Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Twenty teams from 13 regional high schools competed Friday in the South Central Ohio Regional Science Bowl at Shawnee State University. Science Bowls have been around for nearly 20 years, but this is the first time one has been hosted in Scioto County - sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The DOE created the National Science Bowl in 1991 and more than 200,000 students have participated in the competition in its 22-year history. It is the nation’s largest science competition. Science Bowl matches consist of two teams made up of four participants and an alternate. The teams play two, eight-minute halves and answer questions related to biology, chemistry, earth and space science, energy, mathematics and physics.
Think it sounds easy? Here’s just one question asked during a face-off between Chillicothe and Minford high school students: “In an ideal polyatomic gas, which of the following comprises internal energy?” Is the answer, A) translational kinetic energy only, B) translational and rotational kinetic energy only, C) translational, rotational, vibrational, and kinetic energy only, or D) translational, rotational, vibrational, kinetic, and potential energy?
If you answered anything other than (C), you are not smarter than a 10th grader — or at least, not smarter than these kids.
“We’ve got some extremely bright kids, and some very tough questions. I think if you hear the questions and see the answers, it will restore your faith in this country,” joked Greg Simonton, DOE regional coordinator. “These are some really sharp kids.”
Thirteen schools from four local counties will be represented with some schools fielding two teams. The field of 20 consists of teams from Chillicothe, Jackson, Lucasville Valley, Minford, New Boston, Northwest, Notre Dame, Paint Valley, Portsmouth West, Sciotoville East, Waverly, Western Pike, and Zane Trace. At the local event, teams compete in pool play and will then be seeded in a single-elimination tournament based on their performances in pool play.
At Friday’s event, a team from Zane Trace (Ross County) defeated Team 1 of Waverly (Pike County) 34-22 in the championship match and the other two semifinalist were Valley Team 1 and a team from Jackson (Jackson County) High School. With Zane Trace’s victory, all four members and their coach win an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the National Science Bowl on April 25-29.
“The questions are so difficult and technical,” Simonton said. “This is in areas of science, engineering, technology, and math. It just serves as a feeder for the nation’s STEM program, and this is just an opportunity for the Department of Energy to highlight for kids to explore Department of Energy careers and other careers in the STEM field. Also to give them a chance to compete and have a great prize at the end.”
Simonton said the DOE is looking forward to making the Science Bowl an annual event in southern Ohio.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.