New Jersey sends top chemistry student to International Olympiad

Elmer Tan postponing fun in the sun to represent America

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2011 — As students across the country are leaving academics behind for the summer, Elmer Tan is doing quite the opposite as he ramps up to represent the United States at the International Chemistry Olympiad. 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.

Elmer has many accomplishments in science. He won fifth place in the Princeton University Mathematics Competition; placed first in the N.J. Chemistry II League; was a Merck Scholar for the Merck State Science Day; an AMC 12 winner (25- question, 75- minute multiple choice examination in secondary school mathematics containing problems which can be understood and solved with pre-calculus concepts); and in the American Invitational Mathematics Exam (AIME) he earned fifth place.

Elmer, who turns 17 on the Fourth of July, will be a senior at John P. Stevens High School next year where he enjoys playing in the band.

The American Chemical Society (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 is in solving global problems.”

The U.S. team will go up against teams from more than 70 countries. 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, they brought home a gold medal and three silver medals. In 2008, they won one silver and three bronze medals.

The ACS has sponsored the American team annually since the United States 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.


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