Rachel Carson Wins 2018 Virginia Middle School Science Bowl
Longfellow and Frost Middle Schools Finish in Second and Third
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Seventeen teams arrived at Jefferson Lab early Saturday, March 3 – despite a large Nor’easter still impacting the region – ready for a day of intense academic competition. And in a knuckle-biter final round, Rachel Carson Middle School, Herndon, pulled ahead of Longfellow Middle School, Falls Church, at the final buzzer to win the 2018 Virginia Regional Middle School Science Bowl.
Jefferson Lab’s Deputy Director of Science, Robert McKeown, kicked off the tournament, welcoming the teams, attending family members and the team coaches. The near capacity crowd in the CEBAF Center auditorium got a basic physics lesson as McKeown provided an overview of the research conducted at the lab – discussing how the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility is used to study the most basic building blocks of matter. And explaining how research sets the stage for technological advancements that shape not just future research, but many areas of the economy and society.
To help the young competitors grasp how much technological advancements have changed both processes and products in the last 60 years, McKeown discussed some of the changes he has witnessed: how computers, printers, smart phones, flat-screen TVs, electric and hydrogen-fueled vehicles, the global positioning system (GPS), and the Internet have replaced things like the slide rule, manual typewriter, rotary-dial telephone, black-and-white vacuum-tube TV, record player, mail-order catalogues, paper maps and combustion-engine vehicles.
“It is difficult to make predictions about the future,” he said, quoting Danish physicist Neils Bohr, “but what we know for sure is that the advancements of the next 50 years will be up to young people like you.” He encouraged the students to continue their studies and to consider pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
The teams spent the morning in a series of fast-paced round robin matches, with the top two teams from each of the four divisions moving on to the double-elimination tournament in the afternoon. Questions covered detailed topics ranging from the life sciences, physical science, Earth and space science and energy to mathematics.
The sixth round of the afternoon pitted the undefeated team from Longfellow Middle School against the Rachel Carson team, with one loss. Rachel Carson started off the round in strong form and won the round. So, with one loss each, the teams faced off again in one final round. At the half, Rachel Carson was ahead of Longfellow, 32-20; then Longfellow pulled ahead. With Longfellow in the lead, 66-64, the clock ran out as Moderator Brad Sawatzky started reading question 23 (physical science). Rachel Carson buzzed in first, answered the question correctly (4 points) as well as the follow-on bonus question (10 points), and won the round 78-66.
The Rachel Carson team, coached by Sudhir Duggineni, took home a $750 check for its school, a team trophy, individual medals and the regional banner the team will carry when they compete in the National Science Bowl® (NSB) finals in Washington, D.C., April 26–30.
Finishing in second place, the Longfellow team, coached by Jim Bradford and Eric Rollins, earned a $500 check for its school and a team trophy. Ending the day, respectively, in third and fourth were the teams from Frost Middle School, Fairfax, and Floris Elementary School, Herndon. The Frost team, coached by Haydee Cooper and Anbuchellam Vijay, received a $300 check for its school and a team trophy. The Floris team, coached by Dee Kiewel Denecke and Larry Riso, took home a team trophy.
A number of teams, eliminated from competition after the round robin matches, stayed to participate in the Stay All Day Contest – a three part design and engineering challenge. Winning this event, with the highest composite score for the three challenges, was the team from Hampton Roads Academy, Newport News, coached by Michelle Miesko. Each team member received a solar-powered battery charger.
At the awards presentation, Christine Wheeler, Jefferson Lab's Science Bowl coordinator, congratulated the students and their coaches. She commended their hard work in preparing for the competition, and for the support provided by parents. She thanked Jefferson Lab management for its support in hosting the event and to the more than 40 volunteers – lab staff, their family members, and friends of the Science Bowl program – who helped conduct the matches and run the event.
The Department of Energy created the National Science Bowl® in 1991 to encourage students to excel in mathematics and science and to pursue careers in these fields. The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science manages the National Science Bowl®, and sponsors the NSB finals competition. Learn more about DOE's National Science Bowl® competition at: https://science.energy.gov/wdts/nsb/ .
Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, a joint venture of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. and PAE, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.
DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit science.energy.gov.