1st Crystallography Olympiad held in Poland

To celebrate IYCr2014 and to accentuate a series of important anniversaries, including “The Jan Czochralski Year 2013”, the Committee of Crystallography in Poland has organized the 1st National Crystallography Olympiad, somewhat modeled on the widely known science Olympiads (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry). In variance with the science Olympiads, however, which are held among high school students, the Crystallography Olympiad was addressed to university students, although candidates at high school level were also accepted. The tournament consisted of two stages. At the first level, the candidates were selected by their schools.

The Finals were held in Wroclaw on June 25, 2014, in connection with the Annual Polish Crystallographic Meeting (“Crystallographic Conversations”). The 29 finalists had to solve 60 test questions and to answer 5 open questions in 2 hours. The Finals questions covered all fields of crystallography, including geometrical crystallography and symmetry, diffraction methods and structure analysis, growth and properties of crystals, crystal and structural chemistry, macromolecular crystallography, and other aspects of crystallography including history.

The Olympiad was organized and the examination questions were prepared by a Committee (Prof. Mariusz Jaskolski, Prof. Anna Koziol, Prof. Radek Przenioslo, Prof. Danuta Stroz) chaired by Prof. Edward Michalski. The winners were Aleksandra Deptuch (Kraków), Andrzej Gładysiak (Poznań) and Maciej Zieliński (Warsaw). The Prizes were generously sponsored by Rigaku/Testchem (1st Prize, one-week visit to Japan), as well as Panalytical, Bruker and Agilent (2nd/3rd Prize: notebook/tablet). In a sense, however, all the participants (including the Organizers) are the winners because the Olympiad turned out to be a success and helped to popularize crystallography in Poland in a significant way.

We certainly plan to repeat the Olympiad in 2015 and intend to convert it into an annual event. We also hope that other countries will like and implement this idea, with the ultimate goal to organize one day a Crystallography Olympiad at the International level.

Mariusz Jaskolski
Poznan, Poland
Fig.1. 1st Prize winner Aleksandra Deptuch (center) receiving a symbolic air ticket to Japan from Dr. Tadeusz Glenc representing Rigaku/Testchem (right) and Prof. Edward Michalski, Chairman of the Organizing Committee (left). (photo R. Paszkowski) Fig. 2.  Participants of the 1st Crystallography Olympiad in Poland. Caption refers to steps (s) numbered bottom up. Aleksandra Deptuch (s2) with her 1st Prize (air ticket), Andrzej Gładysiak (s1) 2nd Prize, and Maciej Zieliński (far left on s3) 3rd Prize. Far right on s2, Prof. Edward Michalski, Chairman of the Organizing Committee. (photo R. Paszkowski)