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Physics Prize 2022

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Drake University takes great pleasure in announcing the 2022 Drake Physics Prize Examination. Since 1970, we have offered this scholarship opportunity to encourage interest in physics, astronomy, and physical sciences, and to give recognition to outstanding high-school students. The awards are:

  • First place: an unrestricted four-year, full-tuition scholarship to Drake University, a personal trophy, and the Drake Physics Trophy (to be retained in the high school of the winner for display during the following year).
  • Second place: personal trophy
  • Third place: personal trophy
  • Honorable mention (next 25 placers): certificate of achievement

The Top 50 seniors will be invited 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 in April. The runner-up will receive a smaller scholarship, depending on the available funds.

The Drake Physics Prize Test will cover topics in physics that would normally be studied by students during the first semester of their high school physics course: kinematics, dynamics (Newton’s laws), circular motion, universal law of gravitation, harmonic motion (simple pendulum and mass-spring systems), impulse, linear momentum, conservation of momentum and collisions, work, energy and conservation of energy, torque, rotational kinematics, dynamics and energy, angular momentum conservation, mechanical waves, and sound.

Due to the ongoing uncertainties with COVID-19, the entire test will be multiple-choice and administered through a weblink (Qualtrix). If needed, a tie for the highest score will be broken through a follow-up interview. Six slots will be reserved at the following dates and times to facilitate participation:


Wednesday, February 2, 2022: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Thursday, February 3, 2022: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Friday, February 4, 2022: 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.


Students should register online by Monday, January 31, 2022, for one of these time slots. They are encouraged to let their teacher know that they participate, but they do not need to have a proctor. A Drake faculty member will supervise the test via a simultaneous Zoom link.

For questions or concerns about the exam, please email the department at

For more information about the Physics & Astronomy program at Drake, please visit the department’s home page:


Yours sincerely,

Melissa Spencer, Physics Prize Director 

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Drake University

Click here to download our shareable Physics Prize 2022 Flyer.


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