Apparatus Competition


1. All members of the AAPT are eligible to enter the competition. Non-members may enter if they are sponsored by a member.

2. The Director(s) and judges may display apparatus but may not enter the Competition for judging.

3. Apparatus whose description has been previously published is ineligible for the Competition.

4. Apparatus which is in commercial production by a manufacturer is ineligible.

5. Entrants are not required to be from academic institutions. However, it is the responsibility of the Director(s) to inform nonacademic entrants that their entries can only be accepted subject to the condition that they will not be used for publicity or promotional purposes.

6. There is no restriction on the number of entries that one person may enter.

7. There will be two categories of entrants:

A requirement for accepting entries to the unlimited cost category of the competition shall be a written description, which will allow for the duplication of the apparatus and which is suitable for publication.

8. Competition entrants must provide all pieces of apparatus necessary to exhibit and operate their entries. Sixty hertz, 110 AC electrical outlets will be provided on request. Special services, such as running water and compressed air, will be provided if available at the site of the Competition, but the costs of all special services must be borne by the entrant. Requests for special services must be made on the entry form.

9. The Director(s) shall provide for reasonable care of equipment entered in the Competition. However, the AAPT cannot be held liable for loss or damage to equipment.

10. Entries submitted by persons unable to attend the Competition will be unpacked and set up by the director(s) and Apparatus Committee members consistent with directions supplied with the exhibit. At the close of the Competition it is the responsibility of the Director(s) to see that these entries are repackaged for return shipment at the expense of the entrant. Unaccompanied entries from outside the United States will be accepted, but due to customs difficulties, return of the apparatus cannot be guaranteed.

11. Entrants must abide by the instructions issued by the Director(s) of the Competition including submission deadlines.


The AAPT must guarantee the safety of visitors to the Apparatus Competition. To that end we must request that the following rules be observed:

a. Exhibits should not leave exposed any electrical contacts which could cause injury if touched;

b. Exhibits should not include any chemicals that could cause injury if inhaled, ingested, touched, or contacted by eyes or other sensitive parts of the body;

c. Exhibits must be sufficiently stable so that the probability of any part of the exhibit falling or coming apart is negligible;

d. Exhibits should not leave exposed pieces of apparatus which are so hot that injury could result to a person touching the apparatus; e. Exhibits must not include features which could explode as a result of either chemical or mechanical interactions; and

f. Exhibits that use lasers must include protective devices that make it impossible for injurious laser light to enter the eye of the observer.


1. All apparatus should have a professional appearance.

2. You should provide simple operating instructions and/or explanation to display near your apparatus. The judges are influenced by your ability to tell viewers how and why the apparatus is used.

3. The description for the Introductory Laboratory Apparatus, Lecture Demonstration Apparatus, and Advanced Laboratory Apparatus should be suitable for publication in a professional journal. The ideal length seems to be two to four pages.

4. Judges will have a solid background in physics, but should not be expected to have studied the theory behind each apparatus in depth.

5. In the past, some entrants have chosen to stay with their equipment during the public viewing to clarify the operation and theory of their apparatus. This is optional.