A bit of history

While Europe was cut in half by the Iron Curtain, a group of Czechoslovak, Polish and Hungarian teachers decided to defy USSR authorities and to set up a competition for their high school students. They called it the “Iternational Chemistry Olympiads”. With the first competitions in Prague (1968), Katowice (Poland, 1969) and Budapest (1970), the IChO became a growing success, joined by Romania, Eastern Germany and Bulgaria. In 1971, however, USSR getting suspicious of this acts of independence prevented the manifestation. The IChO resumed the next year under the supervision of USSR in Moscow (1972).

Two years later in Bucharest (1974), Ceausescu decided to invite neutral countries. Yugoslavia, Austria, Sweden and Switzerland were invited. Sweden and Yugoslavia took part without success. During the following years, the IChO kept on opening to the West.

What of Switzerland

Unlike the 1974’s invitation addressed to the Education Ministry that got lost in the complexity of our federal system, the invitation to the 19th IChO in Leyden (Netherlands) was transmitted by Ernst Flammer from the Federal Office for Education and Science to the Swiss Science Professor Association (SVN-SSPSN). The first delegation joined the IChO under the supervision of Maurice Cosandey. After this first experience, the creation of a Swiss team was proposed but judged too difficult. Maurice Cosandey however joined the competition again the following year with four of his students in Budapest, with poor results. The following years saw more and more schools take part and increasing performances from the Swiss team until the first Swiss medal, a bronze medal won by Marco Ziegler in Paris (1990). This first success wasn’t the last. In 2003, Maurice Cosandey retired and was replaced by Dustin Hofstetter as president of the Swiss Team and the Association of the Swiss Chemistry Olympiads was founded to organise the selection of the future Swiss Teams with ongoing success.

Current board

  • President – Patrik Willi
  • Finances – Andreas Frutiger
  • Secretary – Alain Vaucher
  • VSWO Liaison – Matthieu Mottet
  • Rounds supervisor – Lukas Lüthy
  • PR Manager – Julia Fischer