CHENNAI: In a moment of pride for the nation, Chennai boy Muhender Raj Rajvee clinched silver at the 51st international chemistry Olympiad held at Paris between July 21 and July 30, 2019. He is also the youngest and the first from TN to receive this honour.
Widely regarded as one of the toughest competitions globally, the International Science Olympiads is a group of worldwide annual competitions in various areas of science. As for the international chemistry Olympiad, the selection procedure involves five stages of rigorous testing- a state-level National Standard Examination for Chemistry (NSEC), a national level National Chemistry Olympiad (INCHO),a Orientation Cum Selection Camp (OCSC), Pre Departure Camp(PDC) followed by the main event at Paris.
According to a report from the national coordinator for science olympiad, the exhaustive screening procedure saw 16 students from TN qualify for the second round and a select 30 students from across India qualified for the third. The third round was a 10-day residential Orientation Cum Selection Camp (OCSC), held at Homibaba Centre for Science and Excellence (HBCSE), Mumbai, in which the selected 30 had to undertake multiple tests in theory and practical's, which was conducted for approximately 5 hours each. Top 4 students from the lot were selected to represent India on the international platform. This was followed by a Pre Departure Camp (PDC) for 20 days at HBCSE, wherein the students were provided with hands-on training in a chemistry lab for around 12-14 hours every day to synthesize different chemical compounds. The best-performing students from the selected four were flown to Paris, where the main event was conducted. The International chemistry olympiad this year saw the participation of nearly 309 students from 80 countries.
However for Mahender, a resident of Royapettah, this feat comes as an addition to his already overcrowded cap. He had earlier won the National Talent Search Exam during his 10th grade and was one among the top 1,000 students awarded a cash prize of `1,250, a grant which will be provided till he completed his education.
He has also been selected for Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana(KVPY), an ongoing national program of fellowship in basic sciences which aims to encourage high performing students to pursue courses and a research career in science. Through this, he is already eligible for pursuing his undergraduate studies from IISC, Bangalore. Apart from this, he is also a certified keyboard player who holds a Grade 5 certificate from Trinity College, London.
Muhendar was a student of Chennai Maharishi Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School until 2018 after which he shifted to MB International School, Kota, Rajasthan for his IIT JEE preparation. He now aspires to win the gold medal at International Olympiad competition to be held at Turkey in 2020.
“My dream and target for the future are to make chemicals for environment-friendly leather tanning that should be easily disposable without causing problems to our future generations.”, says Muhendar, whose father owns a leather company at Ranipet. His vision has already been partly realised in his father’s company where he has devised an alternative to chromium (a highly carcinogenic compound)used in the leather manufacturing process....