The Oxonians from the University of Oxford secured first place at this year’s preliminary of the international theoretical physics competition, PLANCKS, and will go on to represent the UK and Ireland at the international finals in May. PLANCKS is a theoretical physics competition for teams of three to four undergraduate students and is organised by the International Association of Physics Students (IAPS) and supported by the Institute of Physics. This year, 56 teams representing 34 universities from the UK and Ireland, converged at the University of Liverpool who hosted the largest ever in-person preliminary in February. Dark Fermi Gang 3.0 and Bobo Piggas, both from the University of Cambridge took second and third place.
Over the past seven years, PLANCKS has grown substantially in the UK and Ireland, from a contest of three teams and a dozen participants to a large-scale event that brings together likeminded individuals to share their love for physics and problem-solving. The 2023 preliminaries marked the first time PLANCKS was held in person since 2020. The competition was held online last year and teams from the University of Oxford – The Fences and Hildabeasts – secured second and third place respectively.
As well as sitting a 4-hour exam where participants collaborated in teams to solve ten challenging physics problems, attendees got to hear from a range of eminent speakers including Dr Brianna Heazlewood, Pascale Desmet, Professor Peter Weightman, Dr Nabil Iqbal, and IOP Merseyside Chair, Professor Andrew Newsam.