September 15, 2023

Shimadzu Supports International Physics Olympiad (IPhO2023)!
Shimadzu Rika Corporation Manufactures Experimental Equipment for the Contest

Shimadzu Corporation supported the International Physics Olympiad 2023 (IPhO2023), held at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center, by sponsoring an exhibitor booth. Among Shimadzu Group companies, Shimadzu Rika Corporation (hereafter Shimadzu RIKA) helped manufacture experimental equipment used for the official experimental exam of the IPhO2023. The following is a description of the event and the Shimadzu Booth.



International Physics Olympiad (IPhO2023)

The International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) is an international physics competition among high school students from around the world. The purpose of the event is to stimulate interest in physics, improve abilities of young talented students, and promote the advancement of physics education in participating countries through international exchanges. Based on those objectives, the participants engage in solving experimental and theoretical exams during the event and also experience a variety of cultural events related to the host country.

It has been held almost every year since the first IPhO was held in Poland in 1967. This year is the 53rd time it has been held and the first time in Japan. A total of 400 students from about 80 countries and regions tried to take on physics contests.

Chromatography Experiment at the Shimadzu Booth

A Science and Technology Experiment area was set up in the event hall, where the Shimadzu booth conducted the following 3 experiments using chromatography to separate chemical components in substances.

Experiment Description
Paper Chromatography Observing Separation of Dye Components Contained in Black Ink of a Water-Based Marker Pen
Column Chromatography Observing Separation and Preparative Fractionation of the Dye Components in Black Ink (Removing Fractions with Each Component)
Quantitative Analysis of Caffeine Using a State-of-the-Art Shimadzu Nexera Series Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatograph to Measure the Quantity of Caffeine Contained in Beverages, such as Coffee and Tea

Separating and Fractionating Pen Ink

Separating and Fractionating Pen Ink

The students listened carefully a theoretical explanation of chromatography and devices, and learned Shimadzu analytical technologies on hands-on experience. About 100 students visited the booth during the three days.

Shimadzu RIKA Manufactures Experimental Equipment for the Contest

There are experimental and theoretical exams in the IPhO2023 Contest. Shimadzu RIKA made two types of equipment for the experimental exam.

The experimental exam is 5 hours long to tackle with two questions. Both questions require assembling the given equipment for the experiment, operating the equipment based on the clues written on the test papers, and determining a solution based on data indicated by the equipment.

Based on the questions and prototypes which were figured out and made by university faculty, Shimadzu RIKA designed, mass produced, and delivered about 450 sets of equipment to the venue, while also taking into consideration quality and cost.

Equipment that functions as an “Oscillator” for a mass measuring problem

Equipment that functions as an “Oscillator” for a mass measuring problem


Equipment that measures thickness using an optical phenomenon called “birefringence”

Equipment that measures thickness using an optical phenomenon called “birefringence”

Comments from the Shimadzu Corporation Staff

At the Shimadzu booth, the young talented students experienced using chromatography, which is a major tool of analytical science and one of Shimadzu’s core technologies. With all the students full of intellectual curiosity, they participated in everything from simple experiments to learning how to conduct state-of-the-art instrumental analysis with keen interest.

Shimadzu staff also enjoyed answering the successive sharp questions from the students. They all seemed to be enthusiastically engaged and having fun conducting the experiments. Also, as an exhibitor, we were happy to have the opportunity to remind ourselves that “Science is fun!”

Comments from the Shimadzu RIKA Staff

We started developing the experimental equipment for this event 3 years ago under the guidance of the educators that proposed the experimental exam. The most challenging aspect was the COVID-19 pandemic, which made it difficult to obtain various parts and materials and caused increasing cost of those materials. Consequently, we had to review the equipment designs multiple times, and we were able to successfully develop equipment that satisfied the most important criteria of “safety” and “uniformity.”

On the day of the contest, we were able to witness the students being so intensely engaged in solving the experimental exams. It would make us happy if the IPhO2023 and experimental exams will remain as a significant memory of the students. We hope someone participated in the event will drive physics throughout the world in the future.


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