55th International Chemistry Olympiad in Switzerland

Brazil, which has been participating in international Olympics for over 20 years, standing out more and more, finds in the 55th International Chemistry Olympiad in Switzerland an opportunity to reveal new talents in the field. In 2023, the delegation will have two mentor teachers and four students.

Meet the delegation that is going to represent Brazil!

– By Sofia Costa, Communications Manager

The students participating in the IChO go through an intense marathon of 6 phases of the Brazilian Chemistry Olympiad, with a total duration of 2 years of study and preparation, and they have to overcome the challenges of different types of exams to be selected.

It is a great opportunity for Brazil to demonstrate, through the Olympics, the capability of chemistry students in the hope of fostering more incentives for the democratic teaching of the subject in schools.

Meet the students

All students from the state of Ceará, aged 17, were awarded medals on the national stage, which involved experimental concepts demonstrated through video and went through a preparatory course with 14 other finalists based on advanced topics in chemistry, taught by professors from universities such as USP, UFPI, and UFMG.

They have all been studying for the Olympiad for over two years, dedicating time to practical laboratory work every week, preparing themselves year after year. They have also continuously improved their English skills and emotionally prepared themselves for two intense days of exams, all driven by a deep desire to bring visibility to the field of science in Brazil, which is considered underestimated by students.

“Chemistry is a science of utmost importance to society, playing a fundamental role in areas such as the environment, pharmaceutical production, and the industrial sector. With an increasingly alarming situation regarding environmental problems, chemistry can seek solutions to reduce the impacts caused by humans on the planet.[…] Therefore, young people interested in chemistry have much to contribute by continuing in this field professionally,” says João Vitor Fonseca.

The four students agree that participating in the International Chemistry Olympiad goes beyond the subject itself but also represents “an opportunity to inspire other young people to become interested in the academic and research fields, both of which are extremely important to our society since many scientific discoveries end up affecting and influencing our lives, even indirectly,” adds Nailton Castro.


Meet the mentors

The two mentors will be Prof. Lucas Carvalho Veloso Rodrigues, a Professor at the University of São Paulo, who will lead the delegation, and Prof. Nilce Pompeu, a Professor at the Federal University of Ceará.

While the students continue their preparations in their schools, the mentors thoroughly study the preparation to be ready for the problem discussion and arbitration stages. In addition, another key role is to talk to each student and help them stay centered and calm for the exams.

Like the students, the mentors also see an opportunity to inspire other students to enter the field: “I believe the first point is to demystify the relationship between chemistry and toxic or harmful substances. We must show how chemistry permeates everything around us (including ourselves). Incentives to show the benefits of chemistry in technology, in the positive social impacts are fundamental”, professor Lucas Carvalho.