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2016 Australian Chemistry Olympiad Team

Evan
Evan Hockings
Sydney Grammar
Evan Hockings is soon to compete for Australia at one of the largest and most prestigious science competitions for high school students in the world – the International Chemistry Olympiad. To be selected to represent Australia, Evan first sat the Australian Science Olympiad Exam at his school last August. This year the International Chemistry Olympiad is being held in Tbilisi, Georgia, and will involve students from a hundred different countries. Between the five-hour-long theoretical and experimental exams, the chemistry Olympians will be exploring Georgia: “Touristing in Tbilisi seems promising – it’s an interesting place I probably wouldn’t have visited otherwise!” While the Sydney Grammar student is broadly interested in science, he does particularly like organic chemistry, saying “I find organic chemistry quite fascinating because it’s a broad field of study that describes the basic chemistry underpinning our complex biology!” Evan swims and plays the bassoon for recreation. In the future, Evan plans to study engineering and science.
Evan swims and plays the bassoon for recreation. While Evan is broadly interested in science, he does particularly like organic chemistry, saying “I find organic chemistry quite fascinating because it’s a broad field of study that describes the basic chemistry underpinning our complex biology!” In the future, Evan plans to study engineering and science.


Mackenzie
Mackenzie Shaw
Sydney Grammar
Competing in a nationwide science competition for high school students – the Australian Science Olympiad Exams – has led to Mackenzie Shaw travelling overseas to represent Australia at the International Chemistry Olympiad. The Olympiad is soon to be held in Tbilisi, Georgia. “I am looking forwards to both the intellectual challenge of competing well as the social experience of being with people from all over the world,” says Mackenzie. To prepare for the competition, Mackenzie took part in the Australian Science Olympiads Summer School at the Australian National University, where he learnt the equivalent of an entire first-year university course in chemistry in just two weeks. “It was fantastic!” The Sydney Grammar student enjoys music, playing oboe and piano, as well as singing (both solo and in a choir). Chemistry and physics are Mackenzie’s preferred sciences and he would like to pursue both disciplines at university. He admires the talent and determination of Stephen Hawking. Mackenzie says his favourite part of training for the International Chemistry Olympiad was “the synthesis of ammonium rhodanilate because it made the craziest patterns in water.”


Dilshan
Dilshan Wijesena
Baulkham Hills High School
Dilshan Wijesena, of Baulkham Hills High School, has been selected to compete for Australia at the International Chemistry Olympiad. This year, the ‘Olympic Games’ for high school chemistry students is being held in Tbilisi, Georgia. The first stage in the selection process for the Australian team is the Australian Science Olympiad Exam. Dilshan sat this exam in chemistry last year along with thousands of other students from across Australia. “Sitting the Australian Science Olympiad Exam is a great opportunity for learning chemistry beyond what is taught at school and broadening your understanding of ‘real life’ chemistry. It’s for anyone looking for an exciting science challenge.”
Dilshan is an avid sports enthusiast, participating in cricket, soccer, discus and cross-country running. He is a cadet with St John Ambulance and also a member of his school’s concert band. Dilshan intends to study chemistry at university, potentially with a focus on analytic chemistry: “Analytic chemistry is important in food science, health and medicine. I also like organic and inorganic chemistry, and learning about transactions that produce new chemicals.”


Simon
Simon Yang
James Ruse Agricultural High School
Simon Yang’s passion for chemistry is taking him overseas while he is still in high school. He is off to compete at the International Chemistry Olympiad – this year held in Tbilisi, Georgia – as part of the Australian team. Simon sat the Australian Science Olympiad Exam in chemistry last year. “The Australian Science Olympiad Exam is a rewarding competition because it guides you into areas of science that you might not have explored yet using your existing knowledge.” He was then selected for the Australian Science Olympiads Summer School held at the Australian National University. “At Summer School, you complete a lot of experiments with university equipment, which is great,” although he does admit to having a love/hate relationship with synthesis laboratory practicals: “It’s a bit like a crash course in decision making – it’s either really frustrating or satisfying.”
Simon’s interests include badminton, basketball and philosophy. His greatest model is Marie Curie, for the sacrifices she made in the pursuit of knowledge. Beyond school, he hopes to study economics or actuarial science alongside chemistry.