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New Jersey Chemistry Olympics 2020 - Information Search: Home

This Page is Only for the Information Search Competition

If you are looking for the web page for the entire 2020 New Jersey Chemistry Olympics taking place on May 15, 2020 at NJIT please access  The following guide pertains specifically to the Information Search portion of Event 07, for complete details, including Molecule Guidelines and Judging Criteria for this event see

Suggested Resources 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.

Databases Accessible While in the NJIT Library

The following databases can only be accessed using a guest account while in the NJIT library.  

2020 Information Search Topic: Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)


Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)   The Environmental Protection Agency (USEAP) writes “Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are toxic chemicals that adversely affect human health and the environment around the world. Because they can be transported by wind and water, most POPs generated in one country can and do affect people and wildlife far from where they are used and released. They persist for long periods of time in the environment and can accumulate and pass from one species to the next through the food chain.”  For more information: For this year’s Information Search competition, we have selected the following POPs:  

  • DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, (CAS 50-29-3)
  • Toxaphene or Chlorocamphene (CAS 8001-35-2)
  • PCB 77 (3,3’,4,4’-tetrachlorobiphenyl, CAS 32598-13-3)
  • PCDF (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzofuran, CAS 51207-31-9)
  • TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, CAS 1746-01-6) 


  • A team of 2 or 3 students must compete in this event. 
  • Schools with two teams MUST select different molecules to research and present.  The two teams MUST compete in the same time slot.
  • 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.


  • On Event Day each team should bring the model to the designated room for judging.  During the allocated session, each team will participate in the "Internet Search" and "Molecule Questioning" portions of the event.
  • Teams will be asked six Information Search questions.  In order to provide written answers to the six questions, each team will be provided with one computer with access to the Internet.  At the completion of the scheduled session, each team must submit their written answers to the questions provided.  See the example questions from previous events. 
  • Students may consult the List of Suggested Databases that have been developed for this event.
  • On the day of the competition, student teams will be asked two questions about their model.  Teams will orally respond to the questions in order to demonstrate their knowledge and clarify their reasoning.  Student responses should not exceed 3 minutes.  Students may also be asked points of clarification if there is any confusion about their model.
  • Teams must clean up and remove the model when their session is over, and return it to the team area on the first floor so it can later be returned to their schools.

For MOLECULE GUIDELINES and JUDGING CRITERIA for this event, please visit the NJ Chemistry Olympics 07 Information Search event page:

New Jersey Institute of Technology 
University Heights, Newark, New Jersey 07102-1982
(973) 596-3206
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