Pennsylvania sends top chemistry student to International Olympiad

Kostya Borisov postponing fun in the sun to represent America

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2011 — As students across the country are leaving academics behind for the summer, Konstantin (Kostya) Borisov is doing quite the opposite as he ramps up to represent the U.S. at the International Chemistry Olympiad with three other students. The annual competition for the world’s most talented chemistry students at the secondary school level will be held July 9-18, 2011 in Ankara, Turkey.

Kostya, 17, was also one of the top 100 students in the U.S. Math Olympiad and placed sixth in the Linguistic Olympiad. He graduated from North Allegheny High School and plans to study chemistry, math, and molecular biology at the University of Pittsburgh to become a medical researcher, “preferably researching cancer,” he says. He also enjoys swimming and playing the piano.

The four-member U.S. team, sponsored by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and other partners, will go up against teams from 70 other countries in a global competition of university-level chemistry knowledge and experiments.

The ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, sponsors the U.S. team with support from other partners. The four members of the travel team and two alternates were chosen after a nine-day study and training camp for 20 of the nation’s top chemistry students at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. They were selected from more than 11,000 high school students across the country that initially competed for a spot on the U.S. team.

“ACS is proud to announce the U.S. team members. These young men possess outstanding scientific talent, and will lead our future in scientific discovery and innovation,” said ACS President Nancy B. Jackson, Ph.D. “In 2011, the International Year of Chemistry, the Chemistry Olympiad holds even more meaning for the scores of young chemists who will gather from around the world. Students will not only compete in graduate-level science with the best and the brightest of their peers, but they will have an opportunity to celebrate the importance of chemistry in solving global problems.”

In past Olympiads, the U.S. team has been a strong competitor at the international event. In 2010, the U.S. Team won two gold medals, one silver, and one bronze. In 2009, the U.S. team won a gold medal and three silver medals. In 2008, they brought home one silver and three bronze medals.

The American Chemical Society has sponsored the American team annually since the U.S. joined the Olympiad. Principal funding is through the ACS’ Othmer Olympiad Endowment with additional support from the Air Force Academy; Advanced Chemistry Development; Carolina Biological Supply Company; Fisher Scientific; Flinn Scientific, Inc; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; McGraw-Hill Companies; Merck Publishing Group; Pearson Prentice Hall; Sigma Aldrich Co, Texas Instruments, Inc.; and University Science Books.