The Geological Olympiad consists of distance and on-site competitions. The XLV Siberian Geological Olympiad on-site competition at NSU attracted 130 schoolchildren on 22 teams from many towns in Russia and Kazakhstan, including Alma-Ata and Ust-Kamenogorsk.
Alexey Kotov, one of the organizers of the Olympiad from the Institute of Geology and Mineralogy SB RAS, talked about the event,
For the first time this year, participants from Kazakhstan came to us, and overall there were more participants. We attribute this to the fact that this summer Novosibirsk will host the Rally for Young Geologists, the largest geology forum for schoolchildren. The Rally takes place every two years in a different Russian city so this drew extra attention to our Olympiad.
An important feature of the Olympiad is the scientist’s non-traditional approach to evaluating the participants. The main evaluation criteria is the ability to think clearly about the selected topic while solving substantive geological problems and to come to truly complex and interesting conclusions about the geological processes. During the on-site competition, the participants had to solve written geological problems on the basics of geology and geography, as well as discuss interesting questions from other fields of knowledge (chemistry, physics, mineralogy, petrography, paleontology, oil and gas, geophysics, etc.). The expert jury consisted of scientists from the V. S. Sobolev Institute of Geology and Mineralogy SB RAS (IGM), the A. A. Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics (IPGG), and the NSU Geology and Geophysics Department. Overall, more than 40 scientists and students from the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and NSU took part in organizing the Olympiad.
Kotov discussed the importance of the Olympiad,
Geology is not very popular among schoolchildren, and yet this is a very important science. The Olympiad is a career guidance tool. A student who has just started to dive into this environment comes to the Olympiad and returns to study the earth sciences even more enthusiastically. We try to foster this interest by introducing the young people to specifics about the field so that they will come to study with us in the future and become geologists. One of the ways we promote this work is through the traditional exchange of rock samples, this is a small but important aspect of the event for the participants. Many young geologists have collections, but they are limited to their circle or city. Here they have an opportunity to exchange with other students or with us and we are always ready to encourage students with our samples.
Kotov added that some of the Olympiad participant’s samples were so impressive they were included in the Geology students working collection, a small but significant contribution of schoolchildren to science.
The Olympiad distance competition received 45 submissions from students in grades 5-11. Many of the abstracts surprised the organizers and reviewers with their degree of understanding and level of geology knowledge so all participants were encouraged to continue their studies. The authors of the most outstanding abstract and research papers were awarded diplomas and certificates of encouragement.
The participants were also given tours of the IGM SB RAS Central Siberian Geological Museum, the NSU Evolution of the Earth Research and Education Center, and the IGM Analytical Center and Laboratory. Institute scientists gave lectures on the study of volcanoes using geophysical methods, life evolution paths on Earth, and interesting geological and natural objects in Tasmania.
The closing ceremony took place on March 24 when the results of the distance and on-site competitions were announced. Diplomas were presented and prizes awarded to participants as well as young geologists. All participants and team leaders received official badges with the Olympiad emblem.
During the Olympiad, the NSU student section of the International Community of Petroleum Engineers held a special competition to test participant’s knowledge of oil and gas geology. The competition was conducted for pupils in grades 10-11 with the goal of popularizing knowledge in the field of exploration, development, and production of oil and gas resources and related technologies. The winners of the competition were first place Artem Zarubin (Tyumen), second place Roman Rybalko (Tyumen) , and third place Alexander Menshikov (Tyumen).
Kirill Keltman, an 11th grade student from Secondary School No. 92, Tyumen participated in the Olympiad for the third time and received a II degree diploma in the 10-11 grade category. He had this to say about the experience,
It is not the first time that I participated in this Olympiad, and I really like the format. You can talk one-to-one with people who have dedicated their lives to geology. I am considering attending NSU’s Geology and Geophysics Department but I still have three months to decide. For me, the Olympiad is an opportunity to share experiences with peers and learn many new things from those who have already completed their training.
Winners of the Siberian Geological Olympiad that are graduating from school in 2019 will receive an additional five points to the score of their three State Exams if they enter the Geology and Geophysics Department at NSU.
The Olympiad was organized by the Novosibirsk Regional Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation Policy, the Novosibirsk National Research State University, IGM SB RAS, and IPGG SB RAS.