Chemistry Olympians visit FAIR and GSI


21 International Chemistry Olympiad participants took the opportunity to gain exciting insights into the research conducted at GSI’s Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) in Darmstadt, Germany, at the end of January. The young talents from Hesse and Thuringia were accompanied by the supervisors of the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) and former Chemistry Olympians.

Following a talk that gave an overview of the facility, the young visitors were taken on a tour of the particle accelerators and experimental stations at the FAIR and GSI campus. They got a close-up look at the progress on the FAIR construction site and the development of the magnets for the FAIR accelerator facility at the magnet test facility. The young talents were particularly fascinated by the research activities relating to the discovery and investigation of chemical elements. The visit was rounded off by a panel discussion with GSI scientist Thomas Neff from the theory department who had likewise participated in the Chemistry Olympiad as a student. “Being curious and asking questions are two important prerequisites that help scientists obtain new finding in the course of basic research,” says Thomas Neff, giving the students deep insight into the everyday life of researchers at a research center.

The young talents from the senior high school classes passed a selection process to qualify for a multi-day seminar in Darmstadt. In addition to chemical analyses and solving exercises, the excursion to FAIR and GSI is an integral part of the seminar. “FAIR and GSI impressed our young scientists, stimulating their investigative spirit and sparking their desire to learn. The excursion inspires further reflection and many intensive discussions”, says Uta Purgahn, State Commissioner of IChO Thuringia, underlining the importance of the excursion. (JL)