The International Young Physicists’ Tournament is the ‘Physics World Cup’. Pakistan sends off a team of a five brilliant high school (secondary students) to Yekaterinburg in Russian for the 2016 competition. This is Pakistan’s first entry as a participating team. The project is led by Dr. Farida Tahir of COMSATS’s Physics Department in Islamabad. The team comprises:

  1. Khadija Niazi (LCAS)
  2. Muhammad Shaheer Niazi (LCAS)
  3. Shaheer Akhtar (LGS)
  4. Muhammad Ahad Butt (Karachi Grammar School)
  5. Aliza Shahid (LGS)

The Physlab was excited to host these five budding scientists as they worked on ten interesting problems in preparation for the competition. The students were mentored by Dr. Sabieh Anwar and lab instructors Umar Hasan and Azeem Iqbal while original equipment were built by Hafiz Rizwan. This was during an intensive three month long period where these students were guided towards finding innovative and rigorous solutions to mind-baffling physical phenomena: electric honeycombs, hot water geysers, rollers on rollers, magnetic trains, ultra-hydrophobic water, acoustic metamaterials and mechanical machines to generate random numbers! Sheer pleasure! We wish the Pakistan team the best of luck.

Project Title Ultrahydrophobic water
Students Khadija Niazi, O-Level student, LCAS, Lahore
Session IYPT 2016


Khadija Niazi was asked to set a dish filled with soapy water onto a loudspeaker or other vibrator. When it oscillates, it is possible to hold small droplets on its surface for a long time. She had to describe this behavior and came to the conclusion that various properties help keep these droplets afloat out of which the most important factor is the creation and refreshing of an air cushion between the droplet and water bath. In addition, surface tension differences and hydrophobic parts of the soap help keep the droplet from coalescing. The droplets also exhibit behavior that can be mapped to the behavior of particles at the quantum scale.


Project Title Electric Honeycomb
Students Muhammad Shaheer Niazi, O-Level student, LCAS, Lahore
Session IYPT 2016


Shaheer Niazi was asked to set a vertically oriented steel needle over a horizontal metallic plate into which oil was placed. If you apply constant high voltage between the needle and the plate, a cell structure appears on the surface of the liquid. The system is in a point-plane configuration and the needle is placed at a height allowing partial discharge via corona and ion winds. The ion winds bombard the surface of the dielectric with charged ions, which charge the surface. The interaction between the outer charges, and the charges of the plate cause an instability to occur. This is called the rose window instability. Magnificent patterns emerge on the surface of the oil. Shaheer is investigating the underlying mechanisms.

Project Title Magnetic Train
Students Muhammad Ahad Butt
Session IYPT 2016

11939696_919092211495509_2028985967_nMuhammad Ahad Butt was asked to attach button magnets to both ends of a cylindrical battery. When placed in a copper coil such that the magnets contact the coil, the “train” starts to move. Ahad used a ‘Push and Pull’ phenomena of forces to describe this movement. He further investigated the different parameters that affect the Magnetic Train such as Eddy Currents and Friction.These parameters were altered and the results were used to for graphical analysis. A mathematical model of the train was developed. In addition computer simulation software were used to produce optimal Models of the Train that maximized acceleration, speed and efficiency.


Project Title Acoustic Lens
Students Aliza Shahid
Session IYPT 2016

Aliza Shahid worked on acoustic amplification using a “Fresnel lens”. These are primarily used in optical applications but the IYPT student was asked to investigate its application to focus acoustic waves. The Fresnel lens was manufactured using the 3D printing facilty at Physlab. The design consisted of a flat lens composed of perforated air channels in the form of concentric rings. The sound waves diffract through these channels and undergo constructive interference creating a focal point where an amplified sound can be detected.

Project Title Mechanical Random Number Generator
Students Shaheer Akhtar
Session IYPT 2016

Shaheer worked on making a mechanical random number generator. An electromagnet drops a ball onto a rod that is exactly beneath it, and the ball will fall onto either the right or the left side of this rod. If the balls falls onto the left side, a reading of ‘1’ is taken. And if it falls onto the right side, a reading of ‘0’ is taken. After dropping the ball like this many times, a stream of ‘randomnumbers is obtained.

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Project Title Hot Water Fountain
Students Aliza Shahid
Session IYPT 2016

Aliza also worked on “Hot Water Fountain” problem. It involved creating a hot water fountain using a partially filled Mohr pipette. The hot water raised the temperature of the air column inside the pipette resulting in an increased pressure. As the pipette was turned with its tip upwards, a stream of hot water fountain was observed exiting the tip. Through this performance parameters such as describing the height of the fountain and its dependence on the temperature of water and the volume of air column and optimization to get the maximum height was performed.