Science Bowl preliminary competition to take place Thursday

Christina Chen, Author

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The Science Olympiad Club will host the Science Bowl preliminary written test at lunch Thursday in Room 1709.

The top 15 Palo Alto High School students will then proceed to the buzzer competition, from which two teams of five will be selected.

Science Bowl is a fast-paced buzzer competition, sponsored by the United States Department of Energy. Participants will answer questions about biology, chemistry, physics, earth and space science, math and energy. To participate, students should email paloaltoscioly@gmail.com by Thursday, though drop-ins are also welcome.

“For those who don’t want to do the studying for [Science Olympiad Club], which is more study, exam based style of competition, Science Bowl has more of an adrenaline rush because it’s a lot faster-paced, and for some people, more exciting,” said junior Grace Lin, one of the three presidents of the Science Olympiad club.

Co-president senior Alvin Kim added that people who get on the team should expect at least three to four hours of outside studying a week, plus weekly meetings to practice.

“Our goal is to get through the regional make it to the national,” Kim said. “Then we’ll see what we can do from there.”

Senior Jeffrey Ling, co-president and Science Bowl veteran, wrote the preliminary test, which contains material not necessarily covered in the science classes.

“Students should participate because it encourages them to learn very diverse fields of science, such as earth science, which you don’t always get to learn in class,” Ling said.

There are two types of questions in a Science Bowl competition: toss-ups and bonuses. In a toss-up question, participants fight to press the buzzer first, and then receive ten seconds to answer. If answered correctly, the team would receive a bonus question, for which teammates can convene for twenty seconds.

“In the past years we have done pretty well,” Lin said. “Three years ago, we placed seventh in [the] national [competition]. And last year, we placed second in regionals.”

If the Paly team wins the regional competition on Feb. 9, it can then participate in the national competition in Washington, D.C., in April. The Department of Energy would cover all expenses for the week-long trip.

“We are very excited this year, because a new region is opening up,” Lin said. “This means we may be able to send in a second team, and give more members the experience. Hopefully, this will make our team more experienced in future years.”

Kim encouraged all interested students to come to try out for the team.

“It’s a unique experience that you don’t get in the classroom environment,” Kim said. “It’s rewarding to compete and win. I would definitely recommend it for anyone interested in science.”