NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Twenty teams of excited students – accompanied by their coaches and family members – arrived at Jefferson Lab bright and early on March 4, ready to compete in the Virginia Regional Middle School Science Bowl. At the close of a long, intense day of competition, Nysmith School for the Gifted, Herndon, earned top honors.
Jefferson Lab’s Deputy Director of Science, Robert McKeown, welcomed the students, attending family members and team coaches. A capacity crowd sat in rapt attention as McKeown briefly explained the purpose of the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility – Jefferson Lab’s particle accelerator. Then, to help the young competitors grasp how much technology has changed in the last 50 years, McKeown presented images of devices he regularly used as a young scientist – a slide rule, manual typewriter, rotary-dial telephone, black-and-white vacuum-tube TV set, gas-powered car, and vinyl records – devices that many youngsters in the audience had likely never before seen or used. He discussed how technological advancements had replaced them with new devices: calculators, computers, smart phones, video games, LED TVs, and electricity- or hydrogen-powered vehicles.