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European ScienceOlympiad 2021: Digital qualification round for the formation of the national teams successfully completed

April 30th, 2021

Six students qualified for the two German national teams in a digital selection round. Unfortunately, due to pandemic rules, they will not be allowed to compete at the international competition in Hungary.

Each country is represented by two national teams at the European Science Olympiad (EuSO). Each team consists of three students who jointly solve interdisciplinary experimental problems covering the three sciences of biology, chemistry and physics. As this is not realizable in attendance under the current pandemic conditions, the organizing team was faced with the special challenge of organizing an online selection competition with experimental team exams.

A total of 15 invited students from the 3rd rounds of the Biology, Chemistry and Physics Olympiad selection competitions and from last year's Junior Science Olympiad final team took part in the elimination competitions over the past few days. The participants were sent packages in advance containing the necessary materials to carry out the experiments for the practical individual exams in biology, chemistry and physics. Common household materials also had to be obtained and prepared. On the first day, the experimental written examinations in the individual subjects were released to all students in three video conferences and had to be completed in 90 minutes each. The results of these individual examinations were used to form teams of three, each consisting of one expert for biology, chemistry and physics.

A digital laboratory escape room had been prepared so that an interdisciplinary scientific team retreat could also be conducted online and one team at a time could work on it together. The team was connected to the laboratory at the IPN in Kiel via a video conference. A member of staff was standing by in the laboratory to carry out the expert team's assignments experimentally in the video conference. The team leader was also connected to the video conference and authorized the respective experiments after the tasks had been correctly solved experimentally. The digital laboratory escape room consisted of five sub-experiments that were based on each other. The experimental goal was to produce a disinfectant with the correct ingredients and concentrations. The teams each had 75 minutes to complete this special team session. Even though the participants within the teams were not able to meet and coordinate in person, communication within the teams worked well and all five teams were able to leave the experimental Escape Room successfully. This model can be transferred to other competitions where teamwork is required.

The best performers will now form the two national teams.

Team A consists of:

Marta Conti (Biology, Carl-von-Ossietzky-Gymnasium, Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia).

Marlene Maager (Chemistry, Gymnasium im Paul-von-Denis-Schulzentrum, Schifferstadt, Rhineland-Palatinate)

Tim Enders (Physics, Goetheschule, Ilmenau, Thuringia)


Team B consists of:

Kasimir Reich (Biology, Humboldt-Gymnasium, Potsdam, Brandenburg)

Enrico Schwippert (Chemistry, Fichte-Gymnasium, Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia)

Konrad Jannes Köhler (Physics, Wilhelm-Ostwald-Gymnasium, Leibzig, Saxony).

The selection round was supervised by PD Dr. Burkhard Schroeter and Dr. Stefan Petersen (both IPN, Kiel) as well as by Dr. Matthias Griessner (Hanover), Damian Groß (Munich), Jan Kruse (Munich), Annabel Maisl (Göttingen) and Konstantin Schwark (Leipzig). Special thanks go to Kirsten Reu from the Biology Laboratory at the IPN.

Unfortunately, one downside remains: Since the Hungarian organizers of the international competition require the teams and supervisors to be present in the laboratory, Germany is unfortunately unable to participate in the international competition this year due to pandemic regulations. We are looking forward to the next in person competition in 2022!

PD Dr. Burkhard Schroeter 
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