A Worthwhile Investment

The Israeli delegation to the 49th International Chemistry Olympiad for high school pupils (IChO-49) brought home one silver and two bronze medals. The delegation was selected and trained at the Technion’s Schulich Faculty of Chemistry.

From left to right: Dr. Izana Nigel-Etinger, Ron Solan, Ben Pilarsky, Rina Sevostianov, Ofir Shmul, and Prof. Zeev Gross

The Israeli delegation to the International Chemistry Olympiad, comprised of four high school students and two mentors from the Technion, returned from Bangkok with a silver and two bronze medals.

The International Olympiad was held this year in Thailand, under the patronage of Her Royal Highness the Princess of Thailand, Chemist Dr. Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who celebrated her 60th birthday on July 4.

Ron Solan, a student of Dina Reines and Omer Horesh at Rishonim High School in Herzliya, won the silver medal.

The bronze medals went to Rina Sevostianov, a student of Michal Kaufman at Makif Gimel High School in Ashdod, and Ophir Shmul, a student of Dr. Guy Ashkenazi at the Israel Arts and Science Academy in Jerusalem. The fourth member of the delegation was Ben Pilarsky, a student of Mirit Kramer at Rabin Comprehensive High School in Kiryat Yam.  

Participants for the annual International Olympiad are selected from thousands of Israelis participating in the Chimiada, the national chemistry competition for high school students. The three winners have already won international Chemistry Olympiads in the past: Solan won a silver medal last year at the International Chemistry Olympiad and a gold medal this year at the Mendeleev Chemistry Olympiad, a prestigious competition for participants from all over Asia and Eastern Europe. Sevostianov won a bronze medal at the 2016 International Chemistry Olympiad, and Shmul won a bronze medal at the Mendeleev Chemistry Olympiad this year.

All Israeli contestants in international chemistry Olympiads are screened and prepared in a special program held at Technion under the auspices of the Israeli Ministry of Education. The head of the program, Prof. Zeev Gross of the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, explains that the impressive achievements of Israeli competitors are the result of extensive preparations in both theoretical and practical aspects. The head instructor of the program, Dr. Izana Nigel-Etinger, carries out this complex activity with the assistance of laboratory engineers Emma Gerts and Gabriele Halevi, and Mira Katz, who is in charge of logistical management. Numerous faculty members and doctoral students – all from the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry at Technion – also participate in this major effort.