The University Physics Competition 

The 2019 University Physics Competition

The 2019 University Physics Competition began on Friday, November 1, 2019, at 6pm MDT (Mountain Daylight Time), which is Saturday, November 2, 2019, 12am GMT/UTC, when the problems below were posted.  The contest lasts for exactly 48 hours.  All papers must be received via e-mail before the 48 hours have elapsed by:

Problem A:  Protecting Travelers to Mars
One of the challenges of sending humans to Mars is the significant radiation they would experience during the journey.  Develop a plan for protecting humans in a spacecraft traveling to Mars from most radiation.  To protect a habitable volume of 1,000 cubic meters, how much additional mass would need to be brought on the journey?  Provide a careful and thorough evaluation of your plan and its practicality.

Problem B:  Design a Roller Coaster
You must design a roller coaster ride to be as exciting as possible, yet safe.  The roller coaster will begin with a 20 meter horizontal segment, where passengers board, then climb up a hill to its highest point, taking it to an altitude 30 meters above the starting location. This gravitational potential energy will be the only source of energy for the roller coaster’s motion.  Precisely describe the path that the roller coaster track would follow, through three-dimensional space, and indicate the orientation of the car as it follows this track.  The track must form a closed loop, with the ride ending at the starting location.  At no point may the track descend below its starting altitude.  Analyze the dynamics of a roller coaster car and determine the total duration of the ride.  Use your analysis to make a persuasive case that your design would be safe, but riders would find it to be especially exciting.

Results of the 2019 University Physics Competition will be posted on this page by January 13, 2020.