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Students Competing In Chemistry Olympiad Visit NASA Goddard
a man in a tie-dyed lab coat and goggles vents vapors from a 2-liter bottle as his doppleganger does the same on the projection screen behind him. Josh Sebree demonstrates chemistry at the Chemistry Olympiad at Goddard Space Flight Center. Photos Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Becky Strauss
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surrounded by darkness, a man in tie-dyed lab coat and goggles pours colored liquids into beakers › Larger image
Nearly 300 of the world's top chemistry students visited NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., on July 23, 2012, as part of the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO). This year marks the 44th IChO competition and the second time it is being held in the U.S.

"Goddard welcomed these outstanding students to come hear about our space missions. Their visit during the International Chemistry Olympiad underscores the importance of chemistry to NASA's science," says Nicholas E. White, Director of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate at NASA Goddard.

Teams of secondary-school students from 73 nations are competing in the event, organized by the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C., and hosted by the University of Maryland in College Park. Dow Chemical Company is the sole sponsor of the 2012 event.

One of the students' excursions during their stay in the U.S. is the trip to NASA Goddard, where the group learned about NASA programs and attended a chemistry demonstration.

"The American Chemical Society is extremely pleased to be bringing the International Chemistry Olympiad to the United States for only the second time in 20 years," says Madeleine Jacobs, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the American Chemical Society. "We are excited about having so many of the world's best and brightest students in chemistry competing for medals and are eager to show them some of the most interesting and innovative scientific organizations in the Washington, D.C., area, such as NASA Goddard."

Each eligible nation may send a delegation of up to four competitors and two mentors for the 10-day event. Students must demonstrate the ability to solve chemistry problems independently and creatively in two examinations, one that tests their laboratory skills and one that evaluates their knowledge of theory. Each exam may last up to five hours. The competitors are ranked and medals are awarded according to individual scores.

The IChO began in Prague and has been held annually since 1968, with the exception of 1971. The U.S. participated for the first time in 1984 and hosted the 1992 competition in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

For more information on the International Chemistry Olympiad, visit:

For more information on the American Chemical Society, visit:
Goddard Release No. 12-062

Nancy Neal-Jones
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Elizabeth Zubritsky