APhO stands for the Asian Physics Olympiad. It is currently the premier physics competition for pre-university students from Asian countries. It is modeled after the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO), and demands a similar level of intellectual capability from the participants. The only difference between APhO and IPhO is that a national team for APhO is composed of eight students at the most, instead of five for IPhO. The contestants are expected to be selected from general or technical secondary schools of the respective participating countries. The age of the competitors should not exceed twenty on June 30th of the year of the competition.
The APhO has its origins in the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO), an annual event first started in Warsaw in 1967 as a premier physics competition for pre-university students from around the world. In 1999, the team leader of Indonesia, Dr. Yohanes Surya, together with the late President of IPhO, Prof. Waldemar Gorzkowski, undertook to create and organize the first Asian Physics Olympiad in April 2000 in Indonesia. This event attracted participation from 12 Asian countries. Its successful implementation has been followed by the subsequent host countries, Taiwan (2001), Singapore (2002), Thailand (2003), Vietnam (2004), Indonesia (2005, second time), Kazakhstan (2006), China (2007), Mongolia (2008), Thailand (2009, second time), Taiwan (2010, second time), Israel (2011), India (2012), Indonesia (2013, third time), Singapore (2014, second time), and China (2015, second time).
The Asian Physics Olympiad has several purposes: to assist in the preparation of Asian students towards the IPhO; to build a network among the leaders for further collaborative projects in physics education, such as creating physics competitions in their own countries, and to encourage Asian countries to participate in other international physics competitions.