12th of May 2019 – In 2019, Paris is at the centre of international chemistry. On the 29th of January 2019, IYPT2019 was launched at the UNESCO headquarters. Next July, shortly after the IUPAC World Congress celebrates the centenary of IUPAC, the 51st International Chemistry Olympiad will begin. 86 countries participate, among them 6 observing countries.
The International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) is an annual competition for the world’s most talented chemistry students at the secondary school level. France is hosting IChO for the second time (after 22nd IChO in 1990). Nations around the world send a team of four students who are tested on their chemistry knowledge and skills in a five-hour laboratory practical exam and a five-hour written theoretical examination. Each delegation consists of up to four students and two mentors, one of whom is designated as the head of the delegation or “head mentor.” A delegation may also include a handful of guests and up to two scientific observers.
The Olympiads begins with the opening ceremony, occurring this year at the Maison de la Chimie, and ends with the closing one, this year at UNESCO’s headquarters.
The program is intended to stimulate student interest in chemistry through solving of independent and creative chemical problems. It also aims to promote international contacts in chemistry, friendships between young scientific workers of different nationalities, cooperation among pupils, and exchange of pedagogical and scientific experience in chemistry.
The idea of the International Chemistry Olympiad was developed in the former Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the first International Chemistry Olympiad took place in Prague between 18th and 21st June 1968. The event has been held every year since then, with the exception of 1971. The delegations that attended the first events were mostly countries of the former Eastern bloc and it was not until 1980, the 12th International Chemistry Olympiad, that the event was held outside of the bloc, in Austria.
All participants are ranked based on their individual scores and no official team scores are given. Gold medals are awarded to the top 12% of students, silver medals are awarded to the next 22% of students, and bronze medals are awarded to the next 32% of students. Honorable mentions are awarded to the top 10% of non-medalist participants. Two separate special awards are given to the students who get the best score in the theoretical and practical examinations.
Preparation for the International Chemistry Olympiad demands a high level of understanding and interest in chemistry and an outstanding ability to relate chemical subjects with one another as well as with the practical world.
In addition to the competition, all participants are offered the occasion to discover the host country, its culture and richness. For this 51st edition, mentors, scientific observers, guest and students will visit Paris, scientific museums, the palace of Versailles…All information for the 51st IChO in Paris can be find here: https://icho2019.paris/en/icho-france-2019/message-de-bienvenue/
In honour of all these events, the French 2018-2019 school year has been declared “The Year of Chemistry, from Primary School to University”. The objectives are first and foremost to encourage pupils and students to discover or explore chemistry but also to introduce chemistry to the general public, to audiences in primary and secondary schools, universities and “Grandes Écoles”, and through museums, centres of scientific culture and also chemical companies. Researchers, engineers, teachers and students will organize many events or lessons in schools, universities, chemical companies and with museums, in order to highlight the role of chemistry in academic science, in industry and its contributions to technological, economical and sustainable development. Many events of this “year of chemistry” are of course relevant to IYPT2019! For instance, we can mention the “Mendeleiev contest” which is organized by the French physics and chemistry teachers’ society, and gathers 437 candidates from all types of schools and colleges. https://national.udppc.asso.fr/index.php/actualites-diverses/800-lancement-du-concours-mendeleiev-2019
On February, 6, at 10.23 (6/02. 10:23, called Avogadro’s day in France), the French ministry of education and Youth turned into a short-lived chemistry lab, welcoming students who allowed pupils from primary and low secondary schools to do chemical experiments on dyes, pigments and aromas. A few pictures can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/educationfrance/sets/72157689466979293
Official website for the “ French school year of chemistry”: http://eduscol.education.fr/cid123019/annee-de-la-chimie-2018-2019.html
- Partner website: http://www.anneedelachimie.fr/