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High School Students win gold at Chemistry Olympiad

Taiwanese students were awarded three gold medals and one silver medal after the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) revealed the competition results at the University of Maryland, yesterday. Ranked as second in the world, Taiwan falls slightly behind the South Korea team, who acquired four gold medals.

The IChO is an annual competition for the world's most talented high school chemistry students. A total of 72 nations attended this year, with roughly 283 participants.

Among the top winners was Chang Chih-chin (張志勤), who declined the first offer to attend National I-Lan Senior High School (ILSH), located in his hometown. He jokingly said, “I-lang's simple country lifestyle is good for the body. I can focus on being a science geek.” Other students include Hsieh Tsung-hua (謝棕樺), Hsieh Hao-hsuan (謝浩玄) and silver medalist Tung Yu-hung (童宇鴻).

Teams were tested on laboratory skills and theoretical knowledge. Gold medals were awarded to approximately the top 10 percent of finishers. The competition consisted of a five-hour written theoretical examination and a five-hour practical skills exam in a laboratory. Exam results total 100 points, of which Chang earned 96.19, ranking him third individually, according to organizers.

According to ILSH chair, Chang had already won a gold medal for the International Earth Science Olympiad in 2010, which earned him a gold ticket to attend National Taiwan University in the Department of Chemistry. Chang avoided majors such as school of medicine and electric engineering. He explained, “My passion is in academics and research studies. Hopefully, I will be able to go abroad and do that.”

According to his teachers, Hsieh Tsung-hua (謝棕樺), from Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School (建國中學), was a participant of the school's chemistry team and loves it. He has been accepted by the chemistry departments at NTU and University of Michigan.

Hsieh Hao-hsuan (謝浩玄), who also attends (JGHS), was known as a chemistry“nut” by his teachers. His teacher, 朱正明, noted,“Hsieh was determined to become an international competitor after he was eliminated in the national challenge last year.”

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