CHIEF SCIENTIST RECOGNISES YOUNG SCIENCE AND MATHS OLYMPIANS

17 August 2012

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb says our young teams, recently returned from the 2012 International Science and Mathematics Olympiads, should be applauded for a world-class performance.

The science team of 13 secondary school students returned with 12 medals – four silver and eight bronze – and one honourable mention.

This was a stand out effort given more than 1000 students from around the world compete in the Olympiad’s three streams – Chemistry, Biology and Physics.

The gruelling competition sees students sit a five-hour theory exam and undertake five hours of practical laboratory tests.

In mathematics, all six students also won medals – two silver and four bronze.

This placed Australia equal 27th out of 100 countries, tied with Hong Kong.

“These young people should know their country is proud of them. Getting selected in the first place and then succeeding against some of the world’s very best is no less an achievement than that of any other Olympian,” Professor Chubb said.

Earlier this year the Office of the Chief Scientist released its publication Mathematics, Engineering and Science in the National Interest.

That report was in response to the Prime Minister’s request for advice on encouraging greater participation in mathematics, statistics and science courses at university.

“Enrolments in these courses have been falling and Australia risks not having enough people trained in these crucial fields to meet future challenges,” said Professor Chubb.

“Recognising the performance of high achievers like our International Science and Mathematics Olympiads teams sends a clear message that this is a vital, vibrant area of competition with great rewards for those prepared to put in the work,” he said.

Professor Chubb thanked Australian Science Innovations and Australian Mathematics Trust, the not-for-profit organisations that coordinated the program which saw the teams travel to Singapore (biology) the U.S. (chemistry) Estonia (physics) and Argentina (mathematics) for the competition.

Professor Chubb said the results validated the government’s commitment to continue to fund the program.

And he wished our informatics team the best of luck. They travel to Lake Garda, Italy, for their Olympiads competition to be held in late September.

Media enquiries: Mick Bunworth 02 6102 8179 or Mick.Bunworth@chiefscientist.gov.au

A printable PDF version of the Media Release can be downloaded here.