Young scientists compete in Olympiad
Some 1,800 high school and middle school students from across the nation will travel to UD this month for the Science Olympiad Invitational Tournament, scheduled Jan. 25-26 on the campus.
The Science Olympiad is a national organization dedicated to improving science education by fostering a passion among students, creating links between private enterprise and schools, improving curriculum and providing recognition for scientific achievement.
In addition to the competition, the Invitational will include an opening ceremony featuring a parade of participants, a keynote address by NASA scientist Jack Bacon and mistress of ceremonies meteorologist Kathy Orr of NBC 10 in Philadelphia.
January's event is a prelude to the Science Olympiad National Tournament, which will be held at UD May 17-18. National tournaments are designed to create excitement, promote problem solving, develop cooperative learning strategies and, in the long term, to attract talented students to careers in science, technology and science education.
Both tournaments are sponsored by the University and DuPont, in cooperation with the National Science Olympiad and the Delaware Science Olympiad. Delaware is the birthplace of the National Olympiad (the first competition was held at Delaware State University 26 years ago), and DuPont has been the national sponsor since its inception.
The Invitational Tournament will feature some 46 competitions, half for middle school teams and half for high school teams. These include "Battery Buggy," in which teams must construct a battery-powered vehicle to traverse a specified course; and "Science Crime Busters," in which students must correctly identify liquid and solid materials in a crime scenario.
Events represent a wide range of areas of scientific inquiry, including biology, chemistry, earth sciences, problem solving, physics and technology.
Invitational Tournament teams are drawn from Delaware and 18 other states, as far away as California.
The Invitational will begin with an opening ceremony at 6 p.m., Jan. 25, in the Bob Carpenter Center, featuring a parade of the schools. Orr, award-winning weathercaster for NBC10 in Philadelphia, will open the program.
Speakers will include tournament director Lyn Newsom, who is a secondary science coordinator for the Brandywine School District, a science consultant with UD's MSERC (Mathematics and Science Education Resource Center) and a previous Delaware Teacher of the Year; UD President David P. Roselle; and Charles O. Holliday Jr., chairman and CEO of DuPont.
Keynote speaker will be Jack Bacon, an expert in spacecraft integration and aerospace systems and architectures at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
On Saturday, the competitions will be held throughout the day around campus.
The tournament concludes Saturday night with a closing ceremony in the Bob Carpenter Center.
Both the opening and concluding ceremonies will be broadcast live over the World Wide Web, and the link will be available on the web site at [www.udel.edu/science olympiad]. The web cast will be accessible to 300 persons at a time during the ceremonies, and afterward archived versions will be available to anyone at anytime at the site.
The Invitational and National tournaments are being organized by a core committee, including Newsom; Jack Cairns of the National Science Olympiad; Phyllis Buchanan and Peggy Vavalla of DuPont; Delaware Teacher of Science of the Year Bill Hall, a marine science educator in UD's College of Marine Studies; and Frederic Siegel, associate provost for enrollment services, Amy Greenwald Foley, senior associate director of enrollment services, and Robert Snyder, assistant director of alumni and University relations, all at UD.
For information, see the tournament web site at [www.udel. edu/scienceolympiad].