Drake’s Physics Prize

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Drake University takes great pleasure in announcing the 2015 Drake Physics Prize Examination. Since 1970, we have been offering this scholarship opportunity to encourage interest in physics, astronomy and physical sciences and to give recognition to outstanding high school students. The awards are:

  • First place —an unrestricted four-year, full-tuition scholarship to Drake University, a personal trophy and the Drake Physics Trophy (to be retained in the high school of the winner for display during the following year).  
  • Second place — personal trophy
  • Third place — personal trophy
  • Honorable mention  —  certificate of achievement (awarded to the next 25 placers)
  • Top 50 seniors — an invitation to apply for a second four-year, full-tuition scholarship, restricted tophysics or astronomy majors, to be awarded based upon overall academic record, recommendations and an interview to be conducted at Drake in April. The runner-up will receive a half-tuition scholarship.
The examination is open to any student enrolled in a high school in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. It will cover topics in physics normally studied during the FIRST SEMESTER of a high school physics course: kinematics, dynamics (Newton’s laws), circular motion, universal law of gravitation, harmonic motion (simple pendulum and mass-spring systems), impulse, linear momentum, conservation of momentum and collisions, work, energy and conservation of energy, torque, rotational kinematics, dynamics and energy, angular momentum conservation, mechanical waves and sound. The principal of each participating school, or his/her delegate, is asked to supervise (proctor) the examination. This should take place at the school at a specified time between Wednesday January 28, and Friday, January 30, 2015. The precise date may be chosen to accommodate the students. All students at each school must take the test at the same time and place. 
Again this year, the test will be administered on the Internet. The exam is given in two parts. Part I is multiple choice with no partial credit. Part II is composed of more complicated problems with multiple-choice answers for which, however, partial credit is given. Students should write their solutions for Part II on 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper. These solutions should be mailed to our department by the proctor. A report of the results will be sent as soon as the grading is completed.  
The proctor who will administer the test should fill in their information on the proctor’s registration page:  http://tinyurl.com/DrakePhysicsPrizeProctor2015
Students wishing to take the test should register online by 1:00 pm, Monday, January 26, 2015. The link to the students’ registration page is:  http://tinyurl.com/DrakePhysicsPrizeStudent2015
The above links can also be reached through the Drake Physics and Astronomy home page:  http://www.drake.edu/physics/ 
Detailed instructions for proctors and students, a practice test with its solutions and a table of physical constants are below.  
For questions, please, email the department at sharyn.oconnor-beener@drake.edu or call
(515) 271-3141.
Correspondence: The Drake Physics Prize, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Drake University, 2507 University Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50311.