The French team wins the International Physicists’ Tournament 2022
Alexis Bonnafont, Mattia Mauro, Benjamin Allouche, Valentin Carpintero-Pérez, Julien Tang, Antoine Lacan and Antoine Lardot ranked first in the final of the International Physicists' Tournament. The students from the Ingénieur Polytechnicien program, who represented France, finished ahead of the team from Brazil and the team from Switzerland.
A total of 15 countries were represented at the Industrial University of Santander in Bucaramanga, Colombia, for the 14th International Physicists' Tournament. From 9 to 14 May 2022, the competition aimed to stimulate discussions on physics issues. 17 problems were submitted to the participants ahead of the tournament. For example, they had to explain why a frisbee, when thrown in a certain way, can bounce in the air; or to study the small craters formed when drops of water fall on sand and to extract as much information as possible about these drops of water.
These short, open questions, with no "pre-established" solutions, leave a lot of freedom to the students. They have to find experiments to perform, but also develop and test theoretical models to explain the phenomena. In this task, the students from l'X were helped by their tutors Guilhem Gallot, Fabian Cadiz, Charlie Prétot and Mylène Sauty. "The other French teams that were not selected also brought us the results of their research on certain subjects. And fellow students from previous promotions who had already taken part in the tournament brought us their experience," explains Alexis Bonnafont. This is indeed the third victory for team from l'X in this tournament.
While the students must come up with original ways to solve the problems, they must also be prepared to report and discuss their findings, as any researcher would. Indeed, the tournament consists of a series of "Physics Fights" with three teams taking turns to play different roles. A "reporter" presents his or her team's results on one of the selected problems for ten minutes. An "opponent" listens carefully to this presentation and then asks a series of questions in order to provide constructive criticism. Lastly, the "reviewer" is in charge of moderating and summarizing the debates, which are followed by a jury that grades the performance of each team in this miniature staging of scientific research. "There is a very good-hearted spirit despite the competition, says Alexis Bonnafont. It is also interesting to listen to others present their projects and to meet international people in a scientific context."