Top physicists of the world meet in Estonia

16 July 2012

This week will bring one of the top events in the world of physical science to Tartu and Tallinn – the 43rd International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) will be held in Estonia from today until 24 July. Tartu will also become the world’s capital of physics for a day on 20 July, which is celebrated with a number of exciting events.

“It is a great honour for me to greet the smartest people of the world in Estonia,” said Speaker of the Riigikogu, astrophysicist Ene Ergma. “I hope to see a good competition and that everyone will also have some time to get to know Estonia. I tell all young people – learn more physical sciences, as it will help you succeed in a world that is becoming increasingly more complex and competitive.”

“Not everyone should become a physicist, but all of us should have some understanding of the general and universal laws of nature that make our high-tech society work and form the core of physics,” said Chairman of the Estonian Physical Society Kaido Reivelt. “Physics is also a good part of basic education in the 21st century, as it allows people to understand how to make complex things simple…and also gives them the understanding that complex things really are complex.” Reivelt added that despite the presence of the best young physicists of the world, we have nothing to be embarrassed about – science in Estonia is world class.

Secretary-General of the Ministry of Education and Research Janar Holm said that hosting the International Physics Olympiad and celebrating it with Tartu’s election as the world’s capital of physics is an important achievement for Estonia. “I am probably repeating myself, but I would like to say once again – we want young people to show more interest in the physical sciences, and the events around the Olympiad and the world’s capital of physics should certainly help generate some curiosity,” added Holm.

“I hope that the International Physics Olympiad gives Estonian youngsters the motivation to study the natural and exact sciences,” said the Head of the Olympiad’s Organising Committee, Board Member of the Estonian Information Technology Foundation Ene Koitla.

Tartu will officially become the world’s capital of physics on 20 July, when physics can be found everywhere on the town’s streets. Sir Harold Kroto, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996, will deliver a public lecture in the Vanemuine Concert Hall on the same day.

IPhO (The International Physics Olympiad, is an annual physics competition for secondary school students. The first Olympiad was organised by Professor Czesław Ścisłowski in Poland in 1967, and the International Physics Olympiad has been held in a different country every year since then.

Homepage of the International Physics Olympiad:

The Estonian Information Technology Foundation ( is a non-profit organisation established by the Republic of Estonia, the University of Tartu, the Tallinn University of Technology, AS Eesti Telekom and the Estonian Association of Telecommunications Companies for the purpose of helping to prepare IT specialists with university degrees who meet all modern requirements and supporting ICT education in Estonia.

For further information please contact:

Ene Koitla, Board Member, Estonian Information Technology Foundation, Head of the Organising Committee of IPhO 2012

E-mail:; telephone: +372 51 42 957

Viire Sepp, Director, the Gifted and the Talented Development Centre of the UT, Academic Secretary of the Steering Committee of IPhO 2012

E-mail:; telephone: +372 51 89 951

Kristine Mumma, Communications Bureau of Powerhouse

E-mail:; telephone: +372 52 18 374; 6998 032