Broad geographic interest for the chemistry olympiad – University of Copenhagen

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04 February 2014

Broad geographic interest for the chemistry olympiad

Chemistry Olympics 2014

Fifty-six high school students participated in the Danish preliminary rounds of the natural science olympics for chemistry students, the Chemistry Olympiad (KEMI OL). People traveled to the University of Copenhagen from far and wide to calculate and experiment. From Zealand and the Copenhagen area, from high schools in Holstebro, Esbjerg, Varde, Viborg, Kolding, Skanderborg, Grenaa and even from as far away as Føroya Studentaskúli in the Faroe Islands.

For two days the students gained access to the Department of Chemistry’s laboratories and had the chance to meet with an array of the department’s talented researchers and students.

Kurt Nielsen, Ordrup Gymnasium, har i årevis stået for det danske kemi OL

Yet again, here in campus it was Associate Professor Anders Døssing who was responsible for the ambitious event. It is brought to life by a number of passionate souls from high schools, with Kurt Nielsen of Ordrup High School at the lead.

International competition in Vietnam

During spring, the high school students will contest one another in three fatiguing rounds: quarterfinals, semifinals and the finals. The goal for the rigorous competition is yet another enormous challenge. The first prize for the winner of the 2014 Danish Chemistry Olympiad is a round-trip ticket to Vietnam, where the International Chemistry Olympiad will be held in Hanoi from July 20-29.

Olympic participation an introduction to University chemistry 

The Department of Chemistry is delighted to have the chance to be a perennial host of the Chemistry Olympiad. In part, this is because we want to meet chemistry-loving youth. And also, because we would like to take the opportunity to explain to the high school students that chemistry is not just a high school course, but a programme with unique opportunities to solve real problems, work creatively with researchers from around the world and is a means of gaining a meaningful and well-paid job.

The Department feels that anyone skilled enough in chemistry to take part in the Chemistry Olympiad is also sufficiently skilled to complete a chemistry programme. Therefore, the Department arranged for a number of tours and presentations during the two-day event. Professor Mogens Brøndsted discussed molecular electronics and two PhD students, Freja Østerstrøm and Liv Klein spoke respectively about atmospheric chemistry and the femtosecond laser, while Professor Ole John Nielsen addressed global warming and the chemist’s role in preventing this phenomenon.

At the awards ceremony on the second day, Department Head Mikael Bols presented trophies to 15 winners who will now advance to the next round. Round three and four will take place at DTU and Aarhus University. The fifth and final round will see the sharpest students return to the University of Copenhagen for more experiments and calculation exercises. Finally, a winner will be announced within the historic setting at Carlsberg.