The representatives of the Ministries, IPN and IJSO Ambassadors welcome all the participants of IJSO2020 as well as volunteers, friends and supporters of IJSO.

Federal Ministry for Research and Education

The Ministry of Federal Education has strongly supported the development of IJSO in Germany during the past decade. Primarily this commitment made hosting IJSO in Frankfurt happen. We are grateful to introduce Anja Karliczek, appointed Federal Minister of Education and Research and member of the government of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, to welcome our international guests.

Dear Members of the IJSO Family,

As the British author and scientist Charles Percy Snow once said, "Scientists have the future in their bones". Indeed, the findings of natural science will determine our future. A good knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics and the environment provides us with the best possible basis for actively contributing to societal development and progress.

The world is changing rapidly and we are confronted with major challenges. Being a scientist means continuing to explore things from different perspectives, never being satisfied with what you know and understand. We want to see more young people adopting this view and taking a keen interest in the natural sciences. For many years, we have been working to make them aware of the world of science and what it has to offer. With its interdisciplinary profile, the International Junior Science Olympiad is of special importance in this respect as it addresses the under-15 age group.

We are therefore delighted to host the Olympiad in December 2020 and to welcome 300 bright young talents and their mentors from 50 participating nations around the globe. We want to provide a fair and challenging competition and help ensure that you enjoy your time in Germany. Make the most of this opportunity to meet people from all over the world who share your enthusiasm for science. We look forward to celebrating this big event with you, sharing the memorable experiences and inspiring encounters that only Olympiads are able to offer.

Anja Karliczek
Member of the German Bundestag
Federal Minister of Education and Research

The State of Hessen

A Warm Welcome to Hessen!

Germany is a federal democracy with 16 independent states and education being a state matter. We are pleased that the state of Hessen agreed to host this event in Frankfurt am Main, where you can feel the pulse of innovation and development in research and international commerce. We feel honoured that Prime Minister of Hessen Volker Bouffier as well as Minister Prof. Dr. R. Alexander Lorz warmly welcome you to the 17th International Junior Science Olympiad in Frankfurt:


The International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) will take place in Hessen from the 2nd to the 12th of December 2020.
Hessen warmly welcomes students and their mentors from more than 50 countries from all over the world to join the 2020 Olympiad.

Our state has not only magnificent institutions of higher education but is also home to many highly competitive research facilities. We see the promotion of education, research and the sciences as the most important investment in our future.

The Hessen state government is aware of the significance of the Natural Sciences in the biographies of young people, ranging from their general education in schools to all aspects of their daily life. This is why Frankfurt, a city at the heart of the European Union, the largest city in Hessen and the fifth largest in Germany, is very honoured to host the 17th IJSO.

The International Junior Science Olympiad in Frankfurt is an educational event that will challenge, inspire and encourage talented students to develop their skills and scientific competencies in the Natural Sciences. It will also help students to reach out and find like-minded colleagues and friends from around the world. Last but not least, by joining the Olympiad students will have the chance to experience one of Europe‘s most international and vibrant cities.

So, enjoy discovering what Frankfurt and Hessen have to offer!
We wish you all the best and good luck.

Volker Bouffier
Prime Minister of Hessen

Prof. Dr. R. Alexander Lorz
Hessian Minister of Education
and Religious Affairs

Ambassadors of IJSO2020

We are pleased to introduce our official ambassador, Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius, who is native to Frankfurt. She is a professor of geomicrobiology at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, University of Bremen and also heads the famous Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven. In 2018, Antje Boetius was honoured with the prestigious German Environmental Award.

Dear Members of the IJSO Family,

children intuitively grasp that discovering the world is an exciting and important venture. When I was a child, I loved the stories my grandfather would tell about his life at sea. My parents taught me the sea from the shore. I read pirate stories and Jules Verne’s “20,000 leagues under the sea”, watched TV documentaries about marine life. That was when I realized: When I grow up, I want to go even deeper and explore the ocean all the way to the bottom.

My dream has come true: I stand before you as a marine explorer by heart and soul. Nowadays, I am driven by another dream: that of a world with healthy seas and diversity of species. To achieve this goal, we require all knowledge conceivable and a concerted resolve to change course.

When I listen to the youth of today who demands a good future for itself and the earth, I cannot help but think that they must have paid very good attention in school. They are capable of drawing the connection between our actions and the state of our planet today. That is why the early promotion of and networking between young talents in the natural sciences is so very important – they are the ones that can help shape our future.

Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius
Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute
Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

The well-known and award-winning television presenter, author, screenwriter and actor Ralph Caspers will host the opening as well as the closing ceremony in Frankfurt. He is known for many high-quality science and knowledge shows both for children and adults, which are produced for public service broadcasters such as the WDR. Ralph Caspers was the presenter of the children's TV show „Wissen macht Ah!“ (roughly: The sound of knowledge is Ah!), which has become a cult show not only among younger audiences.

Dear Olympians and IJSO2020 Enthusiasts,

Overcoming borders, connecting cultures and creating enthusiasm for the natural sciences. And never being shy to ask questions. That’s what I do. This is also what the IJSO does and I am more than happy to contribute to the event in 2020.

My own career has allowed many places to become part of my world. I have come to know and appreciate many cultures and I have come to understand that the exchange between cultures is an important precondition for future developments. As a TV presenter, I try to nurture curiosity in children and young people and thus sparkle enthusiasm for natural sciences. Because ultimately, thirst for knowledge is what sciences are all about.

In this spirit, I wish all participants an enlightening experience and an unforgettable stay in Frankfurt am Main. See you in 2020!

Ralph Caspers

IPN - Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education

Prof. Dr. Köller is the Managing Director of Research at the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN). This institution is home to six science competitions including the International Biology, Chemistry and Physics Olympiads as well as the IJSO and EUSO. Hence it was only natural that the Federal Ministry commissioned the IPN to organize IJSO2020 in Germany and to appoint the longstanding managing director of IJSO in Germany, PD Dr. Heide Peters, as Chair of IJSO2020.

Olympic Games for the Brain – Enthusiasm for Science

Welcome to the 17th International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO), which takes place in Frankfurt am Main from December 2nd – 12th! We were proud when the IPN, the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education in Kiel was asked to host this competition because the international competition of the IJSO fits perfectly to the IPN and its efforts to promote young talents in science. The IPN is one of the leading research institutes in Germany working in the field of teaching and learning science and mathematics. The institute is involved in several long-term research projects as well as international large-scale assessments, including PISA. The IPN’s research goes beyond a subject-specific perspective and investigates general aspects of high-quality teaching using and developing state-of-the-art research methods. As a member of the Leibniz Association, the IPN is affiliated with 95 independent research institutes in Germany. Leibniz institutes focus on highly relevant social, economic and ecological issues.

One of the IPN’s research areas investigates conditions, characteristics, and effects of teaching and learning in mathematics and science. The focus is on the learning processes of children and adolescents as these processes influence competences, interests, and beliefs in science and mathematics. Furthermore, we investigate questions pertaining to the development of teachers’ professional knowledge. The IPN develops new scientific approaches according to didactic and pedagogical principles and examines the effectiveness of these new concepts in school teaching. One focus of the institute’s work is on issues relating to science communication and extracurricular learning, e.g., in museums or student laboratories.

In addition to research, the IPN also conducts many transfer activities closely related to its research. This is the reason why the IPN, supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, organizes the national selection competitions for various (international) student competitions. The IPN has responsibility for the Biology Olympiad, the Chemistry Olympiad, the Physics Olympiad, the European Science Olympiad, the Federal Environment Competition and of course the selection competition for the International Junior Science Olympiad. It is, therefore, a very special honor for the IPN to host the international competition this year. We wish all participants an interesting, inspiring and successful time in Frankfurt!

Prof. Dr. Olaf Köller
IPN Managing Director of Research

Dear Guests,

since 2004 more than 30 000 German students got involved in the IJSO, many of them persuing academic careers in Natural Sciences by now. Quite a few among them study in countrys all over the world, part of this being due to the IJSO.

We are grateful to the many IJSO host countries who gave our students and mentors the chance to see many places and meet people from around the globe in Africa, America, Asia, and in Europe. They indeed made friends in all parts of the world and still burn for Science.

Now the time has come to thank all of you. We are proud to announce that the 17th International Science Olympiad will be held in Germany. As the Chair of the IJSO 2020, it is my great pleasure to invite you, the IJSO family, to Frankfurt am Main. I can assure that Germany will put all its efforts and skills in setting up a fair competition. We are looking forward to showing you around and sharing with you many exciting, touching, and glamarous moments.

A warm welcome to Frankfurt am Main!

PD Dr. Heide Peters
Chair of IJSO 2020 Germany