High School Chemistry Olympiad

The Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society has been offering the Chemistry Contest since 1914, at which time Nordhoff High School was the top scoring school. It became the High School Chemistry Olympiad in 1968 when National ACS began sponsoring it. In 2008, the Section won a National award for 25 years of continuous support of the Chemistry Olympiad.
In 2014, we celebrated 100 years of offering the High School Contest. The Southern California Section has the longest running contest in American Chemical Society annals.

The Chemistry Olympiad is a way for the Section to locate and recognize high achieving students and mentor them in chemistry. Each year, we offer the test at over 30 high school campuses all over Los Angeles County. The test is designed to test a student’s knowledge of a wide variety of topics in chemistry. The top scorers on the local exam are nominated to compete in the National Exam. The top 20 national winners are invited to attend an all expense paid two-week study camp at the U. S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The top four finalists are then selected to represent the United States at the International Chemistry Olympiad which is held in a different country each year. We recognize the top local students at an Educational Awards Banquet in May with monetary awards and certificates.

There is an $8 participation fee to enter the contest. We offer an “Early Bird Special” of $6 per student for 10 or more students if you return the participation form and fee before the first Friday in February each year.

To download a letter with the Olympiad dates and other pertinent details, as well as a participation form, please follow this link.

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The two finalists for the 2014 U. S. National Chemistry Olympiad Exam are Rueih-Sheng Fu of Arcadia High School and Richard Wang of North Hollywood High School.

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Meet the four high school students who represented the US at the International Chemistry Olympiad, July 21-30, 2012, in this short, engaging video.

Meet the students chosen to represent the United States in the International Chemistry Olympiad from ACS Pressroom on Vimeo.

The top 20 national winners in the nation were invited to attend an all expenses paid two-week study camp, May 29th to June 13th, at the U. S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At this camp, four finalists were selected from the U. S. Team to represent the United States in the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad (ICHO) in Washington, D.C. The Southern California Section is proud to announce that Timothy Man Hay Lee from Arcadia High School attended this camp and was selected as an alternate.

Let’s cheer as loudly for this Olympiad team as we do for those at the “other” Olympics in London!

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Whitney High School Student Wins Gold in 2011
International Chemistry Olympiad

Joe Tung (pictured third from left in photo above) of Whitney High School in Cerritos and three US teammates all came home with medals from the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) in Ankara, Turkey in July, 2011.

A total of 273 students representing national teams from 70 countries gathered for the competition. Testing consisted of one day of laboratory work and a second day of written exams. Once judging was complete, gold medals were awarded to contestants who had the top 33 scores. Placing 24th in the overall ranking, Mr. Tung was also one of three students selected to give welcome addresses at the IChO opening ceremonies.

Joe Tung tied for first place in the 2011 local competition, in which 1346 students representing 32 high schools in Los Angeles County took the local exam.  The National Olympiad Exam was given to the 17 top Los Angeles students in April.   From the approximately 940 students that competed in the National Exam, 20 won places at the US team training camp in Colorado Springs. Four finalists and two alternates were selected from that group.

This was Mr. Tung’s second trip to the international event – in 2010, he was one of two alternates at the IChO competition in Tokyo and 2011 marked his third time attending the US finalists’ training camp in Colorado Springs. Timothy Lee of Arcadia High School was also a US competition finalist and attended the training camp in Colorado in 2011. Dr. Gerald Delker of SCALACS, U.S. Chemistry Olympiad organizer for the Southern California Section, invites any teacher or student who would like to participate in next year’s competition to contact him at Delker@earthlink.net, or for more information go to www.scalacs.org.

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