Detroit Local Section

of the American Chemical Society


Goals of the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad are set by a subcommittee of the Society Committee on Education. The Chemistry Olympiad program aims to:

  • Stimulate all young people to achieve excellence in chemistry
  • Recognize outstanding chemistry students and, in doing so, encourage additional learning at a formative time in their intellectual development
  • Recognize the excellent achievement of teachers and the importance of the school environment
  • Provide contact between ACS local sections and area schools, and foster interest among professional chemists in teaching chemistry
  • Challenge the chemical knowledge and skills of young students in an international arena
  • Foster cross-cultural experiences and acquaint students with similarities and differences between themselves and their counterparts from other nations

The  Chemistry Olympiad Process

The International Olympiad began in 1968 in Eastern Europe. The first participating teams were from Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Other countries from Eastern and Western Europe soon joined the program and in 1984, the U.S. sent its first team. The Detroit Section began participating in 1985. Each team has four members. The American effort to choose team members, sponsored by the American Chemical Society, consists of a series of competitions. The competitions include local Section and National exams and a two week study camp. Anyone interested in the details of the entire process can find more information here.

The Detroit Section has participated in the Olympiad since 1985. The administration of the local process is carried out by members of the Section's Education Committee. Typically, participation in the program has been excellent. Annually, some 250 -350 local high school students from ~ 40 different schools take the local examination.  The Section, based on exam scores and Olympiad rules, nominates ten students to take the National Exam. Ten runners up are also picked. The National ACS, based on National exam performance chooses twenty students to participate in the Study Camp. Four of the twenty are picked to be the U.S. National team.


The Chemistry Olympiad is a multi-tiered competition designed to stimulate and promote achievement in high school chemistry. The local and U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad competitions are sponsored by the American Chemical Society. Each year, four students are chosen to represent the U.S. team at the International Chemistry Olympiad competition, which is hosted by a different country each year.