Australian students go for gold in maths and science

Former Chief Scientist for Australia, Professor Penny Sackett announced the national teams in early June as part of a ceremony held at Parliament House in Canberra.

Twenty six students in total will compete across the biology, chemistry, informatics, mathematics and physics competitions at various locations including Korea, Croatia, Japan, Canada and Kazhakstan.

“These young people are among our top high school science and mathematics students. They have undergone months of gruelling training and testing to be here today to be honoured as an Australian representative for maths or science,” Professor Sackett said at the ceremony.

The teams will compete against gifted students from more than 100 other countries, making it a trial of truly international standards.

In addressing the competitors, Professor Sackett noted the importance of science and maths education in Australia.

“There are big challenges ahead for our society, in climate change, in food and water security, in medicine,” she said.

“Our future will be increasingly dependent upon young, talented and enthusiastic people like yourselves who will use science for the benefit of everybody.

“Now more than ever, Australia is the land of opportunity for those who want to pursue careers in science and mathematics and make a difference.”

The Australian Olympiad program is coordinated by the Australian Science Innovations (ASI) and the Australian Mathematics Trust who run their own internal competition and training programs to select the teams.

Interim Executive Director of ASI, Dr Nick Hagan said the Olympiads helped prepare talented students for a promising career in science and mathematics.

 “In earning themselves a place in the team, these students have proved themselves to be the best of the best in Australian science and mathematics. They are now going to be challenged against the best in the world at what are highly prestigious international events,” Dr Hagan said.

Learn more about our Olympiad competitors below:

BIOLOGY
Competing in 
South Korea 

Program Director:  Dr Mary Oliver

Jingchun Chen – Year 11 – James Ruse Agricultural High School, NSW 
Jingchun has always had a fascination for science and remembers from the age of eight years old she just liked asking “why”. This led to her great love of reading any science related books, magazines & comics. Her other interests include: art, textiles and writing. Jingchun is looking forward to: her first trip overseas, the challenge of the international competition as well as meeting people from all over the world.

Paul Khoo – Year 12 – Melbourne High School, VIC
As a young boy Paul remembers visiting the local library borrowing science books instead of picture books and devouring sections of encyclopaedias. He was always taking apart everything at hand to discover how things worked. He has a keen interest in biology and also likes the esoteric nature of quantum physics and fluid mechanics. In 2007 he was the winner of the ASX national share market competition. Paul other talent include javelin, singing and piano.

Vivian Li – Year 12 – Pymble Ladies College, NSW
Vivian believes that science gives an insight in to the world. Her teachers who imparted their knowledge and love of learning with great passion ignited her interest in science. Vivian would like to publically acknowledge them today. She is interested in the current research in genetic modification and stem cells. One day Vivian would like to pursue research that will improve the quality of life and change the way we live.

Gina Tonkin-Hill – Year 12 – The University High School, VIC
When Gina was in primary school she dressed up as Alfred Nobel. Today a former student has inspired her at her school, Elizabeth Blackburn, who was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Gina has enjoyed the Olympiad training particularly the dissections. In the future she hopes to become a doctor and work with medecins sans frontiers. Gina is looking forward to meeting people from other countries and experiencing life in Korea.

CHEMISTRY 
Competing in
Japan 

Program Director: Dr Mark Ellison

Allan Chau – Year 12 – James Ruse Agricultural High School, NSW
Allan’s interest in science was sparked by his brother who returned from the 2004 Summer School full of enthusiasm for Chemistry. This made him determined to follow in his footsteps. Allan enjoys the laboratory experiments and solving problems. He is hoping to study for a Bachelor of Science. Allan is looking forward to experiencing the beauty of Japan.

Kelvin Cheung – Year 11 – James Ruse Agricultural High School, NSW
Kelvin was awarded a bronze medal at the 2009 International Chemistry Olympiad and this year he is going for gold! Kelvin’s other interests include football, swimming and bushwalking. In the future he would like to become an eye surgeon and work in rural Australia.

Stuart Ferrie – Year 12 – Melbourne High School, NSW
Stuart has achieved top of the state awards in many science competitions. He plans to study a degree in science whilst also pursuing his other passion – music. Stuart has been involved in Melbourne Youth Music, school ensembles and is currently music captain at Melbourne High. Stuart is looking forward to visiting Japan, meeting interesting young people and the challenge of completing two difficult exams.

Cyril Tang– Year 12 – Sydney Grammar School, NSW 
The use of the Internet and the influence of his teachers and Olympiad tutors have had a powerful impact on Cyril and his perception of the field of science. New worlds of organic chemistry, astrophysics, and marine biology have made him more curious to understand how things work and why things happen. Cyril enjoys hanging out with friends, computer games, reading fantasy books and entertaining family guests by making origami polyhdera. He is keen to succeed in Japan whilst also enjoying the cultural and social experiences that await. 


PHYSICS 
Competing in
Croatia 

Program Director: Mr Matthew Verdon

Madeleine Barrow – Year 12 – MacRobertson Girls High School, VIC 
Madeleine was motivated to continue with science because of the influence of her teachers who are here today to help celebrate her achievements. She is also a talented musician who plays first violin in the Melbourne Youth Orchestra. Madeleine has been concertmaster at Music Summer schools and is currently the Music Captain at MacRobertson Girls High. She is fascinated by the mystery of quantum physics and finds electromagnetism elegant!  Madeleine can’t wait for the chance to look at some really interesting physics problems in Croatia. 

Hilary Hunt  – Year 12 – MacRobertson Girls High School, VIC 
Hilary has always been interested in science and is keen to pursue a career in a science related field. She is an avid reader and enjoys travelling, experimenting with different types of food and learning about other cultures. Hilary is looking forward to the international competition in Croatia because it’s not often you get the chance to experience the camaraderie between such a diverse and bright group of students whilst also exploring the local culture.

Andrew Kam – Year 12 – Sydney Grammar School, NSW 
Andrew delights in exploring the world of physics for example studying the technology involved in the various effects that occur on a molecular level in crystals. He has a wide range of interests from playing bridge, poker and golf to enjoying being swimming captain and singing in the school capella group. Having received an Honorable Mention at the Asian Physics Olympiad, Andrew is looking forward to the competition in Croatia.

Olivia Kim – Year 12 – James Ruse Agricultural High School, NSW 
Olivia has only recently developed an interest in science. Last year she began learning physics and was hooked by the logic and analytical skills she developed. In April Olivia successfully competed in the Asian Physics Olympiad. In September, she heads to Princeton University to continue her education. She plans to study economics, applied mathematics and offcourse, Physics. Her other interests include learning foreign languages – German, Japanese and Spanish, military history, volleyball philosophy and debating.

Alexander London– Year 12 –  Sydney Grammar School, NSW
Alex has always had an affinity for science. He is particularly interested in relativity and quantum physics. Questions about the origins of the universe and how it will end are topics that excite Alex. This year he was awarded a bronze medal at the Asian Physics Olympiad. He is looking forward to the cultural experiences in Croatia. Next year Alex is thinking about studying law. He enjoys playing cricket, soccer and golf.

Ishraq Uddin– Year 12 –  Hurlstone Agricultural High School, NSW
Ishraq remembers being inquisitive from a young age. Like Alex London, he too is keen to explore fundamental questions about our origins and why the universe takes the form it does. He admires Galileo for persisting with his ideas and scientific beliefs. Ishraq was a member of the Asian Physics team and cherished the opportunities to meet other teenagers from around the world who also had a genuine interest in science. Next year he plans to study science possibly at the University of Sydney.

Iris Uy– Year 12 –  Baulkham Hills High School, NSW
Iris did not pay much attention to science until one of her teacher’s sparked an interest by using analogies to explain complicated scientific concepts. Now, her favourite subject is physics! Other interests include playing the piano and clarinet, singing in a capella choir and soccer. Iris intends to further her studies at university doing an engineering degree possibly aerospace engineering or a science degree.

Bob Wu– Year 12 –  Sydney Grammar School, NSW
In Year 7 Bob can remember a history lesson in which he learnt about the Scientific Revolution and the influence of Isaac Newton and Galileo Galilei. He began to see the magic of science and the development of ideas. Currently he is keen to learn more about nanophysics and its extensive range of applications from the use of carbon nanotubes in creating space elevators to the application of nanotechnology in combating disease. Bob is also interested in international affairs, Australia’s relationship with the world and the mechanisms of the global community. In the future he would like to pursue a career in diplomacy.

MATHEMATICS 
Competing in
Kazakhstan 

Program Director: Dr Angelo Di Pasquale

Aaron Chong – Year 12 – Doncaster Secondary College, Vic
Aaron has always had an affinity for numbers which he finds challenging and stimulating.  He plans to study Business and Commerce with a focus on mathematics related topics, perhaps eventually becoming an Actuary.  Aaron was awarded a Silver medal at the 2009 IMO and this year he hopes to win gold for Australia.

Timothy Large – Year 11 – Sydney Grammar School, NSW
Whilst Timothy has always liked maths, he became really interested in the problem solving side through AMOC’s state based program in NSW.   He hopes to further his study at university and follow a maths related career.  Timothy is looking forward to all aspects of the IMO: the mathematics, visiting new places and the people he will meet.  Timothy also enjoys studying Computing, Physics, Latin and Greek and his hobbies include classical music, video games and films.

Stacey Law – Year 12 – James Ruse Agricultural High School, NSW
Stacey has had a natural interest in maths since she was very young and plans to include mathematics in her future studies.  Stacey achieved a Bronze medal at IMO in 2009 and she enjoys the whole IMO experience including team training and meeting team members from other countries.  Her other interests include reading, music, volleyball, tennis, films, sketching and painting and playing pool.

Kiho Park – Year 12 – Mount Waverley Secondary College, Vic
Kiho enjoys discovering and learning new theorems in maths, especially the feeling of achievement when he solves a difficult question.  His current ambition is to do his best in the coming IMO, and to continue studying maths at university.  He is also looking forward to visiting Kazakhstan and meeting students from many different countries.  Kiho enjoys playing the cello and piano, and practising Taekwondo.

David Vasak – Year 12 – Sydney Grammar School, NSW
David first became interested in mathematics because he enjoyed solving problems and liked the neatness of the results.  He hopes to study pure mathematics in the future and his immediate aim is to do well at IMO.  David looks forward to visiting Kazakhstan and seeing a new part of the world.

Sampson Wong – Year 12 – James Ruse Agricultural High School, NSW
This will be Sampson’s third IMO; he achieved a Bronze medal in Madrid in 2008 and a Gold medal in Bremen last year.  His favourite topic in mathematics is geometry and while he hasn’t decided on his future studies, they will most likely include mathematics.  Sampson is particularly looking forward to going to Kazakhstan and meeting new people at the IMO.

INFORMATICS 
Competing in Canada

Program Director:  Mr Bernard Blackham

Luke Harrison – Year 12 – Normanhurst Boys High School, NSW
Luke’s interest in Informatics came about because it allowed him to do two of his favourite things – program and solve difficult problems.  He hopes to study computer science at UNSW and hopefully gain a scholarship that will allow him to gain work experience in the field.  He looks forward to the challenge of IOI and hopes to gain a medal.  Luke regularly plays soccer and also enjoys playing piano.

Evgeny Martynov – Year 11 – James Ruse Agricultural High School, NSW
Evgeny took part in several programming competitions at primary school when he lived in Russia.  When he came to James Ruse he was inspired to continue these activities through classes run by a former IOI medallist at the school.  This is Evgeny’s second IOI, having won a Bronze medal in Bulgaria last year.  Evgeny looks forward to the challenge of this year’s competition and plans to pursue studies in physics, maths and computer science.  He also enjoys reading and building aircraft models, and helping other students with informatics.

Robert Newey – Year 11 – Cobar High School, NSW
Robert has been interested in programming for many years and seeing a talk by Randall Munroe inspired him to look at programming challenges.  He was encouraged to take part in the Australian Informatics Olympiad program by his maths teacher at Cobar High School.   In future he would like to study a combined electrical engineering and computer science degree at UNSW and is looking forward to meeting the world’s top high school informaticians at IOI.  Robert’s other interests include playing and refereeing basketball, cycling, going to the gym and honing his sense of humour.

Kenneth Wong – Year 12 – James Ruse Agricultural High School, NSW
This is Kenneth’s second IOI, having competed in Bulgaria last year where he was awarded a Bronze medal.  He first began programming because it gave him a creative outlet and after joining his school’s programming club in Year 9, he was introduced to informatics which has claimed his interest ever since.  After studying for a degree in computer science, Kenneth would like to work for a company such as Google.