January 19, 2006
WASHINGTON , D.C. — Starting this week, America's next generation of scientists and engineers will put their knowledge to the test in the country’s largest science tournament. The Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl involves 12,000 high school students from 1,800 schools across the United States. It is the only educational event and academic competition of its kind that tests students’ knowledge in all areas of science and is sponsored by a federal agency.
“Developing the next generation of scientists and engineers is a critical part of ensuring America’s scientific, economic and energy future,” said Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman. “The National Science Bowl is an important part of DOE’s effort to encourage America’s best and brightest to explore the fields of science and engineering and ultimately be a part of solving the great questions facing our nation and our world, as scientists and engineers have done throughout our history.”
To reach the national competition, teams must win one of the 65 regional tournaments. The first regional tournament begins January 20; the last regional tournament will be held March 21st. The regional champion teams will receive a trip to Washington, D.C. April 27th- May 1st to tour museums, and participate in Science Day seminars and the national academic science competition.
Since DOE’s National Science Bowl began in 1991, more than 100,000 high school science and mathematics students – and their teachers – have participated. Competing teams are quizzed on biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, earth science, general science and mathematics. Many participating students have gone on to careers in scientific fields. This year’s top three teams will win prizes including scientific research trips to France and U.S. DOE laboratory sites.
Student teams, which consist of four students, an alternate, and a teacher/coach, practice for months before the competition. Many student teams even test their knowledge against scientists at major corporations or DOE National Laboratories, who volunteer their time to help students prepare to answer the very challenging questions.
The competition’s questions are so challenging that they often even stump professional scientists. For example:
Physics – Assuming g + 10 meters per/sec2283;2; , if a pulley is used to lift a 1 Kg weight 2 meters high, how much work in SI units was expended to overcome friction if 20 newton’s of effort was used? Answer: 20 Joules
General Science – This fungus is the causative agent for what was known in medieval times as St. Anthony’s fire, and is now used as a source for certain drugs. Answer: Ergot
Also at DOE’s National Science Bowl, 16 student teams will participate in DOE’s.Hydrogen Fuel Cell Model Car Challenge, in which they will design and construct model hydrogen cars. Half the teams will compete in a speed race, and the others will participate in the “King of the Hill” competition, where cars vie to climb the steepest incline. Supervised by engineers from DOE sites and General Motors, students will learn what it will take to make their car designs a reality. Designers of winning cars receive $9,000 in prizes for their schools and the prestige (and college prep credentials) of winning a DOE national competition.
Corporate sponsors of DOE’s National Science Bowl include General Motors, AREVA, Inc., Bechtel Corporation, IBM and Texas Instruments. Regional sponsors range from small companies to the Fortune 1000. DOE’s National Science Bowl is managed by the DOE Office of Science.
More information about DOE’s National Science Bowl, including the list of regional science bowl competitions, is available at http://nationalsciencebowl.energy.gov/.
DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the nation and ensures U.S. world leadership across a broad range of scientific disciplines. The Office of Science also manages 10 world-class national laboratories with unmatched capabilities for solving complex interdisciplinary problems, and it builds and operates some of the nation's most advanced R&D user facilities, located at national laboratories and universities. The Office of Science web site address is http://www.science.doe.gov/.
Jeff Sherwood, 202/586-5806