If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.


Physical Chemistry

Chemistry Olympiad Results

Education: China, South Korea, and Taiwan dominate the international competition

by Linda Wang
July 25, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 30

Credit: Cecilia Hernandez
U.S. team members Ting (from left), Liang, Liu, and Agrawal show off their medals. Liu holds the team’s falcon mascot.
Stephen Ting (from left), David Liang, Runpeng Liu, and Saaket Agrawal show off their medals from the International Chemistry Olympiad.
Credit: Cecilia Hernandez
U.S. team members Ting (from left), Liang, Liu, and Agrawal show off their medals. Liu holds the team’s falcon mascot.

Three Asian countries emerged as the top performers in the 45th International Chemistry Olympiad, a competition among top high school students that took place in Moscow from July 15 to 24. The teams from China, South Korea, and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) each earned three gold medals and a silver medal.

The competition tests students on chemistry knowledge and lab skills. The U.S. team put on a strong performance, with David Liang and Runpeng Liu winning gold medals, and Saaket Agrawal and Stephen Ting earning silver medals.

“The competition was very challenging, and I am extremely pleased with our students’ performance,” says Kelli M. Slunt, head mentor for the U.S. team and a chemistry professor at the University of Mary Washington.

Liang, a rising senior at Carmel High School, in Indiana, says having an optimistic attitude going into the competition helped him stay focused.

“We’re elated to be able to represent our country so well here in Russia,” says Liu, of Ladue Horton Watkins High School, in Missouri, who is headed to MIT.

Singapore and Ukraine each took home three gold medals and a bronze medal. Host country Russia earned two gold medals and two silver medals. In all, 34 gold, 64 silver, and 94 bronze medals were awarded to 291 chemistry students from 73 countries.

For the olympiad’s laboratory exam, students prepared and analyzed colored organic species, quantitatively analyzed a sample of swimming pool water, and determined the molecular mass of a polymer. The knowledge test covered eight topics, such as methane clathrates and redox reactions in photosynthesis.

In addition to the exams, students went sightseeing in Moscow and spent time talking with other international students. Agrawal, who graduated from Mira Loma High School, in California, and is attending Caltech in the fall, notes that it’s those exchanges with other students that made the competition such a rich learning experience.

The 46th International Chemistry Olympiad will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in July 2014.



This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.