Innovative problem solvers strike gold

21 October 2016 | Education
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From left: Amanda, team coach Dr Robert Lieu Zi Zhao, Gabriel and Max with Ms Elena Chulanova, Head of the local organizing committee for INST 2016 and Anna Kravchenko, a Russian student volunteer

Students from the Special Programme in Science at NUS emerged champions at the International Natural Science Tournament 2016 held from 12 to 16 October in Novosibirsk, Russia.

Team KiasuNUSPS comprised four Year 2 NUS Science students — Max Tan Jin Hui, Ang Shi Hui, Gabriel Kam Mao Quan and Amanda Ng Ren Hui. Calling the competition a “melting pot of culture and science,” team member Max said he enjoyed the opportunity to exchange ideas about the different sciences, as well as learning about the commercial side of science.

The tournament required the students to provide innovative solutions for yet unsolved scientific problems and situations, suggested by Russian manufacturing or technology companies. The team explained their solutions using presentations and debates and had to defend their standpoints during scientific discussion. Up against teams of more senior students, mainly Year 3 and final year students, the NUS team held their own to clinch the champion spot, with two of their members, Max and Gabriel, awarded best speakers.

“The NUS team demonstrated excellent skills in public speaking and extensive knowledge of the subject. With confidence they answered questions from the opponents and the jury. Team KiasuNUSPS offered a more comprehensive and diversified solutions for complicated problems, effectively applied best practices, and developed their own novel concept,” said Daniel Kolokolov, President of the tournament jury and Research Fellow at the Boreskov Institute of Catalysis in Russia.

“It was encouraging to receive validation from industry experts about our simple ideas,” said Max. “Most importantly, we were able to make many friends from different parts of the world who shared (with) us their traditions and unique practices.”