HKUST Department of Physics is playing an important role in training the Hong Kong teams for the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) since 2004 and Asian Physics Olympiad (APhO) since 2007. Up to and including 2023, the Hong Kong teamsunder the mentorship of the HKUST Department of Physics were awarded an aggregate of 142 gold, silver, and bronze medals in IPhO and APhO competitions.
Since 2005, we organized the Pan Pearl River Delta Physics Olympiad, simultaneously held in Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macau. Students from elite secondary schools in Mainland, Hong Kong and Macau participated in this competition. With an increasing impact in recent years, the number of students increased to around 700 in 2017.
In 2016, we proudly host the 17th Asian Physics Olympiad during 1-9 May 2016, APhO's first time in the city, and supported by the Education Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Physical Society of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education. During this exciting and meaningful event, 193 students from 26 (mainly) Asian countries and regions participated in the competition, the largest in the history of APhO. During APhO 2016, student contestants participated in both theoretical and experimental competitions. Besides, cultural activities were scheduled for students to learn about scientific and technological developments and get to know the city, cultivate friendships and relax.
Experience showed that these competitions had life-changing impacts on students. Many of them went through the training and the competition with minds sharpened and confidence boosted. Subsequently, they developed their potentials after graduation from high schools. Many of them continued to take postgraduate studies in Physics and other subjects in world-class universities. Apart from academic challenges, the Olympiads offered opportunities for students to broaden their vision. Through building international friendships, they became more understanding, more curious, and more tolerant of other cultures, and viewed themselves as members of an international science community.