Basic Information About FYKOS

What is FYKOS?

FYKOS is a correspondence competition in physics. For you, it represents an opportunity to extend your understanding of physics and to gain insight into new and/or more exotic branches of physics. FYKOS is organized by students of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University in Prague already more than quarter of a century. Its goal is to develop a thorough understanding of physics because one who can think deeply about a problem (not only in physics) and feels a desire to find a solution can be employed anywhere, where the human brain abilities are appreciated.

For whom is FYKOS intended?

All the high-school students (usually at the age of 14-19) anywhere in the world who are fond of physics and are able to communicate in Czech, Slovak or English.

How does it work?

Six times per academic year, you will be sent a booklet with the current problem set and study topic materials. A problem set consists of eight problems. You have about a month to devise a solution. You need to send us the solution by a set deadline. Along with a new problem set you will be sent back your corrected solution with a commentary and our model solution to the previous problem set.

Every year, FYKOS organizers write study materials on a chosen field of physics. Study topics cover more advanced branches of physics such as Quantum Physics, Physics of Plasma or the String Theory. Unfortunately, study materials are currently not being translated into English.

What kind of problems are there in FYKOS?

First five problems are based on the knowledge of high-school students (naturally the ones' who are more deeply interested in physics). As a rule, the first two of them are easier so that a skilful first-year student can crack them (first-year and second-year students also get doubled points for these two problems).

The sixth one is called problematic. It requires thorough thinking through and possibly self-study of something new or searching relevant information on the Internet.

The seventh problem is an experiment. You are expected to design and theoretically describe the experiment but most importantly to carry it out and process measured data (calculate the results, standard errors etc.)

The last problem relates to the current study topic. Unfortunately, the series are currently not being translated to English. However, reading it is not essential to solve the last problem.

What are the solutions supposed to look like?

Write every problem on a separate piece of paper (of size A4) and put your name in the header. If your solution to one problem is on multiple sheets of paper, sign every one of them and add page numbering on each sheet and staple them together (if you plan to send it by postal service). You can also submit it in an electronic format (only pdf is acceptable) using our web form. You can both write your solution on a computer or scan your hand-written solutions to a pdf file. Every problem needs to be written in its own file. Please follow these rules.

How is FYKOS evaluated?

Participants are divided into four categories based on the year of their oncoming graduation. This comes from Czech high-school system of four-years-long studies. FYKOS is a long-term competition. For each problem you get points depending on the correctness and originality of your solution. Each problem has a maximum number of points you can get for solving it (the experiment is awarded the most generously). If one comes up with an original or (highly) elaborate solution he might get bonus points.

Placings are made on the basis of the total point score in every category. Current placings are sent along with every problem set as a part of the booklet. At least 30 best participants will be rewarded at the end of the year with valuable and attractive prizes (technical and popular books, board games, FYKOS T-shirts and the like). Roughly 25 best participants are invited to a FYKOS camp which takes place twice a year somewhere in the Czech Republic.

How to become a participant?

Easily! Just send us a solution to some problems of the current problem set and personal information about yourself (full name, date of birth, address, school and category). If registering through our web form and your school is not on the list, do not be alarmed and let us know, we will add it there. From that time on, you will be being sent following problem sets. You can of course get involved at any time of year but you need to accept the head start of other participants.

It is not necessary to send solutions to all the problems, even a single one is meaningful. Participants who solve everything are rather exceptions. Often, it is useful to send even incomplete solutions.

Why participate in FYKOS?

By participating you gain valuable experience in solving physics problems and a better insight into its core. It is appropriate preparation for other physics competitions (for instance local Physics Olympiads or International Physics Olympiad, alternatively Asian Physics Olympiad). Furthermore, (former) FYKOS participants usually excel at university.

Maybe the most valuable asset is meeting plenty of new friends at FYKOS-organized events, the ones you have a common interest with – physics.

How did FYKOS begin?

In 1987, a group of students led by Pavel Krtouš, supported by Dr. Leoš Dvořák from former Department of theoretical physics, organized the first year of Prague Correspondence Seminar from Physics, first physics' competition of its kind in Bohemia and Moravia. Since that time, tens of MFF UK students, mostly former participants, have been involved in organizing FYKOS. For more information, check our history.

In the beginning, the seminar had only correspondence part. Later, more funds have been raised and the first FYKOS' camp took place. In the following years it has been established that FYKOS holds two camps every year. Other events were introduced as well – A Day with Experimental Physics, A Week with Applied Physics, Fyziklání and others.

The FYKOS camp

FYKOS organise a traditional camp twice a year, in spring and autumn. This week-long event is for about 30 best participants (chosen from each category by the order and the total point score), and it takes place in some beautiful corner of the Czech Republic. You can see yourself below where we went in the past. Participants of the camp spend several days full of exciting lectures on physics and mathematics. And so that the mental burden of students and staff of the Faculty is not too high, everyone (participants and organisers) rest by games, sports and competitions. The professional content of the camp is not purely theoretical, the participants also try real physical experiments.

Participants are chosen on the basis of their total points from the latest three series of problem sets.

It is the camps that are best remembered by the participants and the organizers after years. The price for the camp (apart from the travel expenses) is subsidized by FYKOS – the better you do, the cheaper the camp is for you (the best participants attend for free).

Day of experimental physics

The Day of Experimental Physics (Czech abbreviation DSEF) is a traditional FYKOS event during which you can take a look at physical workplaces at the MFF UK. You have a unique opportunity to see how experimental physics is done in the present. Most often, there are excursions to the nuclear reactor, the electron microscopy workplace, the low-temperature department and the nuclear magnetic resonance workplace, but many others are emerging. The tours will be alternated in each year and will be repeated according to interest and possibilities.

Publications

It's a tradition, that a yearbook is issued every year, where the whole previous year of seminar could be found at one place. From problems' tasks through solutions and serial to list of results and short reports about camps. After first two decades, anniversary sumarizing yearbooks have been issued as well. Unfortunately, yearbooks are available in Czech language only.

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