Talented students make US team for International Chemistry Olympiad

WASHINGTON — Four  high school students have risen to the top in chemistry achievements and will represent the U.S. at the 46th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) at the Hanoi University of Science in Vietnam. The four-member team and two alternates are

High School
Plainsboro, NJ Andrew Chen W. Windsor Plainsboro
Mansfield Center, CT Robert Kao Edwin O. Smith
Troy, MI              Stephen Li Troy
Sewickley, PA Derek Wang North Allegheny
Edmond, OK Soorajnath Boominatha Oklahoma School of Science and Math
Cupertino, C David Wang Monte Vist

The U.S. team will compete with others from more than 70 countries for gold, silver and bronze medals, July 20-29. The American Chemical Society (ACS) is the official team sponsor.

The competition to be part of the international event is fierce, beginning with a multiple-choice exam that nearly16, 000 high school students in the U.S. took this spring. Performance on this exam earned them the opportunity to take the National Chemistry Olympiad test. Out of more than 1,000 of the nation’s brightest chemistry students who took the national test, the top 20 then went on to a two-week study camp at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. At the conclusion, the U.S. team and two alternates were named.

The IChO originated with Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary in 1968. Soon, other Eastern European countries joined the event; Western Europe began participating in 1974. The first U.S. team competed in 1984, winning one silver and two bronze medals.

The ACS has sponsored the American team annually since the U.S. joined the Olympiad. Principal funding is through the ACS Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Olympiad Endowment, with additional support from the Air Force Academy; Advanced Chemistry Development; Carolina Biological Supply Company; Cengage Learning; Flinn Scientific, Inc.; Fisher Science Education; McGraw-Hill Companies; Prentice Hall Publishers; Sigma Aldrich Co.; Texas Instruments, Inc.; University Science Books and Wiley & Sons Publishers.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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L to R: Derek Wang, Soorajnath Boominathan, Robert Kao, Stephen Li, Andrew Chen, David Wang
Credit: Melissa Barranger Mathys