The General Director of the Office for the Cultural Exchanges of the Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione, Giuseppe Martinez y Cabrera

The Right Honourable Principal of the University of Padua, Giovanni Marchesini

The Mayor of the City of Padua, Flavio Zanonato

offer a warm welcome to the delegations participating in the thirtieth edition of the International Physics Olympiads, which Italy is proud to host.



The Honorary President of the XXX International Physics Olympiad is the Honourable Luigi Berlinguer, Minister of Public Education, of Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research.

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The city of Padua is, along with Venice, Belluno, Rovigo, Treviso, Vicenza and Verona, one of the seven provinces of the Italian region of Veneto. The city of Padua is situated on a plain with the Alps chain about 100 km to the North, and a group of hills of Vulcanic origin called The Euganean Hills with a number of thermal water springs, at about 10 km to the South. The city itself has plenty of water; two small rivers, the Bacchiglione and the Brenta and many canals flow through it giving some parts of the city a very distinctive feel.

There are excellent links with the rest of Italy and Europe thanks to an important railway junction and two motorways. The foundation of the city probably goes back to 4th Century BC; from 1st Century BC, under the name of Patavium, it became a Roman Municipality and gradually one of the most flourishing cities of the Roman Empire. There are few remains from that era because the city was devastated during the Invasions of Seventh Century AD.

Coming back to life in the Middle Ages, the city hosts in the affrescoes of the Scrovegni chapel the masterpiece of Giotto, master of European painting in the 1300s. The city centre is overshadowed by the Palace of Reason, which was built in 1218 as seat of the court. The upper floor was completely affrescoed in the fifteenth century and is one of the biggest hanging rooms in the world.

Venice is less than 40 km away and can be reached by train in about half an hour. From March to November it is possible to reach Venice, as in past centuries, by water along the Brenta river on whose banks lie sumptous villas which were built during the era of the Venetian Republic.

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A laboratory complex of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics for the study of low energy physics, is situated 10 km from Padua. The laboratory includes among other equipment, a Van de Graaf electrostatic accelerator for heavy ions, an accelerator of the type TANDEM XTV of 18 MV and a criogenic LINAC accelerator, ALPI, which provides beams of heavy ions with energy of up to about 20 MeV. The main experiments in course, concern gamma ray spectrometry (GASP and EUROBALL), mass spectrometry (RMS project), a gravitational wave antenna (AURIGA project) and a sophisticated test of quantum electrodynamics (light - field scattering, PVLAS experiment).

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Both the theory and the experiment test of the XXX IPhO will take place in the study rooms of Padua University. This university is one of the great historical centres of Western Culture in which the "Gymnasium Omnium Disciplinarum" idea was formed which is the university structure now found throughout the world.

The proven origins of Padua Univesity go back to 1222. Differently from other university centres, in Padua the university did not come about ex privelegio which is due to a special licence from the Pope or from the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire but as a spontaneous product whose rights were protected in the thirteenth century by the free town council of Padua, later by the Lords of Carrara in the fifteenth century, and by the Republic of Venice from the fifteenth to eighteenth century.

The motto of Padua University is by rights, "Universa Universis Patavina Libertas" ("Liberty of Padua, Universally and for all"). At the beginning, the University was organised as a free cooperative of students; it was students who approved the statutes, elected the rectors and chose the professors paying them with the proceeds of collections. The choice of professors and relative salary only became the task of the local authorities later between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Since 1873 Padua university has been part of the Italian state university system.

From the fifteenth century a period of particular splendour in scientific and philosophical studies has reigned in Padua and it is in this context that the important contribution of the Gymnasium Patavinum is collocated at the birth of modern science. Both Copernicus and Galileo were at Padua in significant periods of their lives and Galileo taught there for eighteen years from 1592 to 1610.

The seat of Padua University is known as "Il Bo", il bue (ox) in the dialect of the Veneto region and infact an ox head is depicted in the crest of the University. This name derives from the decision in 1493 to unite the various schools of the university in one seat in buildings previously used as hotels with the sign of oxen, "Hospitium Bovis" in fact. Nowadays Padua University has 11 faculties (agriculture, economics, pharmacy, law, engineering, arts and philosophy, medicine, mathematical,physical and natural sciences, pedagogical, political science and stastical science.) There are 38 degree courses and more than 60,000 students.

The meetings of the International board of the XXX IPhO will take place in the buildings of the Physics Department called Galileo Galilei.

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On the 18 July 1999 a welcoming service will be organised for the delegations at the International airport of Venice-Tessera with a shuttle service to take guests to their residence in Padua. Whoever is travelling by plane must organise his journey in such a way as to arrive at the airport of Tessera.

Venice Tessera is the third biggest Italian airport in terms of traffic. There are direct flights from all main European cities and North America. Whoever cannot fly direct might find it convenient to make the Intercontinental flight with the airline Alitalia who also operate internal flights for Tessera from the airports of Rome and Milan. Some European delegations might decide to arrive by train.

Also those delegations who want to have a break in Italy before the beginning of the olympiad might find it more onvenient to arrive by train. Whoever is arriving by train is requested to notify the secretary of the XXX IPHO in good time. On the morning of 27 July, a shuttle service will be provided for those delegations leaving from Venice Tessera airport, from their residence in Padua to the airport.

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Members of all the delegations will be lodged in the student halls of residence of Padua University. All the halls of residence have public telephones meeting rooms and reading rooms. In every hall of residence there will be a service of assistance for the guests of the XXX IPHO.

The buildings of the student halls of residence are situated in the centre of Padua and this will permit the delegations to familiarise themselves with the city in which they are lodged, its monuments and its urban nature. Padua is a small city and trips on foot from the residences to the meeting places are short, on average 15 minutes by foot. However the public services of the town council of Padua and shuttle services will be at the disposal of the delegations when necessary.

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Some delegations will want to come to Italy before the beginning of the exhibitions and stopover afterwards for a tour of Italy. There is plenty of interesting sites all around Padua wich is also only 40 km from Venice and Treviso, 70 km from Verona, 170 km from Cortina d'Ampezzo and the famous Dolomites; during July and August there is an international open air festival of opera in Verona arena.

It will not be possible to use Padua University residences before the 18 July or after the 27 July but the organisers of the XXX IPHO will be pleased to provide further information to help delegations who will want to prolong their stay in Italy after the IPHO.

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Italian cuisine is a mediterranean cuisine: tasty and rich in vegetables and cereals. Who isn't acquainted with pizza or pasta with tomato sauce? They will certainly be found on the menu offered to the delegations of the XXX IPHO; meals will be served in one of the cafeterias of Padua University, and being as the students at this University come from all over the world, the food offered will reflect this international character. Particular attention will be given for those with dietary requirements which are specifically requested at the moment of registration for the XXX IPHO.

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There is a large University clinic in the centre of Padua which could be of assistance in case of emergency or medical need. All medical treatment has to be paid for immediately and the costs can be enormous. Members of the EU benefit from a special agreement but they must see to the necessary documentation in their own country before leaving. All other participants of the XXX IPhO should hold medical insurance.

At the latitude of Padua, about 45 North, it is hot in summer and seeing that there is a lot of water in the area , there are mosquitos in the evenings. Average temperature in late July, on daily mean, is 23.3 C, diurnal max 28.9 C and min 17.7 C; the measured raininess, on average, is 20.8 mm. (courtesy of ARPAV - Meteorogical Centre of Teolo).

It would be a good idea to cover up when walking in the sun and to bring suncream and mosquito repellent.

It is a good idea to bear in mind that the change in diet might provoke disturbances in those who have a delicate stomach and normal precautions like not drinking freezing cold drinks when you feel very hot, should be taken.

There are a high number of chemist's and they can also be found open for emergencies at weekends and during the night.

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The electricity supply in Italy, as in most of Europe, works at 220 V and 50 AC cycles. There are standard sockets but suitable plugs for sockets with earthing, as in figure, are not always available. It is advisable to check the compatibility of razors, hairdryers and portable computers and if necessary bring a suitable adaptor or battery operated appliances.

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The following religions are practised in Padua: Catholicism, Evangelism, Methodism, Judaism and Muslim. The leaders who wish to do so, can get in touch with their respective community for information on religious services. Unfortunately it will not be possible to take into consideration the times of all the religious services when programming activities for the XXX IPHO.

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Italian currency, until 2002 when the common European currency is established, is the lira. One US dollar currently corresponds to about 1,750 lira. In many shops the most popular credit cards, Visa and Mastercard, are accepted, and banks have an exchange service; The opening hours of the banks are from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

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The text in English presented to the leaders will constitute the authoritative text. Translations on paper in other languages as laid out by the statutes of the IPHO will be available. In examination meetings only English will be used. Once the English language version of the examination papers has been completed, it will be made available on computer disks for use by each delegation. Each delegation will have a IBM compatibile pre-loaded computer with a standard word processing package at their disposition. Delegations are invited to bring their own software packages or to use those provided. Only 3.5 inch diskettes should be used.
More detailed information will be communicated at the beginning of 1999.

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Visitors who wish to accompany the delegations to the XXX IPhO are welcome. They will be asked to pay a quota of US$ 1,000 and they will receive the same treatment by way of accomodation and meals as the leaders and can take part, at no extra cost, in the opening ceremony, awards ceremony and excursions organised for the leaders. Visitors are not admitted to the work meetings of the leaders. Observers, that is people who, beside what has already been described also wish to follow the examination meetings and receive the official documentation of the IPHO, will be requested to pay a quota of US$1,100.

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Sunday July 18
Arrival of the Delegations
Monday July 19
Opening cerimony
Discussion of the experimental examamination
Thursday July 20
Practical examination
Wednesday July 21
Local tours
Discussion of practical exam
Thursday July 22
Theory examination
Friday July 23
Saturday July 24
Practical exam moderation
Sunday July 25
Theory exam moderation
Leaders meeting
Monday July 26
Closing ceremony
Presentation of awards
Final party
Tuesday July 27
Departure from Padova/Tessera

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Information on the XXX International Physics Olympiad in Italy can be found at the site


The letters of invitation will be sent out on December 1998.

According to the Statutes the partecipating countries will be asked for a voluntary partecipation fee (3000 USA Dollars).

The delegations who need an entrance visa for Italy should consult their nearest Italian consulate and/or contact for information

Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione
Direzione Generale per gli Scambi Culturali
dr. Angela Benintende
via I. Nievo, 35
00153 Roma

Fax -39-06-584 95836

Messages and requests of an organizational nature can be sent to

XXX International Physics Olympiad
I.T.I.S. "A.Pacinotti"
via Caneve, 93
30173 Venezia Mestre

Fax -39-041-5841272

E-Mail: olifis@no.sctrade.it

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The logo of the XXX Olimpiad was designed by Elena Venturi, a student at the State Institute of Art of Orvieto.
The logo commemorates the electric battery of Alessandro Volta whose bicentenary will be celebrated in 1999 in Como near Milan, the birthplace of the scientist and at Pavia University where Volta was Physics Professor.

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The main sponsor for the XXX International Physics Olympiad is the Ministry of Education, Universities and Scientific and Technological Research.
The organization is being taken care of by the Association for the Teaching of Physics with the support of the Italian Physics Society and the Department of Physics of Padua University. Support for the exhibition is offered by the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Padua University and the Padua Council.

A.I.F. (Association for the Teaching of Physics) , with 1400 individual members, mainly school teachers, and 50 Local Sections has been founded in Italy in 1962 with the aim of promoting and improving the education in Physics. Ad hoc Working Groups and Committees are organized in view of special tasks or with attention to special fields and/or aspects of physics teaching. Since the 1987 a permanent Working Group prepares and manages the italian team for the International Physics Olympiads and organizes the Italian Physics Olympiads, with Senior and Junior competitions among students of the secondary schools.

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Executive secretary
Italian Association
for Physics Teaching