Intellectual Curiosity Sparks Record Entries for International Chemistry Olympiad

Intellectual Curiosity Sparks Record Entries for International Chemistry Olympiad

Earlier this term a record number of Caterham pupils entered the first round of the IChO (International Chemistry Olympiad).  This is a really hard, but fun, two-hour exam designed to stretch and challenge the best Upper Sixth Form pupils in the country.   

Questions covered topics that included rocket fuels, electronegativity, amino acid complexes, vaping and cheese. Electronegativity is a timely topic as it was the 90th anniversary of Linus Pauling’s proposing the concept of electronegativity in 2022. With the 2023 International Chemistry Olympiad being held in Switzerland, a question on cheese was obligatory, and quizzed pupils on the conversion of lactose to lactic acid during fermentation in cheese manufacturing. 

Of those who sat the paper along with our Upper Sixth pupils there were also twenty pupils from Lower Sixth, five from Fifth Year and one from each of the Fourth and Third Year.  It is fantastic that so many younger pupils wanted to enter and testament to their intellectual curiosity. 

The results have now been published and we are delighted to report that Caterham won five Gold, 12 Silver and thirteen Bronze awards.  This is a huge achievement, especially considering that this competition is aimed at Upper Sixth pupils.

Particular congratulations must go to:

Of the Lower Sixth Form, Lisa H and Samuel L achieved Gold Awards with the rest achieving Silver or Bronze.

Three Fifth Year pupils, Kayla A, Hazel T and Ariel W, achieved a Bronze Award – a fantastic achievement for sitting the paper two years early!

Yolanda C, in Third Year, achieved a Silver Award – this is a hugely impressive achievement and deserves great praise.

Of the Upper Sixth Form pupils who sat the paper, Avery C and Alex M both scored extremely high scores, putting them both in the top 40 of 12,000 people who sat the paper.  

Avery C has been selected to participate in the second round of the IChO.  This is an invitation sent to the top 30 pupils to select a team of four to represent the UK in the international final in Zurich later this year.  The second round consists of four days of Chemistry at Nottingham University over the Easter Holidays. 

All of our pupils did extremely well and should be very proud of their achievements in what is the most rigorous chemistry challenge for pupils.  Well done to all!

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