Physics & Astronomy

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Scholarships & Physics Prize

Since 1970, we have been offering the Physics Prize to encourage interest in physics and physical science and to give recognition to outstanding high school students.

The awards include:

  • First place: An unrestricted four-year, full-tuition scholarship to Drake University, the Drake Physics Trophy* and a personal trophy 
  • Second place: Personal trophy 
  • Third place: Personal trophy 
  • Honorable mention: Certificate of achievement (awarded to the next 25 placers) 
  • Top 50 seniors: Invitation to apply for a second four-year, full-tuition scholarship, restricted to physics or astronomy majors, to be awarded based upon overall academic record, recommendations and an interview to be conducted at Drake in April. 

*The Drake Physics Trophy is a traveling trophy and may be retained in the high school of the winner for display during the following year.

The Drake Physics Prize Test is primarily given to students in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and select areas in Illinois, Texas, and Colorado. Students outside of these areas are also eligible to participate, but should contact the Drake Physics Department at 515-271-3141 or It will cover those topics in physics that would normally be studied by students during the FIRST SEMESTER of their high school physics curriculum.

The principal of each participating school, or his/her delegate, is asked to supervise the objective-type examination, which should be done at your school at a specified time in January. The precise date may be chosen to accommodate your students. However, we require that all students at your school take the test at the same time and place to avoid academic dishonesty.

Again this year, the test will be administered on the Internet. The exam is given in two parts. Part one is multiple choice with no partial credit. Part two is multiple choice composed of multiple problems for which partial credit is assigned. Students should write their solutions for part two on 8½ x 11 paper and these should be mailed to our department by the proctor.

The person who will administer the test (proctor) should fill in their information and obtain further information on the Proctor's registration page.

Students wishing to take the test should register online.

Further instructions will be sent to students after the registration is complete. If you have questions or concerns please email

A report of the results will be sent as soon as the grading is completed.

All correspondence should be addressed to:

The Drake Physics Prize
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Drake University
Harvey Ingham
2804 University Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50311

Dr. Klaus Bartschat
Director of Physics Prize, Physics and Astronomy Department

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