A pair of chemistry whiz kids will head to Moscow next month to take on the world’s best at an international battle of the minds. The two Western Australians form half of the Australian Olympiad team.
The 45th International Chemistry Olympiad will bring together students from over 70 countries, and challenge them in a variety of theoretical and practical ways.
“It’s as big as the standard Olympics, though not as much of a spectator sport,” said 16 year old Sam Alsop, a Year 11 student at Frederick Irwin Anglican School in Mandurah.
“I’m reading a lot and going through past papers so I can do the best I can.”
17 year old Ben Anandappa, who is currently completing his Year 12 studies at Christian Brothers College in Fremantle, said he’ll focus on keeping calm during the competition.
“In the end, it’s a team thing. The winners are decided by the highest combined score, so it’s about supporting each other,” he said.
Murdoch University Adjunct Professor Jennifer Searcy, who has been teaching the pair since they were in primary school, has supported Ben and Sam in their academic pursuits.
“A competition like this is a fantastic stimulus to learning, ” Professor Searcy said.
“I want to give my students opportunities they would not otherwise find, so I teach them problem solving early, so they can excel in later life.”
Both Ben and Sam are planning a career in chemistry.
“I like science in general, but chemistry in particular as it’s dealing with the world at its most fundamental level,” Sam said.
Professor Searcy runs after school classes in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry three times a week for students ten years and older. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or ring 0407 982 349.