Year 12 student, Lydia, has been selected to represent Australia in the UNESCO-sanctioned International Science Olympiads. Lydia will be representing Australia in Physics, one of only five students nationally selected to compete against the most capable, young scientific minds from 70 countries around the world.
Lydia was presented with her traditional Olympiad team green and gold blazer during the official ceremony to formally announce the Australian team at Parliament House in Canberra.
Among the distinguished guests attending the ceremony were the Honourable Ed Husic, Minister for Industry and Science, Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic of the Australian National University Professor Grady Venville. Representatives from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Principals from schools around Australia including Loreto Kirribilli Principal Mrs Anna Dickinson, proud parents and of course, the Olympians themselves, were also present.
Lydia was invited to address the audience on behalf of the Olympians and inspired all in attendance with her eloquence, poise and humility, beginning with the candid statement, “Science is scary. The fact that we exist on a not-so-random, floating rock in an infinite yet expanding region of space is very existentialist. When we acknowledge the complexity of our existence, the fact that our universe can be defined by a series of basic, fundamental laws - and quantum theories - can be honestly terrifying.
"Yet, the more we explore these fundamental laws - the more we understand of life and the universe - the less intimidating our reality becomes, and the more comfort we can have in our existence. ”
Lydia went on to explain why she loved science. “I love being able to understand what makes the universe possible, and why you and I can be here in this modern world today.”
Lydia congratulated all the Olympians for their achievements, and wished the teams the best of luck in their respective competitions. She thanked Australian Science Innovations, and the Australian Maths Trust for coordinating the Olympiad, and the Australian National University for hosting the event.
After the ceremony, Lydia was selected to represent the Olympians on ABC TV’s Afternoon Briefing, hosted by ABC journalist Greg Jennett, where she was asked to reflect on her aspirations beyond high school. “As a society we are facing a precipice as to what we want to see in our future. We have all these technological advancements that we can put forward with regard to climate change and other areas of society. I want to be able to use my skills in physics and mathematics to help shape the future of our society, and create one that is just and equitable, and looks after the environment and the world that we live in.”
We extend our warmest congratulations to Lydia on this truly outstanding achievement.