International Physics Olympiad

It seems that nothing can shake the complacency and sense of unearned entitlement which grips our Political Class. If we were serious people, the results of something like the International Physics Olympiad for high school students would cause some intense reconsideration of educational policies in the US – and in benighted Europe too.

Taiwan team finishes 5th at 2023 International Physics Olympiad - Focus Taiwan

Well, the good news is that the US managed to beat Taiwan, which earned 5th place overall. The US ended up in 4th place, behind China, Russia, and South Korea.

Individual results for this year’s Olympiad have not yet been released, but we can look at individual results for last year’s Olympiad. Out of about 400 student participants from 67 countries, the top 5 individual performers were all from China. American Rishab Parthasarathy came in 6th. The next highest American was Alex Gu, who came in 24th. Third highest American was Evan Erickson, in 38th place.

International Physics Olympiad. 2022 | Scoreboard (

To quote Bob Dylan, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows


The largest gap in scores by a significant amount appears to be between the 5th best PRC student and the 6th place overall finisher.


Here is a collection of problems and solutions from the International Physics Olympiad for the years 1967–2021. Each problem and solution is a separate PDF file.


There is also an International Mathematics Olympiad for students from over 100 countries.

Not surprisingly, Chinese students have been #1 in each of the last 5 years. Russian students were #2 in 2020 & 2021, but apparently have not been allowed to compete since then. In 2023, the rankings were:
#1 - China
#2 - USA
#3 - South Korea
#4 - Roumania

International Mathematical Olympiad (

This raises an interesting question. If the US – or even more so, the benighted once-dominant European nations – really wanted to improve science & math education, how would we do it?


Interestingly, India does not do particularly well.

Iran punches above its weight.


I believe the overwhelming factors for education is parental involvement and intelligence of the student. Culture (valuing education) is also important. Way down the line are things like teachers and facilities. If the curriculum is trash, education will suffer. Thus, it is my opinion that the bureaucrats cannot make education good, but they can certainly harm education.

The smarter parents will move to locations with good schools, private schools or simply do the job themselves. Something like 10 to 12% of US students are homeschooled. The number of students homeschooled was rapidly growing before COVID, but for obvious reasons nearly tripled during COVID.

It seems to me that free online resources are already better than the vast majority of teachers. I think [Micheal Saylor explained](
WKWtuZELKxz6uFkC) this at the college level, but the same thing applies at all levels.

Home schooling is the free market at work and no government operation can withstand competition.
The results speak for themselves (see below graphic). The public school system will be crap and we will be paying superintendents and teachers a hell of a lot of money to baby sit.