Arcadia High School triumphed at the National Science Bowl regional competition at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The event was held Jan. 31.
The team, consisting of four main players, an alternate and a coach, reigned supreme against 23 other teams from Southern California. Team members earned a trip to the National Science Bowl finals in Washington, which will be held April 30 through May 4.
The format of the competition resembled a fast-paced game show, with students buzzing in to answer questions at the college freshman level. They were not permitted to use calculators or notes. The questions spanned various topics in Earth and space sciences, including astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics and math.
Contestants at JPL proved themselves quick-witted in a wide range of questions - for instance, knowing that 1,600 + 81 makes a perfect square. Many people in the audience were awed whenever students buzzed in with correct answers before the announcer had finished asking the question.
The second-place team, from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, gave the Arcadia team a suspenseful challenge as the competition neared its end. The two teams tied at 82 points at one point, resulting in a tiebreaker that Dos Pueblos won. But Arcadia made a comeback in the very last match. Santa Monica High School placed third.
All members of the Arcadia team are high school seniors, and all said that they want to pursue mathematics, science or computer science in college. One team member, Chris Chi, already works in a biology lab.
"We all do a lot of science in our spare time," said Kevin Wang, captain of the Arcadia team.
The National Science Bowl is designed to inspire students to pursue careers in science or math. Over the 24-year history of the competition, about 240,000 students have participated. JPL, managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology, has hosted the regional Science Bowl for 23 years.
For information about the National Science Bowl, visit: http://science.energy.gov/wdts/nsb/