FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Wed Jul 29 16:42:03 EDT 2009

U.S. team wins gold, silver medals at International Chemistry Olympiad

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2009 — The U.S. high school student team competing in the 41st International Chemistry Olympiad won one gold and three silver medals at the event held July 18-26 in Cambridge, England. The students, from Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey and New York, competed against more than 250 students from 65 countries.

The four U.S. students were selected from a beginning pool of more than 11,000 high school chemistry students who vied to be on the team. These four emerged after a two-week training camp held for the 20 student finalists in mid-June at the U.S. Air Force Academy. The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, sponsors the U.S. team along with additional support from other partners.

ACS President Thomas H. Lane, Ph.D., congratulated the U.S. team and said: “These students are representative of the best chemistry students in the nation. Events such as the International Chemistry Olympiad are an effective way to stimulate interest in science among thousands of students. We are proud of the winners whose dedication and hard work led to this victory. They will be an inspiration to other students to engage in the wonders of chemistry and the development of our next generation of scientific leaders.”

The medals were presented to winners in ceremonies at King’s Chapel at Cambridge. The gold medals were presented by Sir Harold Kroto, the co-winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The U.S. medalists are:

Yixiao Wang, Westfield, New Jersey, Westfield High School, gold medal. Wang, 17, is a junior and has not yet determined where he wants to attend college or his major. He has a strong background in Advanced Placement chemistry courses. He has won academic honors and enjoys extracurricular activities including the swim team, the high school marching band, and the youth symphony. His hobbies include playing the flute, reading and swimming.

Brian Seifried, Dunwoody, Ga., Chamblee High School, silver medal. Brian, 18, has just completed his senior year at Chamblee High School. He plans to attend Georgia Institute of Technology with a major in chemistry or chemical engineering. His goal is to become an engineer and eventually own his own company. His honors include the Georgia Governor’s Honor Program in Physics, the State Science Olympiad, as well as various awards for achievement in science and math.

Nathan Benjamin, West Lafayette, Ind., W.H. Harrison High School, silver medal.

Nathan, 17, plans to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after he completes his senior year. He wants to major in chemistry or physics and is undecided as to his final career goal. He has taken Advanced Placement courses in Chemistry and Physics and won honors for his scientific achievement. He is a member of the Math Club and enjoys hobbies including board games and puzzles.

Colin Lu, Vestal, N.Y., Vestal High School, silver medal. Lu, 17, plans to study chemistry and or mathematics in college but has not determined where he will enroll. His future professional objectives include working in medical research or becoming a researcher in math or chemistry. He is the winner of several regional math contests and enjoys playing piano, is a member of the school orchestra, and enjoys swimming, and tennis among other activities. His hobbies include foreign languages, ping-pong and music composition.

The Olympiad principal funding is through the American Chemical Society’s Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Chemistry Olympiad Endowment with additional support from the Air Force Academy; Advanced Chemistry Development; BrandTechScientific,Inc.; Carolina Biological Supply Company; Fisher Scientific; Finn Scientific, Inc.; HoltMcDougal/Cengage Learning; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; McGraw-Hill Companies; Merck Publishing Group; Pearson Prentice Hall; Texas Instruments, Inc.; and Sigma Aldrich, Co.

-- Charmayne Marsh