Israeli success at Chemistry Olympiad

Students on Israel’s Chemistry Team win medals at the International Chemistry Olympiad

By Yossi Aloni |
Photo: Future Scientists Center.

Israel’s Chemistry Team that was trained at the Technion in Haifa has been awarded a gold medal, two silver medals and a bronze medal at the International Chemistry Olympiad, which recently took

240 young girls and boys from 60 countries around the world participated in the 52nd International Chemistry Olympiad, hosted this year by Turkey. The event was held via Zoom due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The State of Israel has been participating in the Olympiad since 2006. This year’s achievements were outstanding – all team members won medals and for the first time in a decade, and one student won gold.

The four high school students pictured above who formed Israel’s Chemistry Team were: Roi Peer – Gold, Bar Sheffer – Silver, Ron Shprints – Silver, Ward Yahya – Bronze

Since 2017, Israel’s Science Teams have operated under a joint venture between Israel’s Ministry of Education and the Maimonides Fund’s Future Scientists Center, who together have supported and managed Israel’s participation in the International Olympiads for high school students in four disciplines. The Chemistry team was trained at the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

The team was selected over a year-long process overseen by Professor Zeev Gross of the Technion’s Faculty of Chemistry, who also serves as Dean of the Unit for Continuing and External Studies, as well as heading a variety of national youth programs in chemistry, together with the team’s head coach, Dr. Izana Nigel-Etinger. The training process was also assisted by ex-medalists Raz Lotan, an undergraduate student in mathematics, Assaf Mauda, who holds a B.A. and M.Sc. in chemistry and is currently a master’s student in computer sciences, and Ron Refaeli, an undergraduate student in chemistry, all at the Technion.

 

Reactions

Education Minister Yoav Galant congratulated Israel’s Chemistry Team: “Israeli students, the country’s future generation, reach extraordinary international achievements in science competitions time and time again – even during this complex period. The Ministry of Education will continue to invest in and support training Israel’s Science Teams. This goes hand-in-hand in developing and boosting capacities of all Israeli students throughout the country, and providing equal opportunity for all students to maximize their potential across a range of fields.”

Amit Edri, Director General of the Ministry of Education: “Israel’s education system is recording another impressive achievement in science. The victories of the students at the International Olympics in Chemistry and the European Competition in Physics place Israel at the forefront of the world of science. And on this front, we would like to see a broader representation of female students later on. Given the importance of the issue, I intend to advance this important goal. I congratulate our students on their impressive achievements, and would like to thank the dedicated team of coaches who worked tirelessly to reach this important moment.”

Dr. Ofer Rimon, Deputy Director Computer Communication: “Israel’s Chemistry Team has represented the State of Israel and our education system with great honor. The team is a model for excellence in which we will continue to invest, in order to provide our students with the best tools to enable them to conquer mountains and allow Israel to be amongst the world’s leading countries.”

Eli Fried, Director General of Maimonides Fund’s Future Scientists Center: “I congratulate the students in Israel’s Chemistry Team, who have brought much pride to the State of Israel. Notwithstanding the challenging times we face, our students stayed the course throughout the year, demonstrating an extraordinary level of perseverance and determination that ultimately paid dividends. The Maimonides Fund’s Future Scientists Center, together with the Ministry of Education, will continue supporting the highly gifted students that participate in Israel’s Science Teams, as an investment in the future of Israel’s scientific leadership.”

Professor Zeev Gross, Technion’s Faculty of Chemistry and Head of Youth Programs: “Congratulations to our students who bravely shouldered the high preparatory demands and took on the maximum in real-time: a 5-hour theoretical test of more than 100 questions.”

 The abovementioned four pupils alongside Michael Balgola from K’far Hayarok and Itamar Steinitz from Ramat Hasharon also participated in the Asian-European Mendeleev Chemistry Olympiad (online). The competition took place 10 days earlier and was joined by representatives from 27 countries. The Israeli team won 2 silver and 3 bronze medals.

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