The 34th International Physics Olympiad will open in Taipei on Saturday, with 244 physics students from 54 countries participating, Minister of Education Huang Jung-tsun (黃榮村) announced yesterday.
The formal opening ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, Huang said, adding that it's an honor for the nation to host the annual event -- the "Olympic games for physics."
The Olympiad runs through Aug. 11.
Huang said the war in Iraq and the SARS epidemic caused difficulties in organizing the event. The number of participating countries is 12 less than last year, he noted, adding that China didn't send a team because of political considerations.
Each country can send up to five students, but several countries will send less due to dire financial straits, he said.
The five Taiwanese participants were selected from 4,500 hopefuls.
National Taiwan Normal University organized the event with the assistance of the Ministry of Education.