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Volume 89 Issue 30 | p. 8 | News of The Week
Issue Date: July 25, 2011

U.S. Takes Home Gold

Academics: International Chemistry Olympiad concludes with two golds, two silvers for U.S. team
Department: ACS News
Keywords: International Chemistry Olympiad, education, students, ACS
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Shah (from left), Tan, Tung, and Borisov, who holds the team’s mascot.
Credit: Cecilia Hernandez
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Shah (from left), Tan, Tung, and Borisov, who holds the team’s mascot.
Credit: Cecilia Hernandez

The U.S. brought home two gold and two silver medals last week from the 43rd International Chemistry Olympiad, which took place in Ankara, Turkey, on July 9–18. The competition drew 273 students, who were judged on their knowledge of chemistry and on their lab skills. The American Chemical Society is the primary sponsor of the U.S. team.

China was the top-scoring country, with its team members receiving four gold medals in addition to the top individual score. South Korea was the only other country to earn four gold medals. Host country Turkey won four medals: one gold, two silver, and one bronze. Each of the 70 participating countries was represented by up to four students, and the olympiad organizers awarded a total of 33 gold, 62 silver, and 83 bronze medals.

On the U.S. team, Konstantin Borisov of North Allegheny Senior High School, Wexford, Pa., and Joe Tung of Gretchen A. Whitney High School, Cerritos, Calif., each received a gold medal. Teammates Tayyab Shah of Vestal High School, Vestal, N.Y., and Elmer Tan of John P. Stevens High School, Edison, N.J., earned silver medals.

The U.S. team’s performance topped that of last year’s U.S. team, which won two gold medals, a silver, and a bronze in Tokyo.

“I am extremely proud of our entire team,” says head mentor J. L. Kiappes. “Even before we knew the medal results, we could tell they had done exceptionally. More than that, it is clear that the students really got to know and to make friends with many of the other participants.”

The olympiad “really broadened my perspective,” Tung says, noting that the event’s cross-cultural experiences gave him a better understanding of how chemistry is taught and learned around the world. Tan agrees. “It was really interesting to meet people from different backgrounds and see how they learn and apply chemistry,” he says.

The experience “provides a different perspective on how we do things in the U.S. It’s a different way of looking at the foundations of chemistry,” Borisov says. And for Shah, the competition was an opportunity to see chemistry as “a real team effort.”

The U.S. will host the international competition next year at the University of Maryland, College Park.

 
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