The 54th International Chemistry Olympiad Opens in Tianjin


Change, Creation and Fusion! On the evening of July 10, 2022 (CST), the 54th International Chemistry Olympiad (hereinafter referred to as “IChO 2022”) was launched in Nankai University, Tianjin. Zhang Yuzhuo, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Secretary of the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), Zhang Gong, Mayor of Tianjin, and Co-chairman of the IChO 2022, and Gábor Magyarfalvi, Chair of the IChO Steering Committee attended and addressed the opening ceremony. Approximately 1,000 participants from 84 countries and regions around the world gathered online for this event. With chemistry as the media, worldwide high school students will compete with each other, foster friendship, display youthful vitality, and seek their lofty dreams in this chemistry event for the youth which is of the largest scale and influence in the world.

Zhang Yuzhuo said that only by reaching the supreme social good can we attain perfection. IChO 2022 aims to promote advancement in science and technology, foster openness and integration, encourage innovation and creativity, stimulate interest in science, discover and cultivate talents, boost exchanges and cooperation in basic discipline education, and enhance friendship among young people from different countries, making the seeds of science, intelligence and unity take root, sprout and grow in the hearts of global youth. As the co-organizer of IChO 2022, CAST would like to create an exciting, honest and friendly platform for all the participants. Meanwhile, CAST is ready to work together with researchers from different countries to promote the global development of science and technology, enhance trust and exchanges among the international scientific and technological community, and contribute wisdom to the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Zhang Gong said that IChO 2022, with Change, Creation and Fusion as its theme, has successfully attracted more than 1,000 participants from more than 80 countries and region to gather on the online platform. Tianjin is an important birthplace of China’s modern industry and a frontier of China’s modern chemical & chemical engineering research and industrialization. At present, Tianjin strives to build a new socialist modern metropolis in an all-round way in accordance with the requirements of the 12th CPC Congress of Tianjin. In this process, Tianjin, with its solid industrial foundation, outstanding scientific research strength, as well as an open and inclusive urban culture, will provide a large platform and create favorable environment for young students and chemical talents from all over the world to make innovation and cultivate entrepreneurship. It is hoped that Tianjin will be able to help generate the chemical reaction among young people worldwide, build a bridge of mutual understanding and free communication, and work together in making the world even better.

Gábor extended sincere thanks to the host and organizers of this event on behalf of the Steering Committee of IChO and all the delegations. He said that in the past two years, affected by COVID-19, IChO had to be held online. China, the host country of IChO 2022, has made outstanding achievements in the history of IChO. At the same time, Nankai University, one of the organizers, has significant academic strength and world-wide reputation. He believes that IChO 2022 will bring a wonderful event to the “big family” of IChO, and expects that participants from all over the world will enjoy the beauty of chemistry online, have good achievement in the event, and enhance their interest in chemistry. 

Yao Jiannian, Executive Chairman of IChO 2022, President of Chinese Chemical Society, Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Yang Qingshan, Chair of Nankai University Council, delivered speeches as representatives of the organizers.

Yao said that the CCS has had a long-term relationship with IChO. It was since 1987 that CCS started to participate in the event. CCS hosted the 27th IChO together with Peking University in 1995, and 27 years later, we will team up with Nankai University to organize the event again. Thanks to the Steering Committee of IChO for its trust and authorization, and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry for its support. Although the competition is held online, the Organizing Committee has made every effort to overcome the negative impact of the pandemic, prepared for the competition wholeheartedly, and gained strong support and high participation rate from universities, enterprises, and all walks of life. Currently, IChO 2022 has unveiled its curtain. He hoped that all the participants could appreciate the charm of chemistry, feel the enthusiasm of China, achieve ideal results, and return home with a good memory this event.

Yang said that thanks to the support of the IChO Steering Committee and the full cooperation of the hosts, organizers, and partners of the competition, Nankai University has the opportunity to co-organize the event. Nankai University has profound historical accumulation of more than 100 years and has solid foundation of chemistry discipline. It will strive to display Nankai characteristics, Chinese culture, scientific spirit, and the charm of chemistry in the process of hosting this event and build a platform for national and regional participants to compete with each other about chemical knowledge and experimental skills, display chemical education achievements and enhance the exchange of world cultures and civilizations. He sincerely wished all the participants to exploit their potential, gain friendship, enjoy this incredible chemical Olympic journey and bring home a beautiful and unforgettable impression on Nankai University, Tianjin and China.   

Affected by the continued worldwide spread of COVID-19, the event is to be held online from July 10 to 18. The main venue of the opening ceremony was located on the Balitai campus of Nankai University, which was decorated with red walls and upturned eaves, winding balustrades and cloisters, demonstrating strong Chinese characteristics and distinctive Nankai features.  

On the opening day, 326 participants entered the “online venue” to send greetings in succession through video clips. Representatives from the next IChO host country, the Swiss team, came in the penultimate place, and the Chinese team from the host country of this year came last. In the next nine days, these world’s top-level young chemical talents will engage in a wonderful competition of wisdom and knowledge.

Yang Shu, the First Prize winner of last year’s IChO, was invited to share his experience. He said that participating in the IChO was a new starting point for his chemistry study. In the competition, he enhanced friendships with his teammates and made friends with like-minded international friends, leaving unforgettable memories and gaining valuable inspiration. He hopes this year’s participants can be calm and relaxed, exert their talents on the field, and obtain satisfactory results.

Juline and Eve from the French delegation spoke as the representatives of participants. They thanked the organizing committee for its careful preparation, saying that they had been familiar with the competition schemes through the IChO 2022 website and Catalyzer, and were deeply impressed by Chinese culture. In the event, they would like to join hands with all the participants to follow the principle of fairness and make an excellent performance. 

It is learned that this event will be held in the form of a theory examination, mainly covering inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, structural chemistry, and analytical chemistry, etc. It has been planned that each team will arrange a 5-hour examination (based on its time zone) from 14:00 to 24:00 on July 13, CST. Online and offline invigilation will be implemented to ensure fairness and impartiality. At the same time, to allow participants worldwide to experience chemical experiment operations online, the organizers has carefully prepared an experimental question and six online virtual simulation experiments, using technologies such as computer simulation, virtual reality, etc., to achieve a close combination of theory and experiment. In addition, IChO 2022 tries to break the restrictions of time and region in the form of “bonus scene” to help participants experience the fun of the experiment.

To offer the participants an authentic, vivid and complete experience of China’s culture and customs via online platforms, the organizing committee has carefully planned 10-odds diversified activities, including “Nankai University: Our Beautiful Home,” “China in the Era of Innovation: Chemistry in Intelligent Devices,” “China in My Mind: A Taste of China,” “China on the Land: Clay Figure Zhang,” “China in Written Forms: Chinese Paintings,” “Modern China: A Visit to Chemical Enterprises,” “Developing China: the Landscape of Tianjin,” “China on the Fingertips: Chinese Paper-cutting,” “A Bite of China: Tianjin Cuisine,” “China in Exploration: Secrets of the Sea,” “China under the Stars: An Adventure to the FAST,” “China in Science: Catalytic Asymmetric Synthesis.” These activities will provide the participants with a more authentic, vivid and complete experience of China in the new era and lead young people to pursue scientific value and spirits, writing a new chapter in developing science and technology for social good and encouraging innovation and creativity.

The IChO is known to have attracted much attention, which serves as a platform for outstanding students of participating countries and regions around the world to compete against each other in chemical expertise and experimental abilities, to showcase the achievements of the countries and regions in chemical education, and to strengthen mutual cultural communication and friendship. During the 51st IChO held in Paris, France, in 2019, Nankai University won the right to host the 54th in 2022. This is the second time this grand gathering of young chemical enthusiasts to be held in Chinese Mainland after 27 year, after Beijing hosted the International Chemistry Olympiad in 1995.

IChO 2022, jointly hosted by the China Association for Science and Technology and Tianjin Municipal People’s Government, and organized by Nankai University, Chinese Chemical Society (CCS), Children and Youth Science Center of CAST, and Tianjin Science and Technology Association together, is designed to promote science and technology for social good, encourage innovation and creation, promote openness and fusion, and convey the voice of China. Chen Jun, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Vice President of Nankai University, Executive Chairman of IChO 2022, and President of Organizing Committee for IChO 2022 presided over the opening ceremony. A number of distinguished guests attended the ceremony, including Lu Weimin, Executive Vice Chairman of Tianjin Association of Science and Technology, Lu Shuangying, Vice Chairman of Tianjin Association of Science and Technology, Zhou Qilin, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor of Nankai University, and President of the Scientific Committee for IChO 2022, and Song Licheng, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Professor of Nankai University. Members of the Organizing Committee for IChO 2022, representatives of supporters and sponsors, volunteers, and teacher and student representatives of Nankai University were also present at the event.