IAPS 2022-2023 Interviews jIAPS

An Interview with Niloofar Jokar (IAPS Events Manager)

Here’s the latest in the series of EC Interviews – the jIAPS Editor-in-Chief challenged themselves to interview all of the EC members before the end of the year. This one was completed on time, but we’ve only just got around to uploading it. 

This time, it is the turn of Niloofar, the IAPS Events Manager, to be interviewed:

What are you currently studying?

I’ve just graduated from my Bachelor’s degree in Physics, Astroparticle Physics subdivision, at Isfahan University of Technology in Iran. I’m looking for the next step for graduate studies and considering options for PhD.

What does your role as IAPS Events Manager involve?

My main task is to supervise, maintain and assure that all events are completed successfully, and to support every Organising Committee (OC) along the way on behalf of the EC. This may sound cringy, but it often feels like a motherhood experience where you feel equally and deeply responsible for every single detail about each event as if it’s your child but you also believe in the OCs, respecting them to thrive freely and have their own creativity towards a successful event. To state the obvious, the events IAPS organises would not be as great without their amazingly dedicated and skilled OCs. The role of the Events Manager is to be present in the background, providing support and guidance, and making sure that everything is going well.

Every single IAPS event is close to my heart – I want to be available 24/7 to them. It doesn’t matter whether they have an IT or a financial issue, or if a hotel is not going along with the room bookings, it is my responsibility to jump in. The Events Manager also has the knowledge and connections to direct the OCs to more skilled people in a particular area.

Which events have you supported this year?

ICPS 2023 (International Conference for Physics Students), PLANCKS 2023 (Physics League Across Numerous Countries for Kick-ass Students), IPT 2023 (International Physicists’ Tournament) – they are the main ones, the major ones in 2023. I also joined IAPS4Materials and represented IAPS at the ‘Women of the World in Physics!’ Event, the second edition of which will be jointly organized by IAPS. There are also the events from the previous year which I have a smaller contribution to, completing the final steps of PLANCKS 2022 and ICPS 2022. Then, we are continuing the process for PLANCKS 2024 and ICPS 2024.

What is your favourite event that you have supported as IAPS Events Manager?

That is like asking which is my favourite child – once again all of the events are close to my heart. I got to experience PLANCKS 2023 in person and it was amazing. I’m also looking forward to ICPS 2023. All of the events are great!

At PLANCKS 2023, you had to introduce IAPS at the Opening Ceremony. Do you enjoy the public speaking element to being IAPS Events Manager?

In IAPS, the community is always friendly and warm, making you forget about the worries of a big stage. So since the beginning I found any presentation very comfortable and enjoyable, which is honestly the best practice for soft skills improvement. As soon as I stand up to speak, it feels like talking to a big group of friends!

What are some of the biggest obstacles of supporting events?

This is completely different with smaller events and major ones. With major events, these are big projects, and you have a team of very dedicated people involved for two years. As the time gets closer to the event, the pressure becomes really high. The role of the IAPS Events Manager is to dial down the pressure and by clear guidance make sure that the OC feels supported. As for minor events, I would say an obstacle is to maintain consistency as these events must take place more frequently. For these OCs, members are expected to remain in the project in a shorter period of time. This means a totally new OC composition is required for the next edition in only a few months. So once the project is over, finding a new OC and transferring the knowledge may be a bit challenging.

Who do you have to work closely with in your role as Events Manager – both on the IAPS EC (Executive Committee) and beyond it?

Outside of the EC and before the OCs, the Events Secretary is the main one, aware of the details of the job obviously as the main source of assistance for the Events Manager; however, the IAPS Events Manager is connected to almost all areas of IAPS and you have to remain in really close contact with everyone involved. I’d have to name all the EC members… Who do I have to work most closely with on the EC? I’d say Cyrus (President), Mario (Treasurer) and Gabriel (Vice-President and Recruitment Officer). 

On the management side, I have to keep in contact with the president(s) of each OC. There were times when we had meetings with the OC of a major event which lasted two or three hours – these meetings were long but a blessing and absolutely essential. The details of the event become very important. You have to work long hours for these meetings and it may seem really strange, but I suppose that’s the side of the story unseen by many. From these long meetings, you sometimes feel closer and attached to that event even more than you already have, which is a beautiful experience on its own.

I’ve just thought of another question from that answer – approximately how many people have you become in close contact with through being IAPS Events Manager that you wouldn’t have spoken to otherwise?

How many? Many, many people… I don’t think I can put an accurate number on it. I’ll go with fifty or more, regarding people I’ve worked with directly – and maybe twenty people I have been contacting as a weekly routine and know well – but I’m sure it’s more than that. These are the people I’ve spoken to regularly. 

What skills do you need to become IAPS Events Manager?

You need a complete set of skills! The most important is perhaps time management – you have a lot of tasks and ongoing projects, as well as projects which have already happened and those upcoming events. The workload is no joke. Also, the ability to communicate with different OCs – each is from a different country, with a different culture which is very exciting; they are truly international. It can be a challenge to choose the pace each OC feels comfortable to go with while securing the success of the tasks; so you definitely need communication skills and time management on top of everything else.

How can IAPS members get involved with organising events?

It’s very simple: just drop an email to If you have a brand new idea for an event, we’d love to hear from you. The EC is there to guide you, as the organising committee of an event, and to provide support for you, so you can learn step-by-step as you organise the event. Organising events may seem scary from the outside, but the EC is very supportive and can show you the way. You shouldn’t be hesitant about contacting us – whatever idea you have within IAPS context, we’ll find a place for it!

How have you found the experience of being part of the IAPS EC?

It has been quite a challenging experience for me this year. There have been some environmental difficulties in my country which have provided some serious challenges and affected my work pace as well. But even though this happened to me on a personal level,… how can I phrase it? IAPS is more than an association. I have gained friends for life. I am grateful for the support of my fellow EC members. I’ve learnt lots of lessons and definitely enjoyed this experience. This is more than a community; it is like a family. You are involved in so many things for such a long time, it really helps to form unbreakable bonds. Having such valuable friendships touches upon personal development as well.

What has been one of your best moments as part of the IAPS EC this year?

The ending of the Mulhouse meeting* – it was the first time we had all met each other. By the end of the meeting, we really felt like a team, gathered together and backing each other up. When you’ve been working for a year together and only meeting through the screen, it’s hard to create the human element of the community. Meeting in person was amazing. 

*You mentioned the Mulhouse meeting. Can you summarise what this is?

Sure! IAPS as an association has its official seat in Mulhouse, France, where the headquarters of the European Physical Society (EPS) is located. The Mulhouse meeting is a memorable and important time of the year when the respective IAPS EC of the term gather from all around the world to meet in person in the headquarters of EPS, in order to have constructive discussions over the work plan of the term and much more. It usually happens a few months into the EC term, around December.
In a nutshell, it means about a week of highly intense and productive meetings in Mulhouse, nice IAPS stickers EVERYWHERE, accompanied by even nicer people but very bad weather, ending it all with a wholesome EC photo in IAPS t-shirts (no jackets on!), in -1 °C outdoors in front of the EPS building, questioning your life decisions – things we do for IAPS!

The bids for PLANCKS 2025 and ICPS 2025 are currently open. Can you summarise why people should bid to be the organisers of one of these events?

In a nutshell, it’s awesome. Both are very huge projects. The process takes two years, plus the aftermath. At the end of the day, it leaves you with a very valuable experience. The result of your work is something which people, as participants of the event, remember for a long time. On the surface, it is just a conference or a competition, but it’s actually a life-changing experience – I’m not exaggerating here. These are actual words we’ve received from participants. It’s that beautiful. You as an organiser of these events get a chance to gain and create awesome experiences for physics students around the world, and an amazing time for everyone.

The interview concluded with reminiscences of previous IAPS events.

IAPS 2022-2023 jIAPS

jIAPS Creative Contest 2023 Runners Up

Michaelson Drawing Category

Supernova in the Sky by Anika Goel, University of Kansas

Indian-born artist and scientist, Anika Goel is a fourth year undergraduate senior at The University of Kansas, completing a double major in Visual Arts and Astronomy with a minor in Art History. Having a strong background in fine arts, Anika enjoys exploring the unseen colors of nature hidden behind the seen matter through a surrealist composition in their work. Being an astronomer, Anika also likes to portray their curiosity for the abstract essence of the universe in their multimedia works. 

My artworks are meant to be perceived by the subconscious. One of the ways I achieve this in my work is to highlight the colors found in nature and the universe. For a large majority of people, including myself, space is the ultimate escape, it is explored out of pure enjoyment and curiosity, and thus provides for an excellent all-encompassing medium to hold the weight of the complex human heart. It brings an element of surrealism to my artwork which ties it closer to being a dreamy complexity. 
Supernova in the Sky, 9in x 12 in, Collagraph on Paper is a piece of work that invites the viewers to learn and admire astronomical phenomena beyond the Earth. A supernova is a giant catastrophic explosion which destroys a star at the end of its massive life. An eruption so colossal that even a naked eye could spot one happening millions of miles away.  In the summer of 2022, I got the opportunity to intern for the Space telescope Science Institute and I worked on the spectroscopy of type 1bn supernova 2020nxt. This experience really brought out my admiration for these objects and since then I have been using them more often in my artworks.

Giovanna Truong, Yale University

Sabato Writing Category

Ethan Kimelheim, University of Delaware

We Make Time = We Make Space
‘How is it that a person can run out of space
Space we know is an endless place
Minkowski proposed that space and time are the same
And this theory of space-time reflects our cosmic domain
If the saying “we make time” has any traction
We cannot ignore a transitive action
So if we can make time, we can also make space
And thus, we cannot run out of space in this case’

Bhavya Pardasani, University of Illinois


this is the story of my play date, 

a millennium long date  

it was a starry void  

(only you know if it was day/night)  

when i heard the final call

“it. moon you’re the keplerfully 

play date of it. earth.”  

i wanted to whine, deliver  

a few centuries short rant  

about our universal  

ancestors playing cupid with 

a nanosecond-old but your greenish 

blues had captured me from  

first sight 

my world’s been revolving  

around you since my embryo  

days. anyway i swirl  

anyway i twirl, my craterous  

eyes only have you  

in my north-south 

east-west sight.  

your children use me 

to serenade their lovers,  

and here i revolve  

elliptically in and out  

of your hindsight  

i have seen you wax,  

seen you wane,  

sometimes gibbous,  

sometimes crescent.  

but when you are new  

your beauty astounds me.  

(you might have donned  

the invisibility cloak  

but your children  

meander around like  

fireflies that crave  

my whole attention)  

then why am i known  

as the white orb full  

of craters, and a thief  

that shines brightly  

on your crush’s  

borrowed light?

despite my existence  

you have been having  

play dates with it.sun 

(who is an eight-timing  

bastard with no shade).  

i have been your loyal  

revolver since millenniums,  

then why is it.sun  

the center of your universe?  

why do i feel like the third  

ball in this elliptical love  

triangle? am i even good  

enough to be a hindrance  

in your play dates  

with your crush?  

Maybe i am meant  

to be the pasty white  

weirdo with big dark  

zits (i’m in my teenage,  

what did you expect?)  

who comes out at night  

to pervertedly say  


Huygens Photos Category

Zhiwei Huang, University of Surrey

The photograph captures the beauty of sunflower oil droplets stabilised by Tween 20 in water. The striking contrast between the yellow and grey droplets is particularly eye-catching. The yellow droplets, which are sunflower oil dyed with beta-carotene, stand out against the background and add a vibrant pop of colour to the image. In contrast, the grey droplets are undyed sunflower oil, adding depth and interest to the composition. Overall, this image perfectly captures the technical aspect of the process and the beauty of the final product.

Schrödinger Category

Sophie Gresty, University of Liverpool

Lego art. Image of ATLAS event with 4 pileup vertices in 7 TeV collision made out of Lego, for wall art (65cm by 104cm).

Lydia Dixon, University of Surrey

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Misc.-Runner-up-Lydia-Dixon-University-of-Surrey-UK-ii-624x1024.jpg

Crochet blanket containing key words from Lydia’s placement year.

IAPS 2022-2023 jIAPS

jIAPS Creative Contest 2023 Winners

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s jIAPS Creative Contest. We received so many fantastic entries that the judges had a difficult decision choosing the winners. Some of the prizes to the jIAPS Creative Contest this year were generously provided by Prof. Jim Al-Khalili. You can see the winning entries below.

Michaelson Drawing Category

Darina Öö, King’s College London

Read the whole comic strip here.

Sabato Writing Category

Mackenzie Tigwell, McMaster University

Read the whole book here.

Huygens Photos Category

Jan (Jack) Beda, University of Edinburgh

Photograph taken on a phone with a polariser in front of the camera. Shows a set of scotch tape layered on top of one another and placed in front of a computer displaying a white background. The computer acts as the first polariser, the second polariser is in front of the camera. Black dots visible in the middle and top right of the image are pieces of my black table that got caught up in the tape when I was putting it together.

Find a video of the polarised light here.

Schrödinger Category

Darina Öö and Priyanka Jorge, King’s College London

Find the winning music video here.

IAPS 2022-2023 jIAPS

jIAPS August Article of the Month – Searching for the Invisible: New Dark Matter Detector Unveiled

Author: Darina Öö, King’s College London, UK

With the capability to detect elusive dark matter particles, the newly developed detector, as tall as Big Ben, marks a potentially significant milestone in the search to understand the mysterious nature of the universe.

Dark matter is one of the biggest mysteries of the Universe. Astronomers have been trying to understand it for decades. They’ve figured out how many stars and how much gas there is by measuring the radiation they give off; but when they calculate the gravity of stars, galaxies, and galaxy clusters, the numbers just don’t add up. They’re too massive.

So, what’s wrong? Well, there are two ways to look at this. One is to say that there’s matter in the Universe that we can’t see with our telescopes (which is referred to as dark matter). The other is to change our understanding of gravity. Most experts choose the first option. And who can blame them?

Rewriting the laws of physics is no easy feat. Plus, every time scientists try to explain one observation with a new law of gravity, they end up contradicting another. So, the idea that there’s some invisible matter out there seems like the better choice.

Most astronomers assume the existence of dark matter. What does it consist of? Could it be objects common to the cosmos, too dim for our telescopes? Black holes, brown dwarfs, something like that… Undoubtedly, they also contribute to the invisible matter of the Universe; except that there is five times as much dark matter as ordinary matter (1).

We know something about the eras when the first atomic nuclei and atoms were formed; and based on this knowledge, there simply cannot be as many atomic nuclei in a cubic parsec today as the dark matter requires.
True, these calculations are not completely reliable. There are some rough edges there that you can grab if you want to. Astronomers do not dismiss the possibility that it is not dark matter that is fundamentally invisible, and that our telescopes are not sensitive enough.

But what if the preachers of cosmology are right, and dark matter does not consist of atoms or nuclei? Then we’d have to admit that it’s made up of some other particles.

Figure One: An artist’s illustration of different dark matter candidates (2).

Physicists have a number of candidates for this role, see Figure 1. In their attempts to go beyond the Standard Model, theorists have accumulated a whole zoo of particles that may exist, but they are not certain.

Imagine that space is literally swarming with invisible particles. They pass through our bodies in an endless, huge stream.
Why don’t we notice this? Because these particles almost never collide with atomic nuclei or electrons. And only very sensitive detectors, specially designed for this purpose, can register them.
Well, it might be that they are no longer science fiction…

The AION (The Atom Interferometric Observatory and Network) detector, see Figure 2, is designed to detect such dark matter candidates – ultra-light bosons with a sub-eV mass such as dilatons, moduli, relaxions, as well as axions (3-4).

Figure Two: Official logo of the AION project (5).

AION’s proposed solution is a next-generation atom interferometer that employs the superposition and interference of ultra-cold strontium atoms, the same used in state-of-the-art atomic clocks (4).
However, such particles interact weakly and for them to enter into such interaction with an atom, it must literally crash head-on into the atomic nucleus. This is an extremely unlikely event, but these are the very rare cases that AION is designed to catch.

According to the New York Times: “The best way to shift the odds, as well as seek out a wider range of potential particles, is to make the equipment bigger.” And AION takes this to a whole new level (6).
The first stage of the project is to build and commission a 10m detector and develop the technology for a 100m detector located in a mine shaft (4). Just imagine a detector the size of Big Ben underground! The ultimate objectives would be a full-scale terrestrial kilo-meter detector and a satellite-based detector (3).

1. Cooke, M. (no date) Doe explains…dark matter, Department of Energy’s Office of Science . Available at: (Accessed: April 17, 2023).

2. Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova. Four things you might not know about dark matter [Internet]. symmetry magazine. [cited 2023Mar7]. Available from:

3. An Atom Interferometer Observatory and Network (AION) [Internet]. Aion @ imperial: Home. [cited 2023Mar7]. Available from:

4. Badurina L, Bentine E, Blas D, Bongs K, Bortoletto D, Bowcock T, et al. IOPscience [Internet]. Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics. IOP Publishing; 2020 [cited 2023Mar7]. Available from:
cernblind. CERN accelerating science [Internet].

5. The AION Logo | Drush Site-Install. 2022 [cited 2023Mar7]. Available from:

6. Whipple T. Scientists seek enlightenment in the deepest, Darkest mine [Internet]. The Times & The Sunday Times: breaking news & today’s latest headlines. The Times; 2022 [cited 2023Mar7]. Available from:

IAPS 2022-2023 Interviews jIAPS

An Interview with Mario Gaimann, the IAPS Treasurer

For the latest in the series of jIAPS Interviews, the jIAPS Editor-in-Chief interviewed the IAPS Treasurer. Mario is studying for a PhD at the University of Stuttgart and the International Max Planck Research School for Intelligent Systems (IMPRS-IS).

Interspersed with IAPS tales and discussions about the jIAPS Photo Competitions, Mario answered the following questions: 

Why did you decide to do a doctorate?

I chose to do a PhD because I wanted to dive deeply into an interdisciplinary scientific topic. My project is on physics-inspired machine learning; the method is called reservoir computing. It can be used to perform time-series prediction tasks, even for cases where a prediction is very difficult to make – for example for chaotic systems, like the Lorenz attractor. For an introduction, I recommend this article in Quanta Magazine. The core of my work is replacing a neural network reservoir with simulations of physical systems. This way, we can understand the learning system in physical terms, tune it, connect its physical characteristics with its learning behavior, and potentially construct novel devices for unconventional computing in the future.

I started by studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Materials Physics at Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. Then I studied for a Masters’s degree in Physics (with a focus on biophysics) at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, Germany. So I started by studying dead matter, then went on to studying living matter, and now I’m studying what makes matter “intelligent.”

What’s your favourite thing about IAPS?

Meeting people from different countries and cultures; going abroad and talking to new people… My IAPS addiction began in 2016, when I attended Lights of Tuscany and visited Pisa and Florence. I met physics students from Italy and other countries. I enjoyed being part of the community. That’s what I like about IAPS.

What are some of your IAPS memories?

When I was studying in the UK, I went to iaps4fusion, which was really cool. We visited the Culham Centre for Fusion and saw the tokamak. Then I attended ICPS in Turin, Italy – ICPS is cool and crazy! [Please ask Mario for his ICPS anecdotes, we’re not recording them here! – Editor] And bringing so many physics students to Munich, Germany through contributing to PLANCKS 2022 was truly amazing.

Why did you decide to apply to become IAPS Treasurer?

I have an interest in financing student events. It started with PLANCKS 2022 in Munich – Monique Honsa asked if I’d be interested in joining the organising team. I didn’t have much experience in finances then, though I’d co-organised some events, e.g. the DPG-Schülertagung (a national conference organized by physics students for high school students) in Germany in 2020. Through volunteering, I gained lots of experience: designing the budget, contacting sponsors, working in an international team, and learning about legal and fiscal details of association law in Germany and France.  

And when did I meet Cyrus [the current IAPS President – Editor] and how does that come into this story? Well, like me he was part of the committee which organised PLANCKS 2022. He was thinking of running for IAPS President and asked me if I’d consider joining the EC. Initially I wasn’t sure… I mean, it’s lots of work. In the end, I decided: let’s do it! 

For me, IAPS is not just some hobby. It’s about being professional and absolutely reliable, representing international physics students and always acting in the interest of our members. 

What can IAPS members request funding for, and how do they do this?

There are currently two grants available. First, you can apply for a grant to run an international event for IAPS members. At least 40% of the participants should be from a different country than the host country. IAPS can award grants of up to €1000, with the grant funding no more than half of the total budget. The international event can be anything from a summer school, to excursions, workshops or an iaps4x event: iaps4materials, iaps4fusion… You just have to present your budget, draft your programme and plan how many students you want to attend your event. 

You can find more details about how to apply here.

The other grant is for Outreach activities. For example, the School Day annual event, where you can receive funding to go into high schools and tell school children about physics, and do experiments; or the school children can visit your university. There’s also the International Day of Light, or you can come up with your own idea and receive funding for currently up to €300. 

I also encourage members to apply together with IAPS for an International Activity grant with the Council of Europe’s European Youth Foundation (EYF), please contact me (or future IAPS treasurers) if you are interested.

What’s the strangest thing someone has requested money for?

As surprising as it may be, we’ve only received requests for solid, sensible things this year… All I can think of is that at PLANCKS 2023, someone came up to me and said that they’d heard that IAPS has the funds to pay for their private travel after PLANCKS had finished. I don’t know where they got the idea from, but I thought they seemed serious, though it sounded like a joke. Our budget is limited in IAPS and will only be spent in the interest of our members! I had to decline their request of course. 

[Editor – I also overheard conversations at PLANCKS with people asking IAPS Treasurer whether he could fund their dinner and drinks and other things, but let’s not go into that… ] 

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of joining IAPS?

Just do it! 

All you need to create IAPS events in your area are some physics friends, then you can form a local committee. You could organise small talks. In my local groups in NC Germany, we had events where you had a quiz-show style ‘answer questions against your professors’.

Be active, go to IAPS events! If there are no events, create events!

To get started you don’t need much; you just need motivated, engaged students, ideally with an international perspective. And of course you can also join IAPS as an individual.

What skills do you need to be the IAPS Treasurer?

Being IAPS Treasurer… What is takes a sense of responsibility. You have to be professional and have a true commitment to the role. It has happened in the past that a Treasurer has not been reliable and it has horrible consequences for the whole organisation; so I would say: if you do it, do it properly. 

It is quite some work, but there are so many benefits to being Treasurer of IAPS – you get to contact lots of people. You have some influence in shaping the spending of IAPS (within what has been approved at the AGM and in the end, the whole EC has to vote… but your opinion matters. If you say ‘no, we don’t have the budget’, people will listen to you). 

You get to go to some cool meetings – for example, I recently attended the Mid-Term Meeting 2023 of the International Science Council in Paris and got to meet representatives of so many international associations. You get to represent IAPS and have a lot of fun. I focused on potential partners who could support IAPS and on connecting with organizations in the Asia-Pacific region to make the ICPS 2023 in the Philippines more known. But I also met people from international associations I had never heard of: the International Union For Quaternary Research, which is about studying the ice age, the International Union of Speleology, an international body for caving… People you’d never meet, you can meet through IAPS. 

Any last words?

IAPS has a great network – you have friends in the whole world. If you need help applying for an internship or a placement, you can ask on the IAPS Discord and people answer you and provide support. The benefits are infinite! 

For only €10 a year, you can become a full member – join IAPS now! [You can check whether your country has a national or local committee on the IAPS website, and you can  join the IAPS Discord for free – Editor] 

IAPS 2022-2023 Interviews jIAPS

Interview with Zlatan Vasović (IAPS Fundraising Manager and Archivist)

The current jIAPS Editor-in-Chief has been interviewing IAPS EC members. Now it is the time for two Editor-in-Chiefs to interview each other. Zlatan Vasović was the jIAPS Editor-in-Chief last year in 2021–22, as well as the IAPS IT Manager. He is now the IAPS Fundraising Manager and the Archivist (and spoiler alert, he is hoping to apply for a position to continue in IAPS next year).

 jIAPS is currently looking for next year’s Editor-in-Chief. Could it be you? Email us at for more information on how to apply. 

What do you consider to be the most important aspects of IAPS?

What makes IAPS unique is that it is truly international. Through IAPS events, like ICPS and PLANCKS, you can meet people from the whole world. One aspect is less known and harder to access: becoming an IAPS volunteer, by joining a working group, the EC (Executive Committee) or jIAPS [Especially jIAPS; that of course is the most important aspect to IAPS – Editor].

What is the most challenging thing about being the past Editor-in-Chief?

Answering the questions from the current Editor-in-Chief, especially when she messages me every day and when I don’t know what to expect from the questions. I take it as a challenge and I love to see how jIAPS is developing.

I know you are always on the IAPS Discord, messaging people. How many IAPS members have you messaged in the last 24 hours?

About 20… but that includes people from NC Serbia and the EC. It was a busy day though. 

What do all past jIAPS Editor-in-Chiefs have in common?

One common trait is that they have a lot of interests – they are quite curious, versatile and multi-skilled. They can do a lot of things and be successful in all of them.

 What has jIAPS done this year that you would have done differently?


Actually, I’m not dissatisfied with anything in jIAPS. There are two main things I would have done differently: I would have pushed for a separate jIAPS website, like a real news site [For context, the plans for this have been ongoing for  while and haven’t reached completion yet, and it doesn’t look like it will be happening anytime soon – the IT Working Group has lots to do]. 

The second would be more online meetings. I am just addicted to online meetings, so I would’ve run them more often, like every two weeks. [What’s the record we are on now? Is it a grand total of three meetings since last August? – Editor]

What is your advice for anyone who is interested in applying to join the EC?

Go through the website, read the information about the roles there. Read the reports from people who have previously held the position [These are on the IAPS Cloud. If you don’t know where to find this, just email – Editor]. Reach out to the current EC members – the most recent source of information is the person who is currently in that position. And don’t forget the internet – just google around and find more information about what that role is supposed to do in general.

[What a technical answer… definitely an answer from an Archivist – Editor.]

You recently attended the finals of PLANCKS in Milan. What was your most memorable moment from this IAPS event?

The culinary exercises while everyone else was doing theoretical exercises – as the observers at PLANCKS, we had to prepare lunch for the competitors. It was a nice way to bond and connect with the other observers. We were split into teams preparing different kinds of food. I enjoyed organizing my team in the most efficient way possible, to finish our task first. It was a fun experience – food connects people.

What non-IAPS and non-physics activities do you do in your free time?

None. I don’t have any free time… okay, alright. My true hobby is socializing with people. Sometimes it’s mixed with work, but I just enjoy meeting new people.

I am a big fan of movies: not the mass produced ones, but high quality ones. Besides that, I like searching for random things on the internet and learning new things every day. [Other hobbies Zlatan has includes annoying Editor-in-Chiefs on a daily basis and lurking on the IAPS Discord waiting for new messages to be posted – Editor.]

Which movies do you most enjoy watching?

A lot of them, actually. Some of them are classic films, like Casablanca and the Godfather; then others are less well known, but still high quality, like some Serbian and Yugoslav movies. Then there are some films which are in many ways bad but still have something interesting or unique about them. Need movie recommendations? Message me on Discord!

Was there anything during your time as jIAPS Editor-in-Chief which didn’t work?

There were things we started doing and never finished, or planned to do and never did. It shows that throughout the year, you have to reassess your priorities. 

For example, we were slow to set up the online edition of jIAPS, only publishing one or two articles on the website… but that works well this year. We also thought about sponsors. To be financially sustainable, jIAPS could have advertisements. But that didn’t work out, not yet.

What is your favourite part of your role as IAPS Archivist? 

No one sees me. I can just hide in the archives, and it’s a refreshing change from the other roles I’ve had in IAPS. The most interesting part is that you get access to all the records of IAPS and can find out what happened in every year since IAPS started. It’s a great power and you have to use it carefully.

How do you overcome challenges in IAPS?

It’s not much different from the other challenges in life. I learn about the challenge, get more knowledge and skills, and then I can overcome it. Just like in your studies, you can learn more advanced topics from the current year, which in the previous year would have been a challenge. Now you can overcome that challenge.

 By this stage, Zlatan was starving and wanted to go and have dinner, by don’t worry, all is not over – this article only includes half of the interview. The other half, with Zlatan as the interviewer, is yet to come.

IAPS 2022-2023 Interviews jIAPS

An Interview with Dimitris Gkavakos (IAPS IT Manager and DPO Officer)

The jIAPS Editor-in-Chief is enjoying interviewing the EC members so much that we already have another interview for you. This time, the  jIAPS Editor-in-Chief interviewed Dimitris, IAPS IT manager, who is currently studying at the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. 

The interview opened with a sneak preview of the most recent developments in the world of IAPS IT and a discussion of possible future plans for jIAPS.

Then, the actual interview started. The jIAPS Editor-in-Chief began with the usual opening question…

What are you currently studying?

I’m studying Medical Physics. To be more exact, I’m doing a small piece of research on a Gamma Camera, but thinking of shifting my focus towards neural networks and image reconstruction techniques, especially with all the fuzz on AI. 

What is your favorite part of your role as IAPS IT Manager?

When I first took over as IT Manager, I had a completely blank canvas. There was room to create stuff and provide space to build things. It was the most amazing experience!

What does your role involve?

I can divide the tasks into two categories: first, developing new resources; making them from scratch; the creative tasks; like designing elements of the website  and creating new resources. Then there’s the ‘boring’ stuff, like maintenance and debugging, and doing the sysadmin stuff.

What are your tips for overcoming challenges as IT Manager of IAPS?

You need to think outside the box and always assess possible risks. So, focus on maintaining things and keeping them running, rather than fixing them when they break down. Work smart, not hard.

What have you enjoyed the most about being part of the EC?

Being a part of the EC was more of a self-actualization thing for me; I really love to provide and care for people. Especially now that we provide for physics students across the world, you might think that we differ a lot, but in reality the phrase is “Different continents…same problems”. 

Also by joining the EC you get the chance to meet some truly amazing people and some very interesting characters – the knowledge and cultural exchange is on another level.

What skills is it important to have to be part of the EC?

Time management is really important. You have to be able to keep to a strict schedule or you’ll be a goner. Being a team player and balancing tasks and supporting each other is necessary… it can be stressful at times; keeping that family vibe is very important. IAPS is just like a big family. What else? Do I need to think of another one? Communicating and being able to express yourself – that’s a big one. If you lose communication, it causes a lot of problems; a lot of problems. Communication is critical. 

What is it like being part of the EC?

…what’s it really like? 50% of the time is spent dealing with bureaucracy and the other 50% is spent listening to the Treasurer’s obsession with fund-raising. 

What has been your biggest success this year?

Being elected as IAPS Data Protection Officer (DPO); nah I’m messing with you. For me, overcoming the biggest challenge of IAPS IT infrastructure. Basically we managed to migrate to a different hosting provider, containerized everything and we have backups on top of backups. Before that, if something crashed, you had to pray that it would start again.

What is the role of the DPO?

Basically, it involves looking through the GDPR legislation. Every organization has one to ensure that the organization follows the legislation. In addition to that, the DPO acts as a legal in house advisor, assisting in creating Data Processing Agreements.

What advice would you give to someone who was considering the role of IT Manager?

Go for it! Just be sure to know the basics of sysadmin, PHP and network security. Without those you are a goner.

How can people get involved with the IT Working Group?

It is very simple: hit me up on Discord or throw me an email at

What advice would you give to someone who was considering joining IAPS?

When I first joined IAPS, I joined as the President of an already made NC (Greece). I started my journey through physics associations from EPS Young Minds and the American Physical Society, then I landed on IAPS.

If you ask me, why should you join IAPS…

IAPS has one of the most heart warming communities in the student association world, not just in Physics. You have the opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills and support your activities on a local level.

Aside from the aforementioned, IAPS is also a great opportunity to learn how to run an NC or an LC, join a Working Group and transfer the knowledge back to your country. The knowledge that we have has been battle tested from the late 1990s.

Article of the Month IAPS 2022-2023 jIAPS

jIAPS July Article of the Month: How Low Can We Go? – A Brief History of Nano-Scale Printing

Zofia Dziekan, University of Warsaw, Poland

The ability to create physical objects using 3D printers has taken the manufacturing industry by storm and opened up new ways for innovation in a variety of fields (1). But as impressive as it is to print a functional bicycle or a complex medical implant, some researchers have been pushing the limits of this technology in a different direction: down to a nanoscale. With nanoscale printing, we can create structures that are smaller than the width of a human hair, with intricate details and unique properties. In this article, we will explore the history of nanoscale printing, the underlying physics of this process, and the exciting possibilities it offers for the future.

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Fig. 1 Size comparison between (A) regular (2) and (B) nano-scale 3D printed object (3).

The Physics of Light-Matter Interactions

In 1930, a young mathematician – Maria Göppert-Mayer attended a Max Born seminar at the University of Göttingen (4). Mesmerized by quantum mechanics, she dedicated herself to the pursuit of theoretical physics, eventually becoming one of four women awarded the Nobel prize in Physics. While today she is best known for her work in the Manhattan Project and her postulation of the nuclear shell model, it is her earlier work that is of interest to our story. Göppert-Mayer’s groundbreaking research into molecular excitation, explored in her doctoral dissertation, demonstrated that molecules can be excited by the simultaneous absorption of two photons with energies smaller than the difference between the excited and ground state (Fig. 2A). Despite the lack of high-intensity light sources to test her theory at the time, Göppert-Mayer’s work laid the foundation for future discoveries. Three decades later, the invention of the laser finally provided the tools necessary to observe two-photon excited fluorescence for the first time in CaF2 crystal doped with europium atoms (5).

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Fig. 2 (A) Energy levels involved in one-photon and two-photon absorption (6). 

(B) One-photon and two-photon absorption of fluorescent die (7).

The Pulsed Lasers

The two-photon absorption process involves two photons instead of one, making the probability of absorption proportional to the intensity squared (5). As a result, increasing laser power has been crucial in the development of application for two-photon absorption. Pulsed lasers have been a game-changer in this regard, with their ability to release high-intensity bursts of energy that can be precisely controlled in terms of duration and frequency. Unlike their continuous-wave counterparts, pulsed lasers can vaporize materials without causing thermal damage, making them an indispensable tool for surgery and laser material removal (8). 

3D Printing Through Direct Laser Writing

In the late 1980s, researchers started investigating the potential of using pulsed laser technology to create nano-scale 3D printers (5). One promising technique that emerged in this process was direct laser writing (DLW), a form of 3D printing in which a focused laser beam scans over the sample in three dimensions until it solidifies the polymer solution into the desired shape. To fabricate structures below the diffraction limit, the intensity, duration and frequency of the laser pulses must be precisely controlled to achieve two-photon absorption that would initiate polymerization. The material is polymerized only in the focal spot of the beam where its intensity is the highest as stated previously, and the probability of the process grows with intensity squared (Fig. 2B). This small volume in the focal spot of the beam is known as a voxel and it serves as a building block of any 3D print in DLW (7). 

By moving the laser beam, it is possible to polymerize photosensitive material point-by-point, creating complex structures that are just several microns in size. Just imagine tree-lined avenues, dozens of miniature buildings and little polymer people comfortably sitting on a single strand of hair! It is truly incredible that there is no other method that allows printing on this scale. The resolution of the process is limited mainly by basic properties of an optical setup and material properties. Since its inception, nano-scale printing has come a long way and has found numerous applications in various fields, from micro-robots to drug delivery systems (9 – 10) (Fig. 3). While the technology still faces challenges, including a limited range of building materials and slow printing speed, continued research and development promise more exciting applications in the future. The history of nano-scale printing is a testament to human ingenuity and the power of scientific discovery – and who knows what incredible breakthroughs we’ll see in the years to come!

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Fig. 3  SEM images of objects fabricated using DLW. (A) Medical imagining system build by inserting into a needle an optical fiber with 3D printed lenses (9). (B) Light-fueled robot that can walk and jump, placed on a human hair for scale (10). (C) Microfluidic chip designed for the fabrication of drug carrier nanoparticles (11).


1. S. Mohr and O. Khan. “3D printing and its disruptive impacts on supply chains of the future.” Technology Innovation Management Review 5.11 (2015): 20

2. [Internet] Available from: 

3. Doherty RP, Varkevisser T, Teunisse M, Hoecht J, Ketzetzi S, Ouhajji S, et al. Catalytically propelled 3D printed colloidal microswimmers. Soft Matter. 2020 Dec 14; 16(46):10463–9. 

4. Sachs R.G. Maria Goeppert Mayer – A biographical memoir. 1978. 

5. Liao C, Wuethrich A, Trau M. A material odyssey for 3D nano/microstructures: two photon polymerization based nanolithography in bioapplications. Vol. 19, Applied Materials Today. Elsevier Ltd; 2020. 

6. Lavocat J.C. Active Photonic Devices Based on Liquid Crystal Elastomers. Dec 2013.

7. [Internet] Available from:

8. Shirk MD, Molian PA. A review of ultrashort pulsed laser ablation of materials. 1998. 

9. Gissibl T, Thiele S, Herkommer A, Giessen H. Two-photon direct laser writing of ultracompact multi-lens objectives. Nat Photonics. 2016 Aug 1; 10(8):554–60. 

10.    Zeng H, Wasylczyk P, Parmeggiani C, Martella D, Burresi M, Wiersma DS. Light-Fueled Microscopic Walkers. Advanced Materials. 2015 Jul 1;27(26):3883–7. 

11. Erfle P, Riewe J, Bunjes H, Dietzel A. Goodbye fouling: a unique coaxial lamination mixer (CLM) enabled by two-photon polymerization for the stable production of monodisperse drug carrier nanoparticles. Lab Chip. 2021 Jun 7; 21(11):2178–93. 

IAPS 2022-2023 Interviews jIAPS

An Interview with Gabriel Maynard, IAPS Vice President and Recruitment Officer

The Editor-in-Chief is continuing to make their way around the EC. Read the latest interview below:

What are you currently studying?

Well, today I am not studying – I’m in the transition period between the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs. In the autumn, I’ll start an Erasmus Mundus Master’s in Planetary Geophysics. I would like to emphasize my career towards Environmental Physics, as that was the focus of my four year undergraduate degree course at the University of Costa Rica . It’s nice to have a break – I was overwhelmed with choice at the end of my degree. Plus, I have time for other projects, including IAPS and NC Costa Rica. 

Which committee was it the most rewarding to recruit?

It’s the most rewarding to me working in the NC here in Costa Rica. Recruiting other committees in Central America and working with them to create a community, with the potential to grow is also very rewarding.  

Have you been involved with the recruitment of anyone who has gone on to do anything significant in IAPS?

Well… I helped to recruit most of the current EC! There’s NC Greece. I did the process of upgrade from LCs to the current NC, and Dimitris [current IT Manager] is part of that NC; then LC Singapore – Soe [External Relations Officer]; and LC Santo Domingo – Thara [Secretary, also see jIAPS’ interview with Thara]; and NC Guatemala – Marisol [PR Manager]. Have I missed anyone? [And that’s just the people on this year’s EC! – Editor]  

Which committee is the most difficult to recruit?

There’s one which we’ve devised a solution for, but they are stubborn. They want a national committee, but that would be a political statement… and then there’s the case no one talks about which is extremely difficult or impossible to recruit.

Which other tasks, apart from recruitment, have you been involved in?

I was the Data Protection Officer for half a term. It was only for a short time and it wasn’t much work. I’m also on the AC5 Council, organising meetings and trying to move further with the collaboration with IUPAP. As you know, I am Vice-President which has its set of tasks, including helping with the planning of the Mulhouse meeting and connecting with external relations. I’m helping with trying to organise another IAPS2CERN trip which is providing a challenge. There’s a financial problem with the organisation of that – it’s not one of IAPS’ major events, so it is more difficult to find sponsors who are willing to subsidise the laboratory visit [If you, dear reader, happen to be a millionaire, or know of any potential sponsors, please do get in contact with us –  Editor].

Which IAPS event have you enjoyed the most?

I really enjoyed PLANCKS 2022 in Munich. It was really special to see people from the committees you have recruited participating in the competition and enjoying the event. It was very rewarding, especially seeing countries from outside Europe becoming more involved in IAPS. 

PLANCKS 2022 was also the first time Costa Rica participated in person. They selected a team and entered the competition… and it’s fantastic to see it keep improving. Costa Rica participated this year too.

There were also so many activities at PLANCKS and I saw plenty of friends. 

How do you convince new members to join IAPS?

Depending on the area, I say different things. If they are in Latin America, I tell them about the events we are hosting. Then there’s the grants you can apply to in IAPS. I also promote that it is beneficial to have a greater representation from their continent in IAPS, and how they can use it as a platform for future collaborations and to improve their countries. For everyone, I mention the main events IAPS organises, and then the regional engagement and planning of events too. 

What are some of the skills you have learnt from being part of IAPS?

One of the benefits of IAPS has been learning management skills. I’ve learnt how to propose projects and have gained hands-on experience. Being part of the IAPS EC has changed my worldview completely. I have gained new tools and learnt so much.

On average, how many emails do you send a week relating to IAPS?

It varies a lot… maybe about ten a week. Some weeks it is only about three or five. Probably at least ten a week. This isn’t including messaging – that would go off the chart! [The Editor has just checked their email headcount and it is also at least ten IAPS emails a week]

I heard you recently completed some field work as part of your course. What was it like?

I completely like field work. You never know what is going to happen, whereas, in a lab, you have a very controlled environment. You also get to take nice pictures. 

It was a comprehensive experience. Sometimes we had to wake up at 3am and get on the University transport to go to a far-off place in the country. We had to take our measuring equipment with us which weighed about 20 kg and plant the stations we were setting up. This was done to measure carbon dioxide and methane fluxes from the soil to study the interaction between soil and boundary layer in different environments. The stations were to measure Greenhouse Gases in real time. Usually it was very hot – about 30 °C – and about 97% relative humidity so we were all sweating so much. 

[Here, we lapsed into a tangential discussion about snakes. The conclusion is that if you like snakes, go to Costa Rica. If you don’t, come to PLANCKS next year in Dublin.]

One funny story about the field work… we were setting up a station when we could hear a buzzing noise. We were in a field, with trees around it. The buzzing noise was getting stronger and stronger. “Let’s not panic,” said the professor, “Those are killer bees.”

“We’re going to finish setting up,” he continued, “and then run.”

He then encouraged us to start working faster. The buzzing noise was all around us, coming from all directions – we didn’t know where to run to, but we finished the task and got out of there. 

Can you think of anything unusual you’ve had to deal with in your role?

Well, there’s one thing that was very surreal and bothered me.

One Individual Member who was trying to sign up to join IAPS was very intense, following the procedure. There was lots of emailing and it was quite problematic. Then I received a WhatsApp call at 2am. I woke up in the middle of the night and thought ‘who’s calling? Who is this who has got my number?’ It kept calling, about seven times.

All they needed to do was to pay the ten euro membership fee, by either bank transfer or PayPal. This started a whole month of missed calls. They wanted guiding through each small step to pay by PayPal… at that point, I lost patience. ‘I don’t care! Leave me alone!’ I thought… so I gave up and paid the fee for them. ‘Just go away.’ [Note – don’t expect Gabriel to pay your membership fee for you. You have to annoy him sufficiently to get that result, and next time, he is likely to resort to a different tactic instead.]

The lesson here is to never give your phone number in a situation to do with IAPS. 

What is your favourite thing about your role?

I really enjoy engaging with more physics students and hearing the reality through their perceptions of IAPS. I like knowing the different perspectives and connecting with students. 

Thank you so much Gabriel! 

[Gabriel then left the video call to have a well-deserved lunch break, whilst it was the end of the day for the Editor-in-Chief, who returned home and typed up this interview.]

IAPS 2022-2023 jIAPS

jIAPS June Article of the Month Part Two: Which of these Trucks are Driving?

Author: Ali Mohammed Redha, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia

Overthinking a Simple Question

Figure 1: Showing a famous post popularized by World of Engineering social media accounts asking: “which of these trucks are driving?” [1]

1 Motivation

You have probably come across this post (Figure 1) somewhere on social media. It is a famous “trick question” that is meant to stir up discussions, of which there are many. I came by this post numerous times, often going to read the comments, be amused by how many incorrect answers to the question, and then moving on. Being a physicist, I knew the answer and it was as clear as it can be. Having such a question answered incorrectly most of the time was not a big deal, as the question is meant for fun. 

Recently, I came across the post again on Instagram, this time as part of a Ramadan daily quiz made by an academy that I am part of. I waited anticipatingly for the results to be announced. The answer was announced, and it was “C”. “Hmm…Surely they are not serious”, I thought. An attempt by multiple participants was made to clarify the correct answer, but the organizers insisted on the answer. In the end, the clarification attempts failed, and the answer remained “C”.

Although it has been a while now since that incident, I still have it roaming around my head. “The question is simple. How could they have gotten it so obviously wrong?” Thus, I decided to dig deeper into the problem, hoping to find an answer.

2 What Exactly Does the Question Want?

When a physicist thinks about a problem, they immediately start thinking about the exact meaning behind the question. Here, we want to know which of these trucks are moving in the indicated direction. 

Based on your background, this is either “very easy” or “impossible”. The obvious answer is “A” is moving backward, “B” is stationary, and “C” is moving forwards. Problem solved right? Not quite. There are more details underneath this problem than what is immediately thought. Let us take into consideration all the different cases instead of talking about the problem abstractly. Consider this thought experiment.

Imagine you are in a car and the car is stationary. Suddenly, the car starts accelerating fast reaching 100 km/h in 5 seconds, what will happen to you? You will feel a strong pushback due to inertia, almost clinging you to your seat. This is similar to the case “C” in the question. Imagine afterward the car stays moving steadily at 100 km/h for a while. Then, all of a sudden, the brakes are hit, and the car decelerates to 20 km/h in 5 seconds, what will happen to you? You will feel a push also caused by your inertia, but this time it will push you forward. Think about it, the car was still moving forward, yet you felt a push forward. This is like case “A”. We have shown that both cases “A” and “C” are possible to be moving in the forward direction. 

Even case “B” is possible to be moving forward. Imagine if the car brakes are not hit, and the car keeps moving at 100 km/h for a long time. What will happen? You will stay still as if you are not even moving. As you can see, all of the cases are possible to be moving in the direction stated in the problem. Except there is more to it than just this.

Consider now that everything is reversed. The stationary car, with you in it, starts moving backward reaching 100 km/h in reverse. What will happen to you now? You will feel a push forward (opposite the direction of motion). If the car then stays moving at that speed for a while, you will feel as if you are stationary. And again, when the car decelerates from 100 km/h to 20 km/h, you will feel a push backward (with the direction of motion). This means that all the cases are possible to be moving in the opposite direction as well!

It can get even more counterintuitive, as one can make an argument that they all can be stationary, and it would be true in certain circumstances. For a physicist, this should not be surprising, as physics tells us everything we need to know about these answers.

3 The Physics Behind It

In physics, motion means the change of position in the direction specified and that has a name. We call it velocity. So, to answer the question, we need to know the direction of the velocity of each truck. However, the three images given do not give any indication whatsoever about the direction of the velocity. Instead, it gives us the direction of the force applied to the liquid, or in other words, the direction of the acceleration.

According to Newton’s first law, a stationary object would stay stationary, and a moving object would stay moving at constant speed unless a net force acts upon it [3]. This in a way, is the case “B”. A moving object with constant speed cannot distinguish (physically) whether it is moving or not. This is known as the principle of relativity (first made famous by Galileo Galilei) [2]. This means that we cannot physically sense speed (by touch at least). Newton’s second law gives us what an applied force does, and that causes acceleration [3]. Acceleration is the change of motion (velocity). A change backward would give us the answer “A” and a change forward would give us the answer “C”, due to the famous phenomena of inertia. See, this does not tell us in any way what is the direction of velocity. The directions of the velocity and acceleration are independent of each other. So, in each of the three cases, the object can be moving in any direction. As a matter of fact, it can even be moving sideways, vertically, or even at an angle! 

If you go back to the post, the answers with the most likes are those saying all choices are possible [1]. In fact, some say that the wording of the question supports this answer (“are” not “is”). However, some other comments come up with a good counterpoint. The question says “driving” and generally, driving is done by hitting the gas pedal, not the brakes! Therefore, the answer is “C”. Maybe this is what the organizers meant in that answer? To that I say, yes you got a point. But I would still argue that the answer is not just “C”, not just from the previous argument (as the car still can decelerate even with pushing the gas pedal), but also for another entirely different one. Let me show you why.

4 Overthinking the Question

For those observant, there is a slight flaw in our theoretical experiment. We used a solid object – you dear reader – as a replacement for the liquid in the problem. And this is a technical issue in the experiment, as liquids behave differently than solids. 

Liquids, unlike solids, do not have a fixed shape. And so, a force acting on a liquid would produce vastly different results than a force acting on a solid. A rigid solid object would remain intact upon a simple touch, and a liquid, like water would start vibrating, with waves rippling on its surface. That is just a simple touch of the hand. A strong force would cause a larger vibration on the water’s surface and would cause its shape to deform significantly. 

Now apply this to the case we have. The truck is stationary with all the liquid on it, then it starts accelerating strongly forward abruptly. The liquid will be pushed backward at first, but upon hitting the back of the container will start waving back and forth. What we will get is chaos, in the logical and physical sense. The motion of liquids in such cases is chaotic, similar to tossing a coin or using [4]. Hence, case “C” would not be replicated precisely during a forward acceleration of the truck. If you take 1000 images of the truck accelerating forward, maybe you will be able to replicate image “C”, except do not hedge your chances of having it stay constantly the same. Fun fact, you might be able to get images of “B” or even “A” if you were lucky enough! Things need to go a specific way, but it is possible! Thus, you might be able to get images “A”, “B” and “C” in the same “photo shoot”. Even with the notion that hitting the brakes is not driving, we still got all the images which means all of the answers are possible. Let us take one more thought experiment to explore another possibility. 

5 Overthinking It to Absurdity 

Imagine the truck with the fluid inside it, and we take that truck and shake it violently. After that, we let it rest in a pure isolating chamber, where it cannot interact with anything at all. During this time, we took our special x-ray camera and took a large number of photos (theoretically an infinitely large number of them). If we then filter out these photos, we will see the three cases among them. The point is that the force applied on the truck does not have to be by the truck (engine) itself. It can be caused by other means. 

The complexity of the problem does not stop there. I mentioned previously that the reaction of liquids to forces is chaotic, meaning it depends on many factors. These factors include, but are not limited to: the type of liquid (determining its density, viscosity, etc.), the volume and temperature of the liquid, the material the container is made of, the type of gas (if any) with the liquid inside the container and its temperature, ambient air temperature, wind currents, amount of sun radiation incident, the surface of the road and the tiers, vibrations caused by the car engine and motors, and the remaining is left for the reader to figure out as an exercise [5]. This adds layers upon layers to the already, too complicated simple problem . 

6 Conclusion

The final answer to this question is: all and none of the above (this is a first!). This problem highlights one trick of mother nature. How our senses fool us and build our intuition on a physically incorrect notion. This is why we have to be careful when dealing with physics, as more often than not, physics can be counterintuitive (which in and of itself is counterintuitive). Ultimately, the answer to this question does not matter. It is for fun. What matters is how people perceive this problem. Everyone is going to understand it in their unique way, which opens the floor for some great discussions. It is astonishing to come across a question occasionally where there can be no winner or loser. Just different perspectives on a fascinating, tricky problem. In such a scenario, the true winner is everyone who got enlightened by a nice, eye-opening discussion. Not everything has to be a competition after all… and yes, I did write this to prove a point.

7 References

[1] World of Engineering. Which of these trucks are driving?: 2022 Nov 14 [cited 2023 April 27] [Tweet]. Available from: @engineers_feed. 

[2] Wikipedia contributors. Principle of relativity [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2023 Mar 27, 20:46 UTC [cited 2023 Apr 27]. Available from:  

[3] Glenn Research Center. Newton’s Laws of Motion [Internet]. Glenn Research Center – NASA. [Cited 2023 May 21]. Available from: 

[4] Bishop R. Chaos. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; 2017 Mar 21 [cited 2023 May 21]. Available from: 

[5] Wikipedia contributors. Fluid dynamics [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2023 May 4, 18:13 UTC [cited 2023 May 21]. Available from: