AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers


Photo Contest Details

The contest is open to high school students in grades 9-12 (or equivalent international grade level). Entries are welcome every year between March 1 and May 15 for that year's competition.

There is a limit of 15 entries per school each year.

Photos may be entered in one of two categories described below, and will be judged on the quality of the photo and the accuracy of the physics in the explanation that accompanies the photograph.

Category Examples

Natural photo

Contrived Photo

Photo with Multiple Images


  • Natural photos are those that involve everyday situations that may demonstrate a variety of physics concepts.
  • Contrived photos are those that are set up to show a particular physics concept or related set of concepts.
  • Photos with Multiple Images or other computer manipulation will be placed in a separate category. They may be displayed at the national meeting and judged for Special Recognition ribbons, but not for prizes.

For additional information and suggestions for classroom use contact photocontest@aapt.org

Judging of the photos is done in two stages.

  1. A committee of physics teachers will select the top 100 photos from the total entries received. (scoring approximately 40% essay and 60% photograph)
  2. The top 100 photos (50 Contrived, 50 Natural, plus any chosen with Multiple Images) will be displayed and judged at the next AAPT Summer Meeting to determine the final winners.
  3. Winning entries receive awards as follows:
  • Student 1st place $100 and a certificate
  • Student 2nd place $75 and a certificate
  • Student 3rd place $50 and a certificate
  • Teachers of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place students receive a $100 gift certificate from Vernier and a certificate.


For any questions regarding the contest or registration, please contact the AAPT High School Physics Photo Contest at photocontest@aapt.org, or 301-209-3340.