on page 2 >>
Meet the New Zea-
land Olympiad team
page 3 >>
better not know
page 4 >>
July 17, 2013
We in Russia have an idiom: when you can’t do a thing or do it with difﬁ culty, people will say “You’ve eaten too little porridge”. In Russian
it sounds like “Каши мало ел” [car-she marla yell]. Guys, you’ll face a big challenge in MSU today, eat more porridge! By the way, while
English porridge is traditionally made of oats, here in Russia we cook it with everything: rice, semolina, peas, pearl barley and millet.
coin inside your shoe (under the heel), you’ll have luck at the exam. There’s no statistics on how this thing works with Olympiads,
so you can check for yourself.
mental tour, MSU
Both sides of the entrance to the faculty are marked with two statues of great Russian chemists: Mendeleev and Butlerov. Again there’s
a superstition: touch Mendeleev’s foot to succeed in non-organic chemistry exam, for organic chemistry go touch Butlerov’s feet.
There are 37 food points over the whole area of MSU, the main building alone has 5 canteens. Enjoy not only the meal, but the atmosphere of
You’ll most probably have a chance to see the famous Moscow trafﬁ c jams.
You’re lucky to be visiting one of the oldest — still the coolest — circuses in Russia. In front of it there’s an unusual monument
to a great clown Yuri Nikulin with a permanent queue to take a picture. The third superstition for today — rub his nose for luck.
Transfer to Planernoye, dinner... This is where we run out of space!
>> see page 2
According to the names on T-shirts among players from Armenia, Lithuania,
Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Venezuela and Sweden there were real
delighted to greet Real’s halfback
although very soon turned out to be an Azerbaijani
The same happened to the player named Jesus Christ, on whose behalf,
as it turned out, a Salvadoran
Rodrigo Dueňas was playing.
Catalyzer was watching Salvadorans pretty closely. The thing is the evening
before in an interview to us they’ve claimed that football is their country’s
national sport and real El Salvador male citizens are great at football.
Let’s say El Salvador did not let us down.
No sooner said than done, in one
of the games
Rodrigo José was
the one to score the decisive
goal, in yet another game his
same. By noon Catalyzer jour-
nalists — to their amazement
— spotted a girl at the pitch. A
beautiful representative of Swit-
chasing the ball in sandals, easily beating
the guys. “Weren’t you afraid to play against her?” — we asked a virtuoso
teams really should! — he said. — Yeah, playing football with girls is actually
>> from page 1
Yesterday morning the future сhemistry gurus proved science is not their
only strong point. The pre-dinner break was enough for over a half of all
IChO male Olympians to show up at the pitch. Multinational teams played
in the come-and-go “sudden death” mode, meaning that every match was
played until the ﬁ rst scored goal.
Valerio Lamanto appears to be
a ﬁ ne judge of strict and logi-
cal beauty. Maybe this is why
he doesn’t normally celebrate
his birthdays. “What’s the point,
if I want to have a party I can any-
way have it”, he says.
When Valerio turned 18 on July
17th he didn’t even care for phone
calls (left his cellphone back at
home in Italy). But since Russia is
one of the countries he’s always
wanted to visit, this birthday, Vale-
rio admits, looks a little like cele-
— Eighteen years old in Italy mean you’re
of age — with all that it implies. It also
means that in a year I’ll be ﬁ nishing
school and when I do, I’ll try to enter Scu-
ola Normale Superiore in Pisa.
— I can’t say that much changed over this
year since my last birthday. But one thing
is deﬁ nitely different: I’m here at IChO. I
didn’t get there last year, even though I
applied and was the fourth in my country.
This time I was luckier.
— I love organic chemistry. There’s so
much beauty in these reactions, they’re
logical, yet complicated, and this all
challenges me incredibly.
— There is a person I admire, his name
is, I mean was Alan Turing. The father of
computation and the ﬁ rst guy to realise
what we can do with electronics! Only
his destiny is something I wouldn’t like
— If I could get a Nobel Prize, I’d love
to get it for inventing a cure for cancer.
Though I don’t think it’s possible, I’m
not very much into pharmaceuticals, I’m
more about theory and I don’t really care
how it’s applied.
— My favorite chemical reaction is Flu-
orine + Cesium, because it’s intense. It
goes between the strongest metal and
non-metal elements, it gives out no gas,
it can go at low temperature and it gives
the beautiful proper ﬂ ame.
— If I could get a free ticket, I’d go to Ice-
land. Ice, ﬁ re, you see, I like contrasts :)
— The substance I’d like to be associated
with is tungsten. Because it has the high-
est melting temperature ever. It never
6 years. I don’t even remember what it is
to get presents, except for birthday cards.
I don’t know what present I’d like to get...
What? A kilogram of cesium? Haha, well,
sounds nerdy, but that actually would be
Valerio Lamanto, Italy
18 years old
80 km from Turin
father and a younger sister.
Believes it to be the second purest
science after physics.
Every day Catalyzer picks a random delegation and goes to meet the team.
Olympians shared what they discovered during the Kremlin tour.
Catalyzer shares something too.
Cindy is the only girl in the
team. She can play viola.
Cindy on her country’s great in-
ventions in chemistry: Ernest Ruth-
erford who was born in New Zealand
postulated planetary model for atomic structure.
He was the ﬁ rst chemist to try splitting up an atom
and it’s nucleus.
Cindy chooses the most typical New Zealander
of her team: Probably Frank probably, because he
is pretty relaxed and he really creative in the way
he solves problems. Besides, Frank drives, although
he’s pretty young.
an amazing talent to sleep in different
places — in the bus, in the plane, at the
station — mostly everywhere!
huge comparing to Portland, where the university is
all spread-out, so the buildings can be located all
over the city. And your transport seems a bit more
efﬁ cient than ours.
Team about Ka Yin Keniel Yao:
He dreams of inventing a time-ma-
chine, because he’d like to use his
time more efﬁ ciently. He wants it to be
made of radioactive compounds because this would
be real fun.
cent substances because they shine in the dark and
I like this blue light.
Team about Scott Huang:
Scott is very quiet.
He enjoys playing badminton! He is re-
ally very good at maths.
Scott on chemistry education in
New Zealand: Children start studying
chemistry at 13 or 14 years, and it is com-
pulsory until they are 16. We have 5 science classes
a week and 2 of them are chemistry lessons.
We’ve learnt a lot about Russian
medieval history today, I was sur-
prised to learn that there wasn’t
just one Kremlin in Moscow, there
are a lot of kremlins all over Russia.
It was very curious to know that
Catherine the Great had about
15000 dresses and over 1500
Roman Beránek, Czech Republic
We’ve learnt that Ivan the Great Bell
Tower is the highest building in Mos-
cow Kremlin, it’s over 60 meters high.
And the icon wall there is also very high
and really impressive. We also noticed Russians really like
gold, there are so many golden things there in Kremlin.
And the size of those treasures is a bit... enormous!
Priscila Vensaus, Paula Borovik,
Nicolas, Nicolas Del Grosso,
Lautaro Vogt, Argentina
Amani Mahdiyar, Heidari Hirbod,
Ada Maria Krzak, Denmark
The word "kremlin" itself means "a steep bank"
and was used for Russian fortresses built on river
banks. The most famous Russian kremlins are situated
in Moscow, Pskov, Novgorod, Nizhny Novgorod, Kolom-
na, Tula, Kazan, Rostov, Astrakhan and Ryazan.
The height of the Bell Tower is in fact over
80 meters. After it was built in 16-17th century, there
was a longtime ban prohibiting the construction
Catherine (Ekaterina) the Great (1729-1796)
was a Russian Empress whose court is known for
of buildings higher than it. So till the turn of 18th
century it really was the tallest building in Moscow.
Was studying maths at the University of Kazan, when
his rector, an outstanding mathematician Nikolay
Lobachevsky, persuaded Zinin to do with chemistry.
You could think it was a fail for a young guy to be
advised not to keep on with maths by a great math-
ematician of his days. But in fact Lobachevsky said:
“If you’re brilliant at math, you’ll be good in chemistry,
and we are now in a great need for chemists”.
Contribution to chemistry
In 1842 discovered the reduction of aromatic nitro
сompounds into aromatic amines (Zinin reaction).
Basing on it, synthesized aniline. Zinin’s syntheses
became the basis for creating the industry of syn-
thetic dyes, explosives, pharmaceuticals, fragrances.
He discovered the hydrazobenzene regrouping when
exposed to acids and called it “benzo-benzidine rear-
rangement” In 1852 synthesized isothiocyanate acid
allylether, сommonly called “volatile mustard oil”.
Discovered ureides (1855).
Contemporaries about Zinin: “Chemistry, mineralo-
gy, botany, geology, astronomy, physiology, — he was
familiar with all that, and fundamentally. He had
amazing memory — he would quoted whole pages of
Schiller in German and in translation”.
Moscow view —
khokhloma-style spoon, egg (Faberge imitation), matryoshka — 1
All substances are fairly common.
originally extracted from Chinese plant Ephedra.
manufacturing industry, especially in developing countries, as well as for printing inks and felt-tipped
Isopropanol is the main component in glass cleaners and a solvent for many innocent purpos-
es. ˜-lactone is a widely used industrial detergent.
Now check out related compounds.
It shouldn’t take you too long to ﬁ gure out how to convert compounds in chart 1 into those of chart 2.
The trouble is that compounds in chart 2 are respectively:
mustard gas, methamphetamine (crys-
dangerous and strictly forbidden in most countries of the world.
Not only chemicals pose these problems. Whole chemical plants can be misused in much the same
way. This is what has happened several times over the last 30 years, when certain countries have sup-
plied to others equipment then used to produce weapons and toxins like mustard gas, sarin and VX.
The problem of the dual use of chemicals (for both innocent purposes and doing harm to others)
is rather ethical than scientiﬁ c. How does the international community deal with the problem?
>> To be continued in the next issue.
How is chemical weapon made
thiodiglycol, pseudoephedrine, and
isopropanol or ˜-lactone?
45th IChO web-site:
45th IChO secretariat: