Education International, Vol. 1, No. 1, 21-22, Published in August
Bronze Medal for Switzerland at the Chemistry Olympiad 1999
1, 1162 Saint-Prex , Switzerland
to Daniel Torricelli, 16 years old, from Kloten, Switzerland
has won a bronze medal at the 3 1 It International Chemistry Olympiad
in Bangkok, Thailand. This year, 201 students from 5 1 countries
were competing for gold, silver, and bronze medals from July 4-12,
1999. The competitors had two days of hard work: one day (5 h) for
practical work, and another day (5 h) for solving theoretical problems.
After correction and arbitration, the best 10% got gold medals,
20% got silver, and 30% bronze. It seems to the reviewer that the
level of difficulty gets higher every year. In 1999, it was about
corresponding to a second-year universitv course. The olympie problems
are reported in the annex for the benefit of the interested reader.
a rule, all participating nations must first select their best four
students by any suitable method. The candidates must not yet be
registered at a university, and they have to be under the age of
20 at the beginning of the olympiad. In Switzerland, the first two
training weekends took place at the universities of NeuchAtel and
Fribour in winter 1999. The national selection was made at the end
of the preparation week at Easter time in the Gymnase de Chamblandes,
Pully-Lausanne. Then, on the last weekend in June, the four selected
candidates had a last training session with microscale equipment.
Swiss team was made of the following students:
Aurele Aubert, Gymnase de Cham blandes, Pully, born 23.2.1981
- Jean Garnier, Gymnase de la Cite Lausanne, born 2.7.1981
-Stefan Malar Kantonsschule Romans horn born 27.2.1980
- Daniel Torricelli, Kantonsschule Oer likon, born 25.9.1982
two accompanying teachers were: Maurice Cosandey, Gymnase
de Chamblandes (VD), and Thomas Engeloch, Gymnasium Munchenstein
(BL). As every year, the travel costs were kindly offered for the
teachers by the Bundesamt fur Bildung und Wissenschaft, and for
the students by the Swiss Academy of Sciences whose sponsorship
is gratefully acknowledged.
may be worth mentioning that a Swiss boy won a gold medal at this
year's Olympiad: Hans Jakob Worner from Bremgarten (AG).
But as he is studying in Freiburg in Breisgau, he was not allowed
to compete with the Swiss team: he was a member of the German delegation.
principle, 53 countries should have participated in this year's
Olympiad, plus three observers: Croatia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
But on the very last minute, two delegations (Azerbaidjan and Kyrgyzstan)
were held back at Moscow Airport due to overbooking problems, and,
unfortunately, had not been able to rejoin later on. Thus, there
were only 51 participating delegations, all with 4 students, except
Cuba which had only one candidate.
best result was achieved by Timothy Jones from the USA, the
second best by Mario Tagliazucchi from
Argentina. The best nations were Korea, Iran, and the USA, with
three gold medals each, followed by China, Chinese Taipei, Hungary,
and Romania, with two gold medals each. On the other end of the
list, seven countries did not get any medals: Brazil, Czechia, Indonesia,
Kuwait, Norway, Spain, and Uruguay.
has made a special effort to host this Olympiad. The laboratories
and glassware (burettes, pipettes, beakers) were brand-new. Each
student had a special microscale kit for organic operations with
22 items worth more than $100 (Fig.).
participants were wonderfully welcomed and hosted like kings in
luxury hotels. We were welcomed with enthusiasm by a charming young
lady, H.R.H. Princess Chulabhorn of Thailand, who chaired
the Opening and the Closing Cer emonies.
Four banquets were organized in honour of the Chemistry Olympiad
with magnificent decorations, not to mention the brilliant folk
dances and other shows. And all the time, young Thai guides were
available anywhere and at any time despite huge traffic problems
in Bangkok and an exhausting outside temperature of about 35'. Thailand
deserves its reputation as the Land of Smile.
from the competition itself, the participants had the opportunity
to visit Buddhist temples, golden palaces, and recreation parks
in Bangkok and Ayutyat, the former capital. It was a glorious week,
with only one shadow: nearly half of the participants fell ill probably
due to some food problems. But they all recovered the following
next Olympiads will take place in Copenhagen in July 2000, then
in Prague 2001,
Netherland 2002, and Greece 2003. The year 2004 has been reserved
for Switzerland many years ago. But if no official invitation is
written from Switzerland before June 2000, the Olympiad 2004 will
be organized in Turkey. Taiwan has already announced that they will
host it in 2005, and Korea in 2006. Lithuania and England may do
it in 2007 and 2008. So it looks as if 2004 is a now-or-never event
if Switzerland refuses to host the Olympiad in 2004, the participation
fee will soon become prohibitive. The amount can be obtained by
multiplying $100 by the number of years elapsed since last hosting
an Olympiad. As Switzerland has participated to all Olympiads since
1987 without hosting any, we would have to pay $1300 in 2000, $1700
in 2004, and so on.
from Chimia 53 (1999) 451-455)