Australian secondary school students have brought home gold medals at the International Science Olympiads – a series of annual competitions contested among the top students across 14 science and maths disciplines.
The nation’s top science students in biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, mathematics and informatics competed against nearly 2,000 others from 104 countries in events held in July and August this year.
Penny Tassicker (earth sciences), James Johnson (biology), Zian Shang (mathematics), Evan Lin (informatics) were all awarded gold medals for their respective categories.
Tassicker was also awarded a Mary Anning Medal – named for the palaeontologist who was the first to discover a complete Plesiosaur skeleton – as the top female student in her discipline.
In all, 31 Australians from 24 schools participated in the four science competitions, contributing a further 12 silver and 7 bronze medals to the nation’s tally across the six events.
Students are selected from the pool of students who compete in their national science Olympiads; Australia’s are conducted each year by not-for-profits Australian Science Innovations and the Australian Maths Trust with funding from the Australian Government.
The exam-based Olympiads score participants, awarding merits based on their results. Many of this year’s competitions were the first held in-person following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our team performed really strongly in their first year back at a face-to-face event,” says the Australian Maths Trust’s director of performance and pathways, Ben Kirk.
ASI supports the biology, physics, chemistry and earth sciences teams.
“Once again Australian students have done incredibly well in the International Science Olympiads, which is a testament to the skill and dedication of those who are very likely to be among our future generations of scientists,” says ASI executive director Vanessa Kates. “We look forward to seeing how these brilliant young scientific minds will in future contribute to solving some of the major global challenges ahead of us, many of which have science at their heart.”