The coronavirus pandemic didn’t stand in the way for the Technion-trained Israeli Chemistry Team to win medals at the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO), including Israel’s first gold in a decade.  

The annual competition tests the world’s most talented high school students on their chemistry knowledge and skills in a five-hour laboratory practical and a five-hour written theoretical exam. Israel’s four team members were among 240 young students from 60 countries around the world to compete in this year’s 52nd competition, hosted by Turkey but held virtually.

“Israel’s students, the country’s future generation, reach extraordinary international achievements in science competitions time and time again — even during this complex period,” said Israeli Education Minister Yoav Galant. “The Ministry of Education will continue to invest in and support training Israel’s Science Teams.”

The team was selected in a year-long process overseen by Technion chemistry professor Zeev Gross, who also serves as Dean of the Unit for Continuing and External Studies, working with a coach and two ex-medalist undergraduate Technion students. The winners were: Roi Peer, who took home the gold; Bar Sheffer and Ron Shprints, who won silver; and Ward Yahya, who won bronze.