On the evening of July 18th (CST), the 54th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO2022) closed at Nankai University in Tianjin. After nine days of fierce competition among the 326 participants from 84 countries and regions around the world, 36 gold medals, 71 silver medals and 103 bronze medals were awarded. In addition, 23 participants won honorary awards and 41 received the “Golden Monkey Award”. 

At 6 pm on June 18th, the grand closing ceremony of the IChO2022 was held in Nankai University Sports Center. Shu Wei, Executive Secretary of the China Association for Science and Technology, Zhu Peng, Vice Mayor of Tianjin, Fan Qinghua, Secretary General of the Chinese Chemical Society, Xin Bing, Director General of the Children and Youth Science Center of CAST, Lu Weimin, Executive Vice-chairman of the Tianjin Association of Science and Technology, Yang Kexin, Executive Vice Chair of Nankai University Council, presented awards respectively to the top three winners of gold medals; winners of gold, silver and bronze medals; winners of the honorary award and the ‘Golden Monkey Award’. They expressed warm congratulations and best wishes to the winners and the hope that young people from all over the world would bravely scale new heights and win greater success in their journey of studying and exploring chemistry, striving to benefit all mankind.Lu Shuangying, Vice-chairman of the Tianjin Association of Science and Technology, Song Licheng, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Professor of the College of Chemistry of Nankai University, Duan Lianyun, Professor of the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of Peking University, Wang Yingxia, Professor of the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of Peking University, and Sandro Marcotullio, Junior Programme Officer, Technology and Education Section, of the Swiss Embassy, attended the closing ceremony.

The 54th IChO was held in the form of a theoretical exam, covering inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, structural chemistry, and analytical chemistry. At the closing ceremony, entrusted by Zhou Qilin, Chair of the IChO2022 Scientific Committee, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Professor of the College of Chemistry of Nankai University, Zhang Xinxing, member of the IChO2022 Scientific Committee and researcher of the College of Chemistry of Nankai University, made a review of the theoretical exam questions.

The nine exam questions were selected from major events related to human life and health, as well as economic and social development, including the rapid nucleic acid test for the novel coronavirus that is demanded urgently in the world, the key energy storage materials supporting the national strategic carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals, protein synthesis and modification that helps explore the mysteries of life, and the synthetic chiral spiral ring catalysts design to improve the efficiency of chiral molecular synthesis. “This is not only to test the chemical knowledge of the participants but also to enable the youngsters with scientific enthusiasm and spirit of exploration to appreciate the incalculable significance and value of chemistry in the process of benefiting mankind, and to learn more about ancient and modern China's chemical achievements,” said Professor Zhang.

In order to enable participants to experience chemical experiment operations online, the Organizing Committee of the 54th IChO pioneered the use of virtual simulation experiments and online experiment questions. By adopting technologies such as computer simulation and virtual reality, the close combination of theory and experiment was realized so that participants could overcome time and space constraints and experience the fun of chemical experiments. Also, the Organizing Committee set up a “Golden Monkey Award” for young participants who performed well in the experiment sessions.

The closing ceremony was filled with a strong atmosphere of Chinese and Western cultural fusion. Accompanied by the cheerful and passionate melody of “Drum Music for Five Continents,”Chinese artists performed enthusiastically with different percussion instruments and a variety of Chinese and Western orchestral instruments at Nankai University, the host of this event, representing the young chemistry talents from five continents “gathering in Nankai online to participate in the grand event, with chemistry as the medium.”

The Western-style pas de deux “Heart Swaying with Huxuan Dance” guided the audience to travel to the past and experience diversified cultures and rich history fostered along the age-old Silk Road in promoting cultural exchanges between the West and the East.

In the evening the choir from Nankai University, who have won many championships in international competitions, sang “Nankai University, My Beautiful Home,” an adapted song, and “You and Me,” the theme song of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The singers from the host university showcased the aspiration to work with young people from different countries for a better tomorrow with chemistry.

During the Closing Ceremony, highlights included performances by participants of IChO2022. These programs had shown the warmth and vitality from the youth across the world. 

Considerable time and dedication of numerous volunteers guaranteed the success of IChO. At the ceremony, volunteer representatives from Nankai University paid tribute to the young people who forged ahead on the road of scientific exploration and their fearless youth, with the dance “Try Everything”.

Chen Jun, President of the Organizing Committee for IChO2022, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Vice President of Nankai University, said that the IChO spirit would be passed on forever, and that he looked forward to jointly creating a better future for the IChO. 

Gábor Magyarfalvi, Chair of the Steering Committee of the International Chemistry Olympiad, expressed his heartfelt thanks to the host of this event, and to all institutions and individuals that had contributed to its success. He also extended warm congratulations to all participants and winners.

On behalf of the Organizing Committee of the 55th International Chemistry Olympiad, Günther Dissertori, President of the IChO2023 and Rector of ETH Zurich, sincerely welcomed all the young students, mentors, observers, and guests who love chemistry to Zurich, Switzerland, in 2023 to exchange views and spark new ideas. At the closing ceremony, Chairman Chen waved the flag of the International Chemistry Olympiad vigorously, and then handed it to Sandro Marcotullio, the representative of the next IChO host country.

The 54th International Chemistry Olympiad came to a successful conclusion. Farewell Tianjin! We will meet in Zurich in 2023!