Askim’s Marvin Eric Struck (17) is one of the top 16 country chemists. In March he participated in the Norwegian Championships in the subject and was sent to the University of Oslo.
– My chemistry teacher told the class about the Olympiads and that those who wanted to contact her for registration. I did, passed a few exams and made it to the national level, he says.
Although Struck did not make it to the international level, he is very happy to end up among Norway’s best in chemistry.
Young people interested in chemistry were gathered from all over Norway for a kind of training week at the University of Oslo. Four days were spent teaching for the next round of the Olympiad, while the actual exam took place on the fifth day.
Never before have I touched on so many topics in such a short period of time. We were in school for eight hours each day, plus free time at the hotel to rehearse what we had learned. It was an incredibly fun experience, and of course it was a bit overwhelming, he smiles.
The chemistry competition has been running since 1968, and Norway has been participating since 1982. There are now more than 70 countries participating. 1150 students from 109 schools participated in this tour: 683 girls and 467 boys. There are 125 students who have advanced to the second round. The 16 best of them take part in the final in Oslo, organizer Kjemiolympiaden informed.
Relatively new interest
How long has the 17-year-old been interested in chemistry? A much shorter time than you might think.
Stroke comes from a scientific family, with his father a professor and his aunt a chemistry teacher, but the chemistry part of the natural sciences is a relatively new interest for the boy.
– My interest in Chemistry started when I saw that it was a separate program subject in the last academic year, and then I chose to continue it now in my senior year as well. So it’s pretty new, but I really fell in love with the subject matter, he says.
Other than that, in his spare time, Struck plays an archer, plays the fantasy role-playing game “Dungeons and Dragons” and does creative writing.
Moved up a step
Although Struck was born in 2005, he is in his senior year at Askim High School with students born in 2004.
– From the first year of elementary school, I was a little ahead of the rest of the class in academics, so I was offered a place in the class. I didn’t agree to this offer for a long time, but when I started in fifth grade I did, he says.
Struck is from Germany, and spent his first four years of school there. In both Germany and Norway he was offered to take a step up.
– In Norwegian too, I ended up at the same level as the class above, and after my promotion I continued the normal course of study.
– very fun
Chemistry is my favorite subject of all, firstly because I have always had a general interest in the natural sciences and secondly because chemistry overlaps with so many other subjects, he says.
The 17-year-old says that there are many directions in chemistry: biochemistry, physical chemistry, and so on.
– At the University of Oslo, I met a teacher who originally studied psychology, but then switched to chemistry, and I think that shows how broad the subject is, how much it really covers, he says.
Struck loves that chemistry explains how things work in the world around us. He points to the table at which we are sitting.
The table between us has a chemical process that led to its making, and the air we breathe is also the result of a chemical process.
When it comes to schoolwork, Struck feels good about having a subject in which you can first learn theory and then translate it into practice, for example in a laboratory.
There we can see how our theories work – or don’t work – and learn from our mistakes. He says: I think chemistry is so much fun.
He loves science, language and social studies
– I don’t prefer science to language and social studies, because I think there’s a lot of good to be found in all subjects, but I’m probably better at science than I am at many social science subjects, he says.
What draws Struck toward science is an understanding of nature.
In science, things make sense. It’s not simple, but there are patterns that one can make sense of in order to better understand the world as a whole – people, plants, animals – yes, really everything.
The 17-year-old is content to teach science at Askim High School.
– I was lucky with the teachers. I think well-being in the subject depends on the teacher you have and I feel good here at Askim. He says we even have a lab.
“I think back to university exactly where I had the exact course with the exact subject that I had when I competed in the Olympics,” Strock smiled.
Depending on the grade point average and maximum grade for further education this year, Struck will study at either the University of Oslo, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology or Ås University.
– I haven’t thought about it yet, I think I have a goal to do as best I can in chemistry. I want to learn as much as I can and collaborate with others around me because personally I believe that modern science is not often characterized by individuals who do very well, but rather that there are groups that can collaborate and play on each other’s strengths and weaknesses, he says.
His goal is to become one of the best players in the country, but the bigger goal is to become someone who can work well with other researchers and so together they will become the best in the country.
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