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Girls sweep eight medals including gold at the Int'l Physics Olympiad

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The earth science team: (L-R) YiJie Neo, Chen Zhou, Joshua Lee, and Jemima Jeffree

Neo, a Year 12 student from John Monash Science School in Melbourne, has won a gold medal in the International Earth Science Olympiad in France, bringing the Australian team medal haul to 17 at the UNESCO-sanctioned 2017 International Science Olympiads.


She competed against more than 100 students from 29 countries, and finished in the top 10% of Earth Science students in the world. The competition involved two theory exams and four practical tests covering the topics of atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere and astronomy.


Another Australian team member, Nishka Tapaswi, a Year 12 student from Hornsby Girls’ High School, set a new record by being the first girl to bring home a silver medal from the International Physics Olympiad, which was held this year in Indonesia. She competed against 400 students from 86 countries and was Australia’s sole silver medallist in the tough Physics competition.


Neo and Tapaswi were two of the eight girls and nine boys who made the teams to represent Australia at the 2017 International Science Olympiads in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science and Physics.


“This is an outstanding achievement for Australia. We are delighted that our female Science Olympians raised the bar in a field that has too few female representatives,” says Ruth Carr, Executive Director of Australian Science Innovations.


“Our impressive medal haul this year is testament to our Science Olympians’ hard work and the program’s ability to not only nurture Australia’s top science students’ passion and talent for science, but also to break down gender stereotypes in science-related fields."


The students spent a year in exams and intensive training before competing on the international stage. They outperformed 5015 other students from more than 300 schools in the qualifying exams, making a shortlist of 93 to attend a two-week summer school at the Australian National University in preparation for the International Science Olympiad competitions.


The Australian Science Olympiad program is run by Australian Science Innovations and is funded through the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, with support from the Australian National University.

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