an intellectual game, relatively popular in Russia in 1990s) in a LJ entry, there is even a photo, but he is not mentioned as a person on this photo.

W.J.M. Thanks a lot for digging up so much information about Denis!

I.M. Both English and Dutch versions of the problems mention Henry Kissinger as a problem author. Do you feel that it might have been a humorous hoax to be revealed by IYPT participants, or something else?

W.J.M. The English and Dutch versions do not mention “Henry Kissinger”, only “H. Kissinger”. It could be that there is someone else with that name. However, another possibility that I am thinking of is that it is related to problem 6, “Gagarin’s record”. “Suggest the cheapest way of beating this record.” In 1961, Kissinger was Director of the Harvard Defense Studies Program and Director of the Harvard International Seminar. I can imagine that after Gagarin’s success, Kissinger said something about the US having to beat the achievement. I don’t know what and I can’t find any references, but it is possible. You would have to ask the other problem writers from that year.

I.M. It is unlikely that an IYPT activist with that name ever existed. :-) But your other explanation indeed seems to be very realistic.

W.J.M. I do have a few more pages of auxiliary notes, which I did not scan because they did not contain any scores and/or were in Dutch. Let me know if you want them.

I.M. I am not a fluent Dutch speaker, but I can always pick up all necessary details from a page in an unfamiliar language. :-) I would greatly appreciate if you can scan any additional pages and the text of your research project from 1993. It is not very urgent but it is very likely to be helpful in the future. :-)

W.J.M. I am glad that my documents are helpful to you. I would be happy to answer more questions. For me, recalling those days has been very nostalgic – I have very warm memories of the tournament. Thank you for all your research work and for reaching out to participants. If at any point there is a reunion of some sort, I would be happy to join.

I.M. Thank you once again for your great work and for so much information on the 6th IYPT.

W.J.M. It is wonderful that the IYPT has evolved so much through the 1990s and is now still a respected event. I wish you all the best in documenting its history.

W.J.M. The PDF file has the following information:

1. Page 1: the two diplomas I received. One is the first prize I received for presenting Problem 2, “Gravitation”. The second is for our team’s ranking. I believe they are signed by Yunosov but you can read that better than me.

2. Page 2-3: schedule in Russian and English (our team received both versions). You can see that the dates of June 18-25, 1993 are exactly correct.

3. Page 4: invitation letter from Hans Jordens to the team leaders of the 3 schools participating in the national final. He lists the invited countries (besides Russia): Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Great Britain, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Now this was information from May 19th, 1993. This was certainly not the list of participating countries in the actual tournament. I am 100% sure that we were the only team from a Western European country. That means that France, Great Britain, and Italy did not participate for sure. All other countries listed there did participate, some with multiple teams. In total, there were 18 teams according to a report I wrote right after the tournament (discussed below). In the last line, the letter mentions the dates of the national final: June 11-12. The abbreviation SNON means Stichting Natuurkunde Olympiade Nederland, which means Foundation Physics Olympiad Netherlands – they organized all physics olympiad-related events in the Netherlands.

4. Page 5: the certificate given to our team for winning the national final.

5. Page 6-7: problems in English; I believe this English translation was provided to Hans Jordens by the Russian organization. It mentions that the problems were designed by S. Varlamov, H. Kissinger, T. Korneeva, E. Pikersgill, E.Surkov, E. Yunusov, and A. Yarov.

6. Page 8-10: problems in Dutch. They were translated into Dutch by Hans Jordens. The translation seems to be accurate.

7. Page 11: names and addresses of some participants from other teams whom I befriended during the tournament. With Irinisth Denis from Novgorod I stayed in touch for a while afterwards – he was a chess player, like me. People listed: Denis Irinisth (Novgorod), Akmal Nartaev (Uzbekistan), Dima Cougasov (Ukraine), and Aleksey Alkhunsuev (Russia II). I remember finding it incredibly interesting to meet people from many different countries and cultures. I had never met anyone from Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union before, so it was fascinating.

8. Page 12-16: letter from SNON (Hans Jordens) to all teachers of schools participating in the first round. On page 13, you see the ranking of the schools based on the summed scores of their best 5 students. Page 14 shows the individual results of the students from my school, the Willem Lodewijk Gymnasium. (Note that Peter’s last name is misspelled, it should be Haadsma.) Page 15 is the histogram of scores for the first round, across the country. Page 16 shows the histogram of the sums of the scores of the best 5 students of each shool (mean: 109). Note that the maximum possible individual score was 70, so the maximum possible score for a school was 350.

9. Page 17-20: Report I wrote after coming back from the tournament (in July 1993) for our school and for anyone interested (I forgot if it was sent to anyone outside of our school). It is in Dutch but I can translate it if it is important to you. The report discusses our preparation, the trip, how we experienced our stay, how the tournament went for us, etc. Some key points:

  1. On page 17, it is confirmed that we were the only Western team. Literally, I wrote at the time “France, Great Britain, and Italy didn’t show up”. A few lines below it says “In total, there were 18 teams, sometimes multiple from one country. The day after our arrival, the tournament was opened by Yunosov, the great organizer of the entire event.”
  2. On page 19, there are two tables. The upper table shows which problems were presented in each round (in our poule, of course). Rows are the rounds (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, semifinal), columns are the 3 different roles (presenter, opponent, reviewer), and entries are the name of the problem and in parentheses the initial of our team’s representative (you can match these initials with the names mentioned above). In the lower table, you can see again (and more neatly) which teams we met in each round.
  3. On page 19, right above the first table, I wrote that the jury in the final seemed to be somewhat biased towards Georgia, as they rated their presentation about the “Dominoes” problem very highly, which I apparently thought they didn’t deserve. I felt quite strongly about this, since I wrote a full paragraph about it in the report; however, it could well be that my judgment at the time was completely mistaken.
  4. Right below the second table (continued on page 20), I describe the closing of the tournament. “The closing of the tournament was very cozy and amusing. Jordens announced that next year, the tournament would be held in the Netherlands, and Chris Bakker demonstrated the entertaining Mechanics Experiment that we had not been able to present (an “accelerator” using small magnets). Subsequently, the prizegiving took place, in which we received a third prize; some of us also got a personal diploma and a book about Polenovo, a town nearby, where an excursion of the parallel program for the non-semifinalsists had been to. Also, some individual prizes were awarded, among which I received one for the presentation about gravitation.” The Mechanics Experiment refers to what we had prepared for “Think up a problem yourself” (problem 1). I remember being very surprised to be called forward for the individual prize for my presentation of “Gravitation”. The book about Polenovo I still have in my home in Holland.
  5. On page 18, last paragraph, and page 19, first paragraph, I describe our excursions to Moscow, where the metro made a deep impression on me, and the accelerator: “In between [between rounds 3 and 4], on Monday, we had held an excursion to Moscow. After arrival we got a not particularly interesting tour over the Kremlin terrain and several cathedrals there. After that, we had lunch and went into the city by metro. The metro was going very fast. Although something underground always seems to be going faster that it does in realitym because there is no good point of reference, still the speed was very high. Allegedly, 100 to 120 km/hr. The metro is an important prestige object of the Russian state. The metro stations were indeed very beautiful. A ticket for the metro cost 4 rubles (June 1993: 1 guilder is approximately 0.53 dollar is approximately 630 rubles, therefore 1 ruble is approximately 0.16 cent). We visited by ourselves a department store, ZUM, where they sold little else but clothes. After that we traveled back to our hotel.
    The next day there was an excursion to the accelerator. A newer, bigger one was under construction. We got an extremely detailed and drawn-out tour. The afternoon after that, the fourth round took place.”
    Let me add to this that in Moscow I bought a matrushka (the wooden doll which contains a sequence of smaller dolls) for my mom, who still has it. The schedule (p.3) also lists excursions to Polenovo and to Serpukhov, but as you can see i marked them with a “-”, and according to the mini-legend I added on top, that means “not done”.

10. Page 21-30: notes from the tournament. They are very messy and partially in Dutch, but I decided to include them anyway, because they mention which teams we met in each round, and almost all complete scores (in case you are really interested in the details…). Pr or P stands for Presenter, O or Opp for Opponent, and B or Beoor voor Reviewer (in Dutch: Beoordelaar).

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