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Contact: Michael Bernetein
American Chemical Society

N.J., Calif., Utah students win 4 medals for US Chemistry Olympiad team

The U.S. Chemistry Olympiad team won three silver medals and one bronze in the just-concluded 39th annual International Chemistry Olympiad in Moscow, July 15-24. A student from China won the top gold medal.

The U.S. team, made up of four of the nation’s top high school chemistry students, competed with teams from 65 other countries in the week-long event, sponsored by the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society. This year’s team included students from high schools in New Jersey, California and Utah.

The U.S. medalists are:

  • Kenneth Brewer, Provo, Utah –– silver medal –– A 2007 graduate of Timpview High School, he will be attending Harvard College this fall, where he plans to major in chemistry. Ultimately, Kenneth would like to do biochemical research in a university setting. His honors include having one of the top five research papers in Research Science Institute (RSI) competition and having one of the top five presentations at RSI; being named Micro Science and Technology Leading Scholar and placing first in the Utah State Math Contest.

  • Justin Koh, Bakersfield, Calif. –– silver medal –– A senior at Stockdale High School this fall, he plans to major in biochemistry in college and then begin a career in biomedical research. Justin was National Science Bowl captain for two years, placed seventh in the state in the California Math League and placed first in math for the state in the Academic Decathlon; and participated in the Discovery Channel Young Scientists Challenge.

  • Sofia Izmailov, Plainsboro, N.J. –– bronze medal –– A 2007 graduate at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South this fall, she plans to major in chemistry at Princeton University this fall and then go into scientific research. Among Sofia’s honors are being accepted for the New Jersey Governors School of Engineering and Technology and winning gold and silver medals in the United States of America Mathematical Talent Search.

  • Brian Lee, Franklin Lakes, N.J. –– silver medal –– A 2007 graduate of the Academy for the Advancement in Science and Technology , he will be attending MIT this fall, where he plans to major in chemistry. Brian participated in the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad and the United States of America Biology Olympiad, where he was a finalist and he placed third in the Mandelbrot Competition, National Level.

The U.S. team is routinely a strong competitor at the International Chemistry Olympiad. In 2006, the team won three silver medals and one bronze. In 1999 and 2000, a member of the American team won the top gold medal. This year’s U.S. team members were selected at the conclusion of a comprehensive two-week study camp in June at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.

The International Chemistry Olympiad originated with Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary in 1968. Other eastern European countries soon joined the event, and Western Europe began participating in 1974. The first U.S. team competed in 1984, winning one silver and two bronze medals.


The American Chemical Society has sponsored the American team annually since the United States joined the Olympiad. Principal funding is through the Society’s Othmer Olympiad Endowment, with additional support from the U.S. Air Force Academy; IBM Research; Merck Publishing Group; Texas Instruments, Inc.; W.H. Freeman & Company; McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; Advanced Chemistry Development; Thomson, Brooks/Cole; Pearson Prentice Hall; Flinn Scientific Inc.; Carolina Biological Supply Company; Sigma Chemical Company and Fisher Scientific.

The American Chemical Society — the world’s largest scientific society — is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

For photos of U.S. team members and more information about them, please contact the person listed at the top of this release.