47th International Chemistry Olympiad opens in Baku

The opening ceremony of the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad has been held at Heydar Aliyev Center.

The event started with introducing the teams participating in the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad. Then the participants of the event watched a video footage dedicated to the Olympiad.

Nargiz Pashayeva, rector of Baku Branch of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Doctor of Philology, professor, corresponding member of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, president of the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad, welcomed the participants, scholars and guests. to the grandiose event.

Nargiz Pashayeva: To protect nature means to protect beauty, to protect beauty means to protect the truth, to protect the truth means to protect morality and to protect morality is to protect mankind.

I would like to welcome each and every participant of the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad, our distinguished scholars and guests.

It is my utmost pleasure and honor to be the president of this exciting and significant event and I draw my inspiration from the young participants sitting in this room today – I wish you all the best!

Dear youngsters, according to the rules and procedures of the Olympiad you are about to go through a competition, a real challenge and of course, hours and moments full of excitement. I have no doubt that all of you are fully equipped with knowledge in chemistry and you are ready to face this experience.

Dear friends, do rest assured that during your stay in our country Azerbaijan, Baku and our University will turn into your home. I hope that you will feel and experience the hospitality, kind-heartedness and compassion of this home at every moment spent together with us. We have done our best to provide all the necessary conditions for objectivity and impartiality of the competition and have put every effort into making the venue of the Olympiad fit all your needs. We have done this because we believe that your dreams coincide with our dreams, your hopes are the same as ours and your victories are inseparable from our victories. As future scientists of chemistry you must carry the eternal flame of audacity to envision, the passion to invent and to fathom in your hearts. This desire and this fire must never weaken inside of you. Our mankind has always longed for understanding the surrounding world, the planet, the nature and the universe, and this urge will always continue. You should never doubt that our successful future depends on future scholars with pure hearts and bright minds and that undiscovered aspirations and scientific mysteries that puzzle us today are expecting to be solved by people like you.

Dear friends, we have all come to realize that our planet is not that big after all. And it is for this reason that we have chosen the slogan of the Baku Olympiad to be “Life is a huge chemistry laboratory”. Please do not forget that a big part of this laboratory is our nature, the nature that created us and the nature that is giving life to us. To protect nature means to protect beauty, to protect beauty means to protect the truth, to protect the truth means to protect morality and to protect morality is to protect mankind. You must be the messengers of these values, as without these values knowledge is meaningless, scientific thought is limited, inefficient and sometimes it is even full of danger. A bounteous, benevolent, open heart, and a daring, bright and talented mind – this is the ideal! 

As the great writer Goethe once noted, “Science belongs to mankind and it has no nationality”. Today, in this room, we have 75 teams representing 75 nations worldwide. Each team member is different in their appearances, possess their own unique world inside, speak different languages and have varied customs and traditions. At the same time we can see the reason why we all are here and what brings us together. This very reason turns us into citizens of one country, without any borders. The name of this country is: Knowledge, Education and Culture. This is an invincible country. It has its own symbols; sunshine is its flag, whereas its anthem is the song of birds and nightingales, the whispering of trees, the sound of waves, and the manifestation of this country is life and existence itself.

Once again, I wholeheartedly greet all of you and wish our young participants success, intriguing moments, good spirit, never-ending passion and patience, strong self-control and inner confidence. With your permission I solemnly declare the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad, which is being held in 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan with the organizational support of the Baku branch of Lomonosov Moscow State University herewith, open!

Then Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Ismat Abbasov welcomed the participants of the Olympiad.

“I am sure that the days you will spend in our capital will give you good impressions and excellent mood. A monument to modern architecture – Heydar Aliyev Center – opened its doors today to the future scientists and it is a good example of the unprecedented attention to the establishment of economy based on education, science and knowledge. I am sure that you will notice this again during the Olympiad. I hope that the directory of Baku Branch of Lomonosov Moscow State University, which has assumed all the concerns of the organization, will take care and support each participant,” said Abbasov.

Addressing the event, Duckhwan Lee, chairman of the Steering Committee of the International Chemistry Olympiad, professor at Sogang University (South Korea) welcomed the participants of the Olympiad in the Land of Fire – Azerbaijan.

Duckhwan Lee expressed deepest gratitude to Baku Branch of Moscow State University and Professor Nargiz Pashayeva, Rector of the University, President of the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad.

First of all, the participants of the Olympiad need to pay attention to the fair competition, he said. “Competition is an essential and unavoidable part of our life.”

“You make progress in your own life through competitions. Chemistry also makes progress through competitions,” he added.

“Azerbaijan is a wonderful country,” Lee said.

“It is in fact, here in Azerbaijan modern oil industries started more than a hundred years ago.”

“It was here in Baku, I was told, where the first pipe lines for crude oil were constructed,” Duckhwan Lee said. “In a sense, you cannot find a better place than Baku for the Chemistry Olympiad.”

Rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichy said that MSU has hosted three International Chemistry Olympiads. "This year, the Olympiad for the first time is organized in the capital of Azerbaijan, the beautiful city of Baku. And again our university is deeply involved in this event, because Baku Branch of Moscow State University is the hosting organization," the academician said.

At the ceremony, world-known scientists congratulated the young researchers.

Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry in 1992 Rudolph Arthur Marcus said in a video message that the International Chemistry Olympiad is a place where participants meet many people from different countries, see different cultures and learn very much chemistry from talking with each other.

“Baku is certainly a splendid city that I have visited a number of times known for its historical background and friendliness of its people," the scientist said.

Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry 1999 Professor Ahmed Zewail expressed satisfaction with the holding of the Olympiad in Azerbaijan.

“The International Chemistry Olympiad is uniquely positioned for celebrating the beauty and cornucopia of chemistry with the best young minds.  By intellectually bonding with fellow students from all over the world, they form networks for the future.  I am confident that you will find Baku a charming city and you should enjoy the warm hospitality of the people of Azerbaijan,” he said in a letter.

Famous Azerbaijani scientist Lotfi Zadeh, Professor of the University of California, also addressed the participants of this global competition. He noted that holding the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad in Azerbaijan is an important symbol of recognition of the remarkable progress which Azerbaijan has made and is continuing to make in developing science, technology and culture under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev.

Professor of University of Maryland, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Roald Sagdeev in his video address to the participants of the Olympiad said it is not surprising that this Olympiad is taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan.

“Baku is an example of very fast developing city which devotes lots of attention to science, education,” he said.

Sagdeev noted that chemistry is one of the most important branches of modern science and future depends on young generation, how it addresses the major issues of chemistry: chemistry and life, chemistry and industry, chemistry and environment. He wished the participants many more discoveries in their life.

The event presented Azerbaijani folk music and songs performance by young musician Javanshir Rustambeyli, People's Artist Azer Zeynalov, singer Agshin Abdullayev and young talents. The Azerbaijan State Chamber Orchestra leaded by People's Artist Teymur Geokchayev, the Azerbaijan State Orchestra of Folk Instruments under direction of People's Artist Agaverdi Pashayev and dance groups also performed at the ceremony.

At the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad, which will last till July 29, the schoolchildren will test their theoretical and practical knowledge in Baku Branch of Moscow State University.

This university, which has recently strengthened its scientific and educational base, possesses chemical laboratories provided with the equipment of latest generation. Currently, the chemical faculty of Baku Branch of Moscow State University is one of the leading educational centers in the country in this sphere.

The decision to hold the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad in Azerbaijan, Baku Branch of Moscow State University was made by the International Jury of the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad, which was held in 2012 in Washington. At the closing ceremony of the 46th International Chemistry Olympiad in the capital of Vietnam – Hanoi in 2014, the International Chemistry Olympiad flag was handed over to the organizer of the 47th Olympiad - Baku Branch of Moscow State University. Azerbaijan is the second country in the CIS after Russia to host the International Chemistry Olympiad.

The opening ceremony of the Olympiad, organized by Baku Branch of Moscow State University, gathered 292 young chemists, 250 scientists, observers, team leaders and guests from 75 countries as well as officials of Azerbaijani state and government, diplomats, prominent scientists and intellectuals.

Azerbaijan’s team participating in the 47th Olympiad includes Dilgam Ahmadli, graduate of Istek Lyceum in 2015; Sergey Stepin, graduate of the Lyceum named after academician Zarifa Aliyeva; Huseyn Babayev, who finished the 10th grade of the Istek Lyceum in 2015; and Ruslan Mammadov, who finished the 10th grade of the classical grammar school No. 160.

The team is led by Mehman Bunyadov, researcher of the Organic Chemistry Laboratory of Qafqaz University, who won a bronze medal at the 41st International Chemistry Olympiad in 2009 in the UK.

The 47th Chemistry Olympiad is held with the support of Azerbaijani Education Ministry, Ministry of Youth and Sports, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and the Heydar Aliyev Center.

A website of the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad in English and Azerbaijani languages was created ( ). Moreover, a daily newspaper Catalyzer is issued during the days of Olympiad in Baku.

The IChO began its history in 1968 in Prague of the former Czechoslovakia, with only 18 students from Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland. Since 1968 the Olympiad every year took place in a new country (except 1971). Since the 80s of the 20th century, the number of the participating countries has increased. The 1998 representatives of 47 countries from all the continents of the world took place in the Olympiad.

Students and young people up to 20 years test their knowledge in this major scientific competition. The participants pass theoretical and practical (laboratory) exams. Each exam lasts 5 hours and takes place in different days. The maximum result in the theoretical exams is 60 points, in the laboratory exams - 40 points. The international jury, formed of two representatives of each country, discusses and evaluates the answers. According to the rules of the International Chemistry Olympiad, each country team compromises 2 teachers and 4 students.

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