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The History of the AYPT

AYPT

The Beginning

The history of the AYPT starts in the year 1998. In that year the International Young Physicists' Tournament (IYPT) was held in Donaueschingen (Germany).
Prof. Romano Rupp who recently had come to the University of Vienna had been informed about this event by his German colleague Prof. Wolfgang Bürger. So Prof. Rupp wanted to send an Austrian team to the IYPT in Donaueschingen. Through the Board of Education of Vienna one school (the GRGORG Polgarstraße) was chosen to prepare and send a team to the IYPT 1998.

The Austrian team performed unexpectedly well (even though they participated for the first time they reached the semi-finals).
At the IOC meeting in Donaueschingen it became clear that no one had volunteered to organize the IYPT in 1999 so far. So Prof. Rupp suggested to host the IYPT 1999 in Vienna.

The Year 1999 - The First AYPT

In the year 1999 the 12th IYPT was held in Vienna. The venue was the GRGORG Polgarstraße and the Palais Eschenbach in downtown Vienna.

Before that, however, the organizers decided that it would be necessary to have an Austrian qualification competition first. Especially since, being the host country, Austria was allowed to have two international teams that year.

And so in spring 1999 the first AYPT was held in Vienna (Polgarstraße). Four teams participated in this tournament:

The best students from those teams formed the two National Teams for the IYPT. One of these teams reached the Finals of the IYPT 1999.

The Years 2000 and 2001

In the years 2000 and 2001 the AYPT was held in Vienna (Polgarstraße) again. One person who was particularly important for the organization of these events was Dr. Brigitte Pagana-Hammer, who joined the Polgarstraße school in 1999 as mathematics and physics teacher and who was excited by the idea of the AYPT and IYPT from the beginning.

Starting from the year 2000 foreign guest teams were invited to the AYPT to make the tournament bigger and more interesting on one hand and to increase international cooperation on the other hand.

The year 2002 - Foundation of the Association

Two important things happend in 2002:

Due to the efforts of Dr. Gerhard Haas it was possible to realize a proposition by Georg Hofferek to organize an AYPT outside Vienna.
So the AYPT 2002 took place in Leoben, under the patronage of the BRG Leoben neu. The venue was the congress- and seminare-center of Leoben ("Kongresszentrum").

The second important event was the foundation of an officially registered association in autumn 2002. This was done due to efforts of Dr. Brigitte Pagana-Hammer.

The assocation was named AYPT - Österreichisches Turnier junger Physiker.

The main reason for the foundation of the association was to have a legal and administrative basis for the organisation and realisation of further AYPTs.
Prof. Romano Rupp became the first President of the AYPT, Dr. Pagana-Hammer became Vice-President. All members of the Executive Committee and all other persons involved in the organisation of the AYPT work honorary.

The funding of the association is done solely through membership fees, donations and (private) sponsors.

The years 2003 to 2005

In the year 2003 the AYPT was held in Vienna again. The venue was the Lycee francais de Vienne.

2004 the AYPT was held in Leoben (Kongresszentrum) again.

In 2005 the AYPT was oraginzed in Leoben for the third time, due to the generous support of the University of Leoben, which provided the venue.

The year 2006

At the beginning of the year 2006 Prof. Rupp stepped down as President of the AYPT. Prof. Leopold Mathelitsch from the University of Graz became his successor.

Furthermore, the year 2006 was distinguished by increased public relation activities. As a first step in this process, the board of directors decided to implement a new, more catchy name for the association: AYPT.
This new name is supposed to emphasize that the association does not only take the responsibility for the organization of the tournament, but also for preliminarily networking the participants as well as preparing the national team for the IYPT.

Yet another important step in the direction of public relations was the complete redesign of the association's website in summer 2006 at suggestion of Tim Hell.

Furthermore, for the first time an increase in supporting members was registered during the year 2006.

Another important point is the fact that it was decided to make Leoben the long-term venue of the AYPT during the run-up of the AYPT 2006 due to the generous support of the University of Leoben, the city of Leoben and the BRG Leoben neu.

Furthermore, the association filed an application for the official recognition as the Austrian YPT national association with the IOC in 2006. The IOC accepted this application during a meeting in July 2006 in Bratislava (Slovakia).
In the official letter of recognition the President of the IYPT (Prof. Gunnar Tibell) especially praises the engagement of the AYPT in spreading the idea of IYPT to other countries. During the last years teams from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Italy, Poland, Ukraine and Turkey participated in the AYPT. Some of these countries have never taken part in a similar competition before.

The official recognition is a considerable and important step in the history of the AYPT. The association is now the only official gateway between Austria and the IYPT.

The international engagement of the association has also been recognized when the AYPT Vice-President, Dr. Brigitte Pagana-Hammer, was elected to become a member of the IYPT Executive Committee (EC) for a four year term, starting in July 2006. Dr. Pagana-Hammer has represented Austria in the IOC for some years already. Now she has the opportunity to help shaping the future of the IYPT much more actively.

Another thing worth mentioning is the cooperation between the AYPT and the slovak association for YPT in Bratislava, which became closer and more intense over the last years.

Another contribution to the IYPT has been made by Georg Hofferek, who is a member of the AYPT Executive Committee since 2003. By the means of a computer program which he developed he took responsibility for the technical administration of the fights at the IYPT 2005 in Winterthur and 2006 in Bratislava.

The Years 2007 to 2010

The years 2007 to 2010 were brought a steady increase in the performance of the Austrian National Team at the IYPT. In 2007, in Seoul/Korea, the team won a Bronze medal. The year after, the Austrians missed the Finals in Trogir/Croatia by just one tenth of a point. In 2009 the Austrian team made it to the Finals of the IYPT in Tiajin/China. This was the first time since 1999 that an Austrian team has reached the Finals and claimed the title of vice-champion.

Another success for Autria was organizing the IYPT 2010, which was thus held in Vienna, in July 2010. Austria has thus been the first country (except for the Soviet Union, from where the IYPT originated) to host an IYPT for the second time. The occasion was beautifully rounded up by the great success of the Austrian team. Again, the team reached the Finals and claimed the title of vice-champion.

Another sign for Austria's significance in IYPT, which is due to years of dedication on the side of AYPT's members, is the fact that after the end of Brigitte Pagana-Hammer's term as Executive Committee (EC) member of the IYPT, another Austrian has been elected to become a member of this committee. Until October 2014, Georg Hofferek will be an elected member of the EC.

At the end of the year 2010 there were also some changes in the Executive Committee of the AYPT itself, as both President Leopold Mathelitsch and his Vice-President Brigitte Pagana-Hammer had announced that they would not be available for another term of office. Presidency of the AYPT was subsequently awarded to Prof. Martin Hopf.

Prospects for the future

The association will continue to make the AYPT bigger and more publically known in Austria.

Furthermore the association will also continue to spread the idea of the IYPT.

Another important goal is to further increase the number of supporting members.

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