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Web Date: September 20, 2011

Dow Funds 2012 Chemistry Olympiad

Philanthropy: Firm pledges $2.5 million to help ACS host next year’s international competition
Department: ACS News
Keywords: International Chemistry Olympiad, Dow Chemical, ACS, education, philanthropy

Dow Chemical has pledged $2.5 million to support next summer’s International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO), which will be held in the U.S. for only the second time in its 44-year history. The competition, which will be hosted by the American Chemical Society, will take place on July 21–30, 2012, at the University of Maryland, College Park.

“As a global company with operations in more than 40 participating nations, Dow sees the International Chemistry Olympiad as a prime opportunity to help inspire the next generation of scientists,” says Andrew Liveris, Dow chairman and CEO. “With more than 95% of all manufactured products requiring some level of chemistry, highly educated and inspired scientists will help ensure a sustainable future for our company, our planet, and our communities.”

“ACS and Dow are committed to developing the next generation of chemists and chemical engineers,” says ACS President Nancy B. Jackson. “Through the generosity of Dow, we have the opportunity to raise public appreciation for the essential role of chemistry in our lives as well as for the future innovators who will use chemistry to discover solutions to our world’s most pressing challenges.”

More than 70 nations will each send a team of four high school students to compete in the event, which features scientific and cultural excursions as well as exams and laboratory work to test knowledge in both chemistry theory and practice. Qualifying student teams are typically chosen through a series of regional and national Olympiads.

The university campus, which will provide laboratory space and lodging for the competitors, is near ACS headquarters in Washington, D.C. ACS administers the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Program. As host, ACS will be financially responsible for much of the program’s expenses in 2012. The society expects that those costs will amount to $2.7 million, according to Cecilia Hernandez, the ACS staff manager of the Olympiad program. Dow will be the sole sponsor of the Olympiad. The expenses not funded by Dow’s donation will be covered by fees paid by participating countries and observers.

“As president of the 44th IChO, I am immensely thankful to Dow for this wonderful support, and I know that the teams coming from around the world will be equally thankful,” says Ahmed H. Zewail. Zewail is the 1999 Nobel Laureate in chemistry and a chemistry professor at California Institute of Technology. “IChO is uniquely positioned for celebrating the beauty and cornucopia of chemistry with the world’s best young minds,” he adds. “By intellectually bonding with fellow students from all over the world, they form networks for the future.”

Dow says it is investing in IChO as part of its ongoing commitment to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and also as part of its participation in the 2011 International Year of Chemistry.

 
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