Earth and Environmental Science Olympiad

issue1616-australian-science-olympiad-summer-schoolCongratulations to Kate McDonald (Year 12) who attended the Earth and Environmental Science (EES) Olympiad summer school. It was a great honour to be selected to attend the training and we wish Kate luck as she waits to hear if she has been selected to represent Australia in the Olympiad in France.

For two weeks in January, I was lucky enough to attend the EES Olympiad summer school, held at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. Along with 23 students from around Australia, we stayed on campus and experienced University life. 
Our time was split between lectures, tutorials and practicals. We had exams every day and two major exams at the end of camp. The content was familiar to me but the sheer volume of work, coupled with 15 hour days, was quite overwhelming. Guest lecturers took us on tours of the facilities at ANU. My personal favourite was our visit to the Sensitive High-Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP), led by Professor Ian Williams. During our visit we were lucky enough to hold the 4000 billion year old zircon crystal, the oldest rock fragment ever found on Earth. We went on field trips, participated in field work, hiked up Black Mountain, visited the observatory on Mt Stromlo, conducted field tests on the creek that runs through ANU and spent an entire day visiting every area of geological significance in Canberra. I enjoyed bonding with the other students and we even managed to fit in several rounds of Mario Kart.

This camp enabled me to increase my depth of knowledge of the core ideas present in Earth Science; whether it was identifying a rock on sight or being able to accurately describe trends in the Earth’s past climate. 
Even though the 15 hour work days were gruelling, the experiences I had and the knowledge I gained will stay with me for a life-time. 

news-icon  Read about Kate's selection into the EES Olympiad summer school.

Image: Kate McDonald (Year 12).


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