Highest number of girls on Olympiad teams

Seventeen of Australia’s brightest student biologists, chemists, physicists and earth scientists have made the teams to represent Australia at the UNESCO-sanctioned International Science Olympiads in July and September. They will compete in the world’s toughest science competitions against some of the smartest kids in the world.

Almost half the science students putting their skills to the test for Australia are girls – the highest representation of girls since Australia first began competing. Three of the girls will compete as members of the first nationally selected team to go to the International Earth Science Olympiad.

The talented Year 11 and 12 students will receive their Australian team blazers at a teams announcement ceremony in Parliament House, Canberra, on Monday 15 June, attended by Federal Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, media personality and Sydney University Mathematics and Science Ambassador, Adam Spencer, parents, teachers, academics, Olympiad alumni and officials.

The young Olympians come from 11 schools around Australia. They have spent a year in exams and intensive training to make the cut. They succeeded against 3,914 other students in the qualifying exams, making a shortlist of 86 to attend a two week summer school at the Australian National University in preparation for the Olympiads.

The students will compete in the Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences and Physics Olympiads. They will test their skills against the best in the world in competitions taking place in Denmark (Biology), Azerbaijan (Chemistry), Brazil (Earth Sciences) and India (Physics).

“I am really keen to represent Australia and meet students from around the world who share similar interests; I hope that I can inspire in other students a love and passion for science,” says Sacha Mann from Girton Grammar School in central Victoria, who will compete at the 2015 Earth Science Olympiad in Brazil.

“The Olympiads program is vital for capturing high-achieving students’ interest in science at a critical stage. It exposes them to new possibilities that, for some, will develop their capacity to become our future leaders in science and innovation,” says Lillian Lesueur, Executive Director of Australian Science Innovations.

The Australian Science Olympiads program is run by non-profit Australian Science Innovations and supported by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training through the Mathematics and Science Participation Program. BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and the Australian National University are supporters of the Australian Science Olympiad Competition.

The inaugural Australian Earth and Environmental Science Olympiad Competition is an Inspiring Australia initiative supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Industry and Science.

The Australian team members for the 2015 International Science Olympiads are:

International Biology Olympiad
12 to 19 July, Aarhus, Denmark

Liam Murphy Year 12 Girton Grammar School VIC
Keita Richardson Year 12 Normanhurst Boys High School NSW
Simran Rajpal Year 12 The Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School VIC
Houston Xue Year 12 Baulkham Hills High School NSW

International Chemistry Olympiad
20 to 29 July, Baku, Azerbaijan

Hui Min Tay Year 12 Perth Modern School WA
Hyerin Park Year 12 Perth Modern School WA
Lachlan Wilson Year 12 Wesley College VIC
Zane Zhang Year 12 James Ruse Agricultural High School NSW

International Physics Olympiad
5 to 12 July, Mumbai, India

Yinuo Han Year  12 Southport School QLD
Joshua Lin  Year  12 James Ruse Agricultural High School NSW
Sudarshan Ravi Year  12 Baulkham Hills High School NSW
Shiye Su Year  12 Brisbane Girls Grammar School QLD
Janet Zhong Year  12 The Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School VIC

International Earth Science Olympiad
13 to 20 September, Pocos de Caldas, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Sacha Mann Year 12 Girton Grammar School VIC
Jade Pham Year 11 James Ruse Agricultural High School NSW
Zoe Thompson Year 11 Redlands School NSW
Timothy Hume Year 12 Mansfield Secondary College VIC