UC Physics Hackathon

Berkeley Society of Physics Students

About the Competition

UCPH is the first ever UC Wide physics Hackathon organized by SPS at Berkeley. Teams get 39 high-octane hours to meet peers from other UCs, experiment in an unrestricted setting, apply classroom knowledge, and win money!! Participants are asked to develop theory, build and improve experimental setups, take data, and computationally analyze the results to confirm or refute their theory. Any resource is allowed, except other people. The only person you may discuss with is your team member.

Interested? Teams consist of 2 people and can register for the competition here. Deadline to register is March 12, 2021. Any number of teams may participate from each UC campus.


Team Presentation Timing

Allotted Time (minutes)Sub-Event
8Team Presentation
3Peer Grading


Teams choose 1 of 3 problems to explore during the tournament. Problems take inspiration from the physical and mathematical beauty of the world around us. Each problem has theoretical and computational components, such as those at the 2021 International Physicists' Tournament, but please note that our problems are more defined and much more accomplishable within 1-2 days.

Prior theory and coding knowledge is not necessary (but helpful). Both are approachable and can be learned during the competition. Relevant theory can be learned by skimming research papers and Googling. YouTube and Google can help you find excellent resources for learning the essentials of Python coding (such as W3 Schools)


Any presentation format is allowed, but a slideshow is recommended due to the virtual, Zoom format. Emphasis should be placed on clearly communicating your prompt, theory, experimental setups, data analysis, and interpretation of results. You may find pictures, videos, tables, graphs, and formulae useful in this process.


In the spirit of scientific discourse & collaboration, teams will participate in peer-grading. Each team will have access to a document visible only to them and the organizers where both team members will give scores for each of the other teams. An example spreadsheet can be found here. Anyone found to have plagiarized will be disqualified.

Grading is based on two parts: the team presentation and following Q&A. When grading the team presentation, consider how well experimental data was collected/analyzed and the strengths or assumptions of the theory. General discussion questions should be constructive, seeking to clarify presentations or work towards better solutions

Team PresentationsScore (1-5)
All Parts of Prompt Answered?
Theoretical Basis
Experimental Setup & Data Collection
Data Analysis & Interpretation of Results
General DiscussionScore (1-5)
Scientific Discourse & Civility
Usefulness of Discussion
Final Score3/4 Team Presentation + 1/4 General Discussion


For more information, contact our competition coordinators, srkadam "at" berkeley.edu and sid.mal "at" berkeley.edu.

Past UC Hackathons