India tops at 19thInternational Junior Science Olympiad in Colombia

December 15, 2022
Ronita Torcato

India excelled at the 19th International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) 2022 held in Colombia between December 2 and 12.

By winning 6 gold medals, the only country to do so, India bagged first place,zooming ahead of 203 students from 35 countries.

Arittra Malhotra, a student of Class 10 from Queen Mary’s School, Delhi, Rajdeep Mishra, Class 10, Air Force School, Gujarat, Devesh Pankaj Bhaiya, Class 9, LH Patil English Medium School, Jalgaon, Vasu Vijay, Class 9, Nalanda Academy, Rajasthan, Banibrata Majee, Class 9,           Defence Laboratories School, Hyderabad and Avaneesh Bansal, Class 9, Shri Ram Centennial School, Dehradun were the six students who did India proud with their gold strikes  at the IJSO2022.

The three-member team of Arittra, Avaneesh and Rajdeep also bagged the Bronze medal jointly with another team in the Experimental competition.

In all, 20 gold, 42 silver and 59 bronze medals were awarded at the IJSO that was held from 2 to 12 December, 2022 in Colombia’s capital city Bogota.

The team was accompanied by three academics: Prof. Chitra Joshi (Retd., Ramnarain Ruia Junior College, Mumbai), Dr. Subhojit Sen (UM-DAE CEBS, Mumbai),  Vishal Dev Ashok (SIES College of Science & Arts, Mumbai) and one Scientific Observer: JP Gadre (Retd., Abasaheb Garware College, Pune).

This is the third successive year (2019, 2021, 2022; IJSO was not held in 2020) and fourth overall (other year being 2014) that India has turned in an all-gold performance at IJSO and topped the medals tally.

The IJSO competition consists of two theoretical examinations (MCQs and long questions) and one experimental examination performed by groups of three students. This year, many of the tasks were interdisciplinary in nature, according to a spokesperson.

One of the experiments, for example, modelled the working of neurons and the ability of neurotransmitters to activate gates that in turn trigger electrical signals. The students were then required to conceptualise and construct electrical circuits mimicking these gates by using resistors in series or parallel, so as to make a meaningful readout of an excitatory neural signal.

Another example was in Chemistry where the measurement of fluid viscosity using flow dynamics was used to calculate the molecular weight of liquid polymers. In the Biology test, the students were required to extract anthocyanin pigments from different plants and use them as an efficient pH indicator to differentiate acidic and basic foods, a seemingly very chemical concept.

In theory, a question of ethanol extraction from maize plants gave the students a good idea of industry processes, focused on efficient and cheap biochemical processes.

This year’s IJSO  was originally scheduled to be held in Kyiv, Ukraine; but shifted to Bogota, Colombia in August 2022 on account of  the Ukraine- Russian conflict.

This was the last international Olympiad of 2022. This year, of the 30 Indian students who participated in Mathematics and Science Olympiads globally, 12 have won Gold, 13 Silver and 5 Bronze.

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