The National Board of Higher Mathematics (NBHM) of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) initiated activities leading to India's participation in the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) from the year 1989. The need for a similar National Olympiad Programme in basic sciences was recognized at the same time in several quarters. It was felt that with a large base of quality human resources in science, the country must also participate in the International Olympiads in physics, chemistry and biology. In 1997-98, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), a National Centre of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai and the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) jointly took the initiative in starting the Physics Olympiad Programme. Next year, HBCSE took steps to extend the programme to chemistry and biology. IAPT came forward to extend its wide network facility in conducting examinations in chemistry and biology. These moves received strong support and encouragement from the DAE, Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) of the Government of India. India sent its first team to International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) in 1998, International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) in 1999 and International Biology Olympiad (IBO) in 2000.
INCENTIVES AND AWARDS
The incentives/awards in the current Olympiad scheme in India differ from subject to subject. However, a major incentive, namely the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) Fellowship of DST is common to all subects. All the 19 students (6 in mathematics, 5 in Physics, 4 each in hemistry and biology) who are members of the Indian teams at the International Olympiads automatically qualify for KVPY Fellowship (Rs.3,000/- p.m. + Rs 6,000/- p.a. contingency grant plus a nurture programme) provided they continue to pursue careers in science. An important career incentive is offered by BARC for the physics and chemistry students of this set. The 5 students in physics and 4 in physics and 4 in chemistry are offered direct admission to BARC Training School five years in advance, provided again that they pursue undergraduate and post graduate careers in sciences. Students who are selected for the Indian teams in physics, chemistry and biology receive an award of Rs.5,000/- each at the end of the training programmes. The Award scheme in mathematics is slightly different. All the participants in the training camp are entitled to an award of Rs.5000/- each and students of the Indian team who received medals at the Olympiad receive further cash prizes. In the year 2001, the Government of India have announced an award of Rs.5,000/- to each of the 19 students of the Indian teams who have received medals at the International Olympiads.
THE FOLLOWING ARE THEINTERNATIONAL OLYMPIADS
• International Physics Olympiad (IPhO)
• International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO)
• International Biology Olympiad (IBO)
• International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA)
• International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO)
• International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO)