U.S. team earns four gold medals at the 52nd International Chemistry Olympiad

***Editor’s note: Photos and videos available upon request

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2020 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) is proud to announce that Team USA earned four gold medals at the 52nd International Chemistry Olympiad, with one student earning the top gold medal.

The four members of the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO) team are:

  • Anugrah Chemparathy, Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon, Calif.
  • Alex Li, Lexington High School, Lexington, Mass.
  • Ananthan Sadagopan, Westborough High School, Westborough, Mass.
  • Alec Zhu, Lexington High School, Lexington, Mass.

Alex Li won the top gold medal in the competition, placing first in the overall ranking of students.

A total of 235 students from 60 countries competed at this year’s remote-access International Chemistry Olympiad, which was coordinated from Istanbul.

“ACS congratulates Team USA on their outstanding performance under extraordinary circumstances in this year’s International Chemistry Olympiad,” says ACS CEO Thomas Connelly Jr., Ph.D. “As a proud sponsor of the U.S. team, we are always inspired to see the dedication of these students throughout the Olympiad process. We are especially excited this year to celebrate the team’s success in earning four gold medals, including the top gold medal in the competition.”

Three mentors supported Team USA leading up to the international competition: Melissa Barranger Mathys, Ph.D., Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio, head mentor; Joseph Houck, Ph.D., Penn State University in University Park, Pa., college mentor; and Esther Hines, Billerica Memorial High School in Billerica, Mass., high school mentor.

Previously, Team USA won four gold medals in 2017 and 2018, and members of the U.S. team earned the top gold medals in 1999 and 2000.

ACS has sponsored the American team annually since the U.S. joined the Olympiad in 1984. Principal funding is through the ACS Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Chemistry Olympiad Endowment, with additional support from other donors. For a complete list of donors, visit

The International Chemistry Olympiad 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 American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people. The Society is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a specialist in scientific information solutions (including SciFinder® and STN®), its CAS division powers global research, discovery and innovation. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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Top row (from left): Anugrah Chemparathy, Joseph Houck, Alex Li
Middle row (from left): Ananthan Sadagopan, Melissa Barranger Mathys, Alec Zhu
Bottom row: Esther Hines
Credit: Joseph Houck
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