NEWPORT NEWS, VA — Some of the brightest young minds in the state came together at Jefferson Lab on Saturday, Feb. 9, to compete in the Virginia Regional Science Bowl. Twenty teams, representing high schools from across the Commonwealth participated in the academic competition, which has been sponsored by the Department of Energy since 1991.
When the "dust" settled at the end of an intense day of science and math questions and answers, the winning team was Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology from Alexandria. Team captain and high school senior, Gregory Price, ably led his team to victory.
The team from Woodbridge Senior High School, Woodbridge, finished in second place. Coming together for the final round of the afternoon's double-elimination playoffs, the Woodbridge team had one more win to its credit than the TJ team. The round went to TJ, creating a tie, which resulted in a final tiebreaker round. TJ stayed on its winning course and took the tiebreaker round to win the competition.
The Kempsville High School team, Virginia Beach, won third place; and Forest Park High School, from Midlothian, earned the Sportsmanship Trophy. Richmond Christian School, Chesterfield, sponsored two teams at the competition. While neither team ranked among the top eight teams that moved into the afternoon double-elimination playoffs, they were among several teams that stayed for an afternoon of math and science challenge activities. In a twist of irony, the two teams tied for first place for the Stay All Day math and science challenges.
The Virginia champs and the winners from the other 60 regional Science Bowl competitions will now vie for the top honor at the Science Bowl Nationals to be held May 3–6 in Washington, D.C. The second and third runners-up received cash awards to buy science equipment for their respective schools.
Linda Ware, Jefferson Lab public affairs manager, said she was particularly proud of the smaller schools participating in the event. "Everyone clearly enjoyed themselves," she said. "It's rewarding for kids who study hard and do well to be able to show off their talents at an academic competition like this."
"The Science Bowl is a great way to promote education, academic excellence and an interest in math and science," said Jan Tyler, JLab Science Education manager and coordinator for the 2002 Virginia Regional Science Bowl. "Competing with their peers is a great confidence builder and a fantastic way to motivate young minds."
"The Lab was delighted to host this year's competition," Tyler continued. "It was a fantastic opportunity for the Lab to show its support for science education in Virginia. Hosting the Science Bowl gives us the chance to encourage our youth to pursue higher education and careers in science and math. Some of the young people attending this event could become future JLab scientists, engineers, technicians, or administrative or support staff."
More than 60 Lab staff and family members volunteered part or all of their Saturday to conduct the event.
The Science Bowl is an academic competition among teams of high school students who answer questions on a variety of mathematics and scientific topics. Each team is made up of five to six students, and a teacher who serves as an advisor and coach. Contestants answer multiple choice and short answer questions in the categories of chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, astronomy, and the general, earth and computer sciences.
To learn more about the National Science Bowl competition, visit www.scied.science.doe.gov/nsb/history or check out the types of questions students must answer at www.scied.science.doe.gov/nsb/samplqs.htm.