A major olympiad programme in basic sciences is operational in the country. The programme aims at promoting excellence in science among pre-university students and selecting teams of students to represent India at the International Olympiads in astronomy, biology, chemistry, junior science and physics. This brochure gives the necessary information regarding this programme to all concerned: students, teachers, parents and others


  1. The need for a national olympiad programme in basic sciences had been recognized by the scientific community in India for a long time. India started participating in the International Mathematics Olympiad from 1989. It was felt that with a large base of quality human resources in science, the country must also participate in the International Olympiads in basic sciences: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
  2. In 1997-98, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE) [a National Centre of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai] and the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) jointly took initiative in starting the physics olympiad programme. A year later, HBCSE took the initiative to extend the programme to chemistry and biology also. IAPT came forward to offer its wide network for help in the conduct of chemistry and biology examinations also. These initiatives received strong support and encouragement from the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) of the Government of India. India sent its first team to the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) in 1998, International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) in 1999 and International Biology Olympiad (IBO) in 2000. Around the same time TIFR, in association with the National Council of Science Museums and Astronomical Society of India, initiated efforts to participate in the International Astronomy Olympiad (IAO). Our first foray into IAO was in 1999. Indian teams started participating in International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) and International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA) from 2004 and 2007 respectively. The good performances of the Indian teams right from the first few years of participation helped in the consolidation of the programme.
  3. In July 2001, India hosted the 33rd International Chemistry Olympiad in Mumbai. Further, India hosted the 11th International Astronomy Olympiad in Mumbai in November 2006, the 19th International Biology Olympiad in Mumbai in July 2008, the 13th Asian Physics Olympiad in Delhi in May 2012 and the 10th International Junior Science Olympiad in Pune, in December 2013. India will host the 46th International Physics Olympiad in Mumbai in July 2015. These events organized by Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (TIFR) give a boost to the entire academic programme of Science Olympiads in India.
  4. The National Olympiad programme in physics, chemistry, biology, junior science and astronomy is overseen by a National Steering Committee constituted by the DAE. The Olympiad programme is financially supported by Board of Research in Nuclear Science (BRNS, DAE), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and Department of Space, Indian Space Research Organization (DoS, ISRO). The programme follows a five stage process. Stage I of the programme is the organizational responsibility of the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT). All the subsequent stages are conducted by HBCSE. The programme for the year 2014-2015 is outlined below.

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