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New Zealand school students win medals at Chemistry Olympiad

News release from the Royal Society of New Zealand

1 August 2011

New Zealand school students win medals at the 2011 International Chemistry Olympiad

2011 New Zealand Chemistry Olympiad team with their medals after the Closing Ceremony of the 43rd International Chemistry Olympiad in Ankara, Turkey. From left: Andy Chen, Kailun Wang, Thomas Fellowes, Jade Leung.

The 2011 New Zealand Chemistry Olympiad team of high school students Thomas Fellowes (Christ College, Christchurch), Kailun Wang (Auckland Grammar School, Auckland), Andy Chen (Macleans College, Auckland) and Jade Leung (St Cuthberts College, Auckland) has returned from the 43rd International Chemistry Olympiad held in Ankara, Turkey on 9-18 July with 4 well-earned bronze medals.

In this year’s competition, 285 high school students representing 72 countries competed against each other for a medal by sitting a five-hour practical exam and another five-hour theory exam in chemistry. From their combined exam results, 10% of individuals were awarded gold medals, 20% silver medals and 30% bronze medals. Based on the number and type of medals earned by each team from the various countries competing, New Zealand ranked in the top 50% of the teams. The top student was from China.

The mentors who travelled with the team, Dr David Salter (The University of Auckland) and Dr Suzanne Boniface (Victoria University of Wellington), said that the team’s result was an excellent achievement and reflected the hard work and dedication that each student made between April and July in training for this competition.

“The level of chemistry knowledge required for the International Olympiad examinations is well beyond the New Zealand high school curriculum. To prepare for the Olympiad, the team had to study organic, inorganic, physical and analytical chemistry as well as aspects of biochemistry and spectroscopy at university level,” says Dr Boniface.

Financial assistance for the students to attend the International Chemistry Olympiad was provided by the Talented Student Travel Award, funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand.


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