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Australian gold at International Earth Science Olympiad

Rebecca Whittle, a Year 11 student from Abbotsleigh high school in Sydney, has won a gold medal at the International Earth Science Olympiad in Thailand, securing Australia’s best gold medal performance at the UNESCO-sanctioned International Science Olympiads since 2009.

Rebecca competed against more than 140 students from 38 countries to win gold, finishing in the top 10 per cent of Earth Science students in the world.

The Australian International Earth Science Olympiad 2019 Team

Her medal is the second gold for Australia at this year’s International Science Olympiads, following a gold-medal performance by Sydney Grammar School student Hugo McCahon-Boersma at the International Physics Olympiad in July.    

“This double gold achievement is our best performance at the International Science Olympiads since 2009. Our teams have put in the hard yards and earned this success,” says Ruth Carr, Executive Director of Australian Science Innovations.

Rebecca was part of a four-member team representing Australia at the International Earth Science Olympiad.  The three other students won silver medals, putting them in the top 20 per cent of students and delivering Australia’s best overall performance at the competition since Australia began sending a national team in 2015.

The International Earth Science Olympiad competition involved two theory exams and four practical tests covering all aspects of Earth systems science and planetary astronomy. Topics included the geology of planetary bodies, the formation of rocks, rock and mineral identification, sea-level rise processes and the geochemistry of groundwater.   

Rose Zhang from Narrabundah College in Canberra was also part of a team awarded a silver medal in the International Team Field Investigation that she completed with students from other countries. This part of the competition emphasises international collaboration and teamwork.  

“We are very proud of our teams’ achievements this year that are a testament to their hard work and the Australian Science Olympiads program’s ability to nurture Australia’s top science students’ passion and talent for science,” says Carr.

The Australian students spent a year in exams and intensive training before competing on the international stage. They outperformed 6,000 other students from more than 280 schools in the qualifying exams, making a shortlist of 91  t to attend a two-week summer school at the Australian National University in preparation for the International Science Olympiad competitions.

The Australian Science Olympiad program is run by Australian Science Innovations and is funded through the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, with support from the Australian National University.

The Australian team results at the 2018 International Science Olympiads are as follows:

Learn more about the Australian Science Olympiad Competition at: www.asi.edu.au

International Earth Science Olympiad
8-17 August, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Rebecca WhittleAbbotsleighNSWGold
Wayne WongJames Ruse Agricultural High SchoolNSWSilver
Rose ZhangNarrabundah CollegeACTSilver
Kim ZhengJames Ruse Agricultural High SchoolNSWSilver

Congratulations to all members of the Australian team for their great achievements.

2018 student bursary applications now open!

Closing date for 2018 applications is Friday 3rd August.

The Australian Institute of Geoscientists’ Student Bursary Program was initiated to promote and support geoscience research and education in Australia. The Bursary Program began in 2001 to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG) and, since then, the AIG has awarded 199 bursaries to geoscience students in Australian universities. In 2018 the AIG is again offering bursaries to Honours, Postgraduate and Third Year geoscience students.

The 2018 Bursary awards, which have values between A$1000 and A$4000, are funded by the AIG, by
the generous sponsorship of the individuals and organisations listed on page 4, and by donations from AIG members to the AIG Geoscience Education Foundation.  Visit this page for more information

 

Community Story Map Project

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has launched a community story map project, designed to highlight the work that geoscientists do in, for, and with communities.  The project is a collaboration of AGI and the Geological Society of America.

AGI are seeking photos featuring your community-centered research, work, internships, outreach, and service learning. They hope they will inspire geoscientists to reflect on their own community engagement opportunities. Geoscientists’ work in communities elevates science literacy and decision making.

Story Maps require that your photos are geotagged, or have GPS coordinates. This is a function that you set up in your cell phone or many modern cameras with an inbuilt GPS.  If you are unsure whether your photo is geotagged, please provide GPS latitude and longitude in degrees, minutes, and seconds to the hundredths (e.g. 37°40’54.94″N, 50°28’14.72″E).  Search for these using Google Earth.  Photos that lack location information cannot be included in the map.

Please submit material via the form established on the AGI website.  to submit your materials (i.e., photos, photo release form, model release form, location description, GPS coordinates, and 2-3 sentence description of your role in the community).

AIG encourages members and other Australian geoscientists to support this project.  If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Fortner by email.

MCA Australian Minerals Education Summit

The MCA Minerals Industry Education Summit will bring together thought leaders from industry, academia and government to consider the future minerals workforce and what changes to the skill and education landscape are required to deliver job-ready professionals to the world class Australian mining industry.

Registration and program details are available from the summit web site.  Contact the MCA for information regarding the summit.

Earth Science Week 2018 Theme Announced: ‘Earth as Inspiration’

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has announced that the theme of Earth Science Week 2018 will be “Earth as Inspiration.” The coming year’s event will emphasize artistic expression as a unique, powerful opportunity for geoscience education and understanding in the 21st century.

Earth Science Week 2018 learning resources and activities will engage young people and others in exploring the relationship between the arts and Earth systems. The coming year’s theme will promote public understanding and stewardship of the planet, especially in terms of the ways art relates to geoscience principles and issues as diverse as energy, climate change, the environment, natural disasters, technology, industry, agriculture, recreation, and the economy.

“A longtime provider of top-quality curricula and teacher training, AGI supports the Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize what is known as three-dimensional teaching, including introducing students to ‘cross-cutting concepts’ that help students see connections across the sciences,” says Geoff Camphire, AGI’s Manager of Outreach. “Through instruction based on these standards, students can find ways to combine the arts, sciences, and other subjects. Such educational strategies find a welcome environment in schools nationwide, where STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) has become an organizing principle of cross-curricular cooperation among educators and students.”

Creativity, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills are as important to the arts as they are to the Earth sciences. Consider an artist making silk screen prints, for example. The artist thinks in terms of layers added in a specific sequence. This process relies on similar thinking skills to those used by scientists interpreting geological samples, such as cores, trackways, and rock strata. Professional geoscientists themselves innovatively combine sciences such as chemistry, physics, and biology to understand the interactions of Earth systems including the geosphere (earth), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), and biosphere (living things). People of all ages are invited during Earth Science Week 2018 to join in this creative endeavor.

Reaching over 50 million people annually, AGI leads Earth Science Week in cooperation with its sponsors and the geoscience community as a service to the public. Each October, community groups, educators, and interested citizens organize celebratory events. Earth Science Week offers opportunities to discover the Earth sciences and engage in responsible stewardship of the Earth.

Earth Science Week is supported by many organisations.  Australian involvement in Earth Sciences Week is coordinated by Geoscience Australia.

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