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In the News

47th International Chemistry Olympiad opens in Baku

July 21, 2015

A solemn opening ceremony was held for the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad at the Heydar Aliyev Center.

The event started with introducing the participating teams and continued with the presentation of a short film dedicated to the Chemistry Olympiad.

Nargiz Pashayeva, the rector of the Baku branch of Moscow State University named after Mikhail Lomonosov, who is also a Doctor of Philology, professor, a corresponding member of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, and the president of the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad, welcomed participants, scholars, and guests to the momentous event.

“I am glad and proud of being the president of this important and exciting event,” she said. “The youth – participants of the Olympiad that are present here – are the main source of my joy and pride.”

“Dear children, in accordance with the terms of the Olympiad, you will have a contest, real competitions and of course, hours and moments full of excitement,” said Pashayeva.

“Dear friends, be sure that during the period of staying in our country, Azerbaijan, Baku, our university will turn into your home for a while,” said Nargiz Pashayeva. “I hope that each moment of staying with us, you will feel the hospitality, humanity, goodwill of this home.”

The president of the Olympiad said that the organizers also spared no effort to ensure impartial judging and go beyond the necessary conditions for the competition to provide a fun and exciting atmosphere.

“Your wishes, hopes, and demands are inseparable from our wishes, hopes, and demands,” said Pashayeva. “You, the future scholars of chemistry, should always bear in mind the courage to learn, discover, as well as a passion and burning desire to invent,” said Pashayeva, adding that this desire, flame, and this aspiration should never weaken or fade.

"Humanity has always sought, tried, and had the will try to learn, to explain the existing world, nature, the universe, step by step and stage by stage," said Nargiz Pashayeva.

She added that a successful future depends on people with pure heart and bright mind – the army of scientists.

"Do not doubt that the issues that are currently a mystery for science are waiting for you,” she said.

“Dear friends, today we all understand that our planet is not so big. That's why we have chosen the motto of the Baku Olympiad to be ‘Life as a huge chemistry laboratory,’ ” she said.

“The major part of this laboratory consists of the living nature, which has created us and gave us life,” said Pashayeva. “Protecting the nature means protecting the beauty, saving the beauty means protecting the truth, protecting the truth means saving the spirituality, and saving the spirituality means protecting the humanity.”

“You should bear these values. Because, without these values, the knowledge could be meaningless and science could be limited and helpless, and sometimes dangerous,” she said.

Pashayeva added that a generous, kind, broad, humane heart, and a brave, bright and talented mind are ideal.

“As Goethe said, science belongs to all people and it has no nationality. Today, 75 teams representing 75 countries are present in this hall,” said Pashayeva. “Members of each team are different inwardly and outwardly, they speak different languages and represent various traditions.”

“At the same time, the indispensable factor which today brought us together and made us a team is apparent,” she said. “Namely this factor turns us into the citizens of one common country, a state without borders.”

“This country is science, education, and culture. It is an indestructible state. Its flag is light, that’s to say, the Sun, its anthem – singing of birds, nightingales and its sign is the life itself and existence,” said the president of the Olympiad.

The opening event was also addressed by the Chairman of the International Chemistry Olympiad Steering Committee and Professor of chemistry and science communications of South Korea’s Sogang University, Duckhwan Lee.

He welcomed the participants of the IChO to the Land of Fire and expressed deep appreciation to the Baku Branch of Moscow State University and its rector Nargiz Pashayeva for the excellent organization.

Duckhwan Lee pointed out that there will be interesting questions posed in the competition. He stressed that participants of the Olympiad must first pay attention to the integrity of the competition. "Competition is the integral part of our lives. While competing, you can make progress in your lives. The same applies to chemistry," he said.

Rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichy said that Moscow State University hosted three International Chemistry Olympiads. "This year, the Olympic Games first held in the capital of Azerbaijan - wonderful Baku. Our university again takes an active part in this event, because the event is organized by the Baku branch of Moscow State University," said the academician.

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

The 1992 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry, Rudolph Arthur Marcus, said in a video message that the International Chemistry Olympiad is a great opportunity to get acquainted with different cultures and enrich their knowledge of chemistry through mutual communication.

The 1999 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry, Professor Ahmed Zewail, in his address said, "International Chemistry Olympiad is a respected competition where the brightest young minds celebrate the beauty and richness of chemistry. Entering the intellectual union with their peers from all corner of the world, they are shaping the future of the scientific community.”

Famed Azerbaijani scientist, Professor Lotfi Zadeh of the University of California, also addressed the participants in this global competition. Noting the rapid development of Azerbaijan and strengthening the authority of the country at the international level, the scientist said that conducting the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad in Azerbaijan is an important indicator of development and continues the progress made under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev in the fields of science, technology, and culture.

"It is no accident that this Olympiad is held in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan in fact it is a rapidly growing city, which pays great attention to science and education," said University of Maryland professor, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Roald Sogdeev in a video message.

He stressed that the future of humanity depends on the approach of young researchers to the impact of chemicals on human life, industry, and the environment.

Sergey Lebedev, the chairman of the Executive Committee - Executive Secretary of the CIS, has sent a congratulatory letter to Nargiz Pashayeva over the opening ceremony of the Olympiad.

He assessed the Olympiad as being an important international event.

“The International Chemistry Olympiad is a significant international event, which hosts representatives of 80 countries, 300 best young chemists, scientific observers and guests.,” the chairman said.

Highly appreciative of the active participation of students from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine in the Olympiad and the Baku Branch of the Moscow State University in Baku for hosting, Lebedev said the event proves the hightened interest of the CIS member-states in chemistry.

Around 300 young chemists, along with 250 observers and leaders from almost 80 countries, Azerbaijani state and government officials, diplomats, well-known scientists, and intellectuals attended the opening ceremony.

At the competition, which will last till July 29, schoolchildren will test their theoretical and practical knowledge of chemistry using the facilities at the Baku branch of Moscow State University.

This university, which has recently strengthened its scientific and educational base, possesses chemical laboratories that house the latest equipment. Currently, the chemistry faculty at the university is recognized as one of the leading in the country in this subject.

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

Azerbaijan’s team includes Dilgam Ahmadli, a graduate of Istek Lyceum in 2015; Sergey Stepin, a graduate of the Lyceum named after academician Zarifa Aliyeva; Huseyn Babayev, who finished 10th grade at the Istek Lyceum in 2015; and Ruslan Mammadov, who finished 10th grade at the classical grammar school No. 160. The team is led by Mehman Bunyadov, a researcher at 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 support from the Azerbaijani Education Ministry, Ministry of Youth and Sports, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), and the Heydar Aliyev Center.

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