Technion Coaches High School Students to Olympiad Victory

August 7, 2017
Jennifer Frey

An Israeli delegation of four high school students to the 49th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) brought home one silver and two bronze medals. The team was trained at the Technion.

Ron Solan, a student at Rishonim High School in Herzliya, won the silver medal. The bronze medals went to Rina Sevostianov; a student at Makif Gimel High School in Ashdod; and Ophir Shmul, a student at the Israel Arts and Science Academy in Jerusalem. The fourth member of the delegation was Ben Pilarsky, a student at Rabin Comprehensive High School in Kiryat Yam.

(from left) Dr. Izana Nigel-Etinger, Ron Solan, Ben Pilarsky, Rina Sevostianov, Ofir Shmul and Prof. Zeev Gross.

Participants for the annual International Chemistry Olympiad are selected from thousands of Israelis participating in the Chimiada, the national chemistry competition for high school students. The Israeli contestants are screened and prepared in a special program held at the Technion, under the auspices of the Israeli Ministry of Education. The head of the program, Prof. Zeev Gross of the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, credits the impressive achievements of the Israeli competitors to extensive preparations in both theoretical and practical aspects.

Dr. Izana Nigel-Etinger coached the Israeli delegation, with the assistance of laboratory engineers Emma Gerts and Gabriele Halevi; Mira Katz, who is in charge of logistical management; and others.

All three winners have won international chemistry competitions in the past. Solan won a silver medal last year at the IChO 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 IChO, and Shmul won a bronze medal at this year’s Medeleev Chemistry Olympiad.

The IChO took place this year in Bangkok under the patronage of Her Royal Highness the Princess of Thailand, Dr. Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who is also a chemist. One of the highly regarded International Science Olympiads for high school students, the IChO was first held in Prague in 1968, and has been held every year since then with the exception of 1971.

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