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"Chemistry for a Better Tomorrow": German team wins two bronze and two silver medals at the 52nd International Chemistry Olympiad 2020

July 31st, 2020

The 52nd International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) took place in an unusual format from 23.07. - 30.07.2020 with the theme "Chemistry for a Better Tomorrow": 235 participants from 60 countries and eight observing countries attended an online theory test in their respective countries.

Originally, the Olympics were to be held in Istanbul (Turkey) as a face-to-face event with theory and hands-on exams - with plenty of time for intercultural exchange and the opportunity to get to know the host country better. Unfortunately, the Corona Pandemic necessitated a cancellation of the usual form. However, not all the energy and time that the participants worldwide have invested in preparing for IChO should be in vain: The German national team met for a five-hour theory test at the KinderMedienZentrum in Erfurt.


The German team for this year's IChO consisted of

- Maximilian Mittl, Carl-Orff-Gymnasium (Unterschleißheim)

- Linus Schwarz, state high school for the highly gifted (Schwäbisch Gmünd)

- Tom-Erik Steinkopf, Georg-Cantor-Gymnasium (Halle)

- Frederik Laurin Walter, Werner-von-Siemens Grammar School (Magdeburg)

 The team prevailed against 1,196 participants in a nationwide four-stage selection competition. The challenges of the international competition dealt with the total synthesis of nepetalactone, which is found in catnip, thermodynamics on an interstellar voyage as well as boron compounds and hydrogen storage. In the end Tom-Erik Steinkopf and Linus Schwarz each received a bronze medal, Maximilian Mittl and Frederk Laurin Walter each received a silver medal. This is a great achievement!

The students were accompanied by Peter Pörsch (Staatl. Studienseminar für das Lehramt an Gymnasien, Mainz) and Philipp Gremler (Consist, Kiel). The mentors were Sonja Hanebaum (IPN, Kiel), Dr. Uta Purgahn (Albert-Schweitzer-Gymnasium, Erfurt), Felix Strieth-Kalthoff (University of Münster) and Maximilian Fellert (LMU Munich). They translated the exam, took part in meetings of the international jury and corrected the exams of the participants.

The organizers in Istanbul and the Steering Committee of the IChO deserve our sincere thanks that a good alternative to the classical IChO was found with such high motivation and for once again developing exciting questions. At the end of the closing ceremony the IChO flag was handed over to the Organizing Committee in Japan. If all goes well, the German team will be able to enjoy the intercultural exchange with participants from other countries at the 53rd IChO in Japan from 24 July to 2 August 2021.

Contact the competition management of the Chemistry Olympiad in Germany:

IPN, Olshausenstraße 62, 24098 Kiel
Phone: +49 (0)431 880-3168
E-Mail: [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]