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2019 New Jersey Chemistry Olympics - Information Search: Home

This Page is Only for the Information Search Competition

If you are looking for the web page for the entire 2019 New Jersey Chemistry Olympics please access .  May 17, 2019 is the date of the next event which is now in the planning stages.  More information will be posted later.  Please contact at Dr. Miriam Gulotta at, or Dr. Kathleen Gilbert at if you would like to participate in the 2019 event.

2019 Topic: Suncreens - UVA & UVB Blockers

Sunlight is a double-edged sword.  It’s essential for life on earth, required for vitamin D production in the majority of land vertebrates and a lack of sunlight can cause severe depression in humans.  But it can also be harmful.  UVB rays (280 – 315 nm) found on sunny days cause the skin to burn and are responsible for most types of skin cancer.  UVA rays (315 – 400 nm) are always present cause the skin to age and become leathery.  To protect us from the harmful effects of UVA and UVB irradiation, molecular sunscreens have been developed.  The molecules below are either UVA blockers, UVB blockers, or both.

  • Avobenzone (CAS 70356-09-1)
  • Menthyl anthranilate (CAS 134-09-8)
  • Octyl methoxycinnamate (CAS 5466-77-3)
  • Homosalate (CAS 118-56-9)
  • Oxybenzone (CAS 131-57-7)
  • Sulisobenzone (CAS 4065-45-6)​


  • A team of 2 or 3 students must compete in this event. Schools with two teams MUST select different molecules to research and present.
  • BEFORE the day of the event, the team will select one of the molecules and make a molecular model using low-density Styrofoam balls and wooden skewers.
  • The team should be prepared to use the Internet to answer general knowledge questions about all the molecules in the Information Search portion of the event. 
  • The Information Search portion of the event is to be completed in 25 minutes ON THE DAY OF COMPETITION.
  • The team should be prepared to answer two oral questions about their molecule. 
    • Question #1 will focus on molecular geometry (such as chirality, identifying co-planar atoms, hybridization, bond lengths and angles).
    • Question #2 will focus on the relationship between structure and function.  Note: Students are not expected to know specific proprietary information about the compounds.  They should however, understand the importance and role of different functional groups.

For event day information and judging criteria for this event, please visit the NJ Chemistry Olympics 07 Information Search event page:

Suggested Databases for the Information Search

You may use the databases listed below or the ones offered by NJIT at (Some are only accessible while on the NJIT campus).

Contact NJIT Research Librarian Joanne Dera at with any questions regarding the databases.

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