NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Twenty-four teams of young scientists from Southern California high schools will gather Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the regional semifinal competition of the National Science Bowl, a quiz-show-like tournament of scientific knowledge.

The regional contest is being held at NASA's JPL for the fourth consecutive year. Each of two dozen high schools, mostly in the San Gabriel Valley, will be represented by a team of four students and an alternate. The regional winners will go on to the finals in late April at the EPCOT Center on Florida.

"This mental sporting event lets the students compete both individually and as teams in their knowledge of science," said Kim Lievense, manager of JPL's Office of Public Services and organizer of the event. "It is fast-paced and highly competitive."

Modeled on the old "College Bowl" television show of the 1960s, the competition was first organized by the U.S. Department of Energy in 1991. It starts with a round-robin event in which every team plays five others, followed by a double-elimination tournament for the high scorers.

Participating high schools include: Mark Keppel in Alhambra; Arcadia High School; Diamond Bar High School; Downey and Warren High Schools in Downey; Hoover High School in Glendale; University and Woodbridge High Schools in Irvine; Jordan and Wilson High Schools in Long Beach; Los Alamitos High School; Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach; Monrovia High School; Palos Verdes Peninsula High School; John Muir and Pasadena High Schools in Pasadena; Redondo Union High School; Riverside Poly High School; Rosemead High School; San Dimas High School; South and West Torrance High Schools; and South Hills and West Covina High Schools in West Covina.

"Woodbridge High won the regional semifinals in 1993 and 1995, and Mark Keppel High School was the regional winner in 1994," Lievense said. "This year more than half of the schools are new to the competition, and we expect a very exciting tournament."

Sponsors of the event include the Doubletree Hotel, Foothill Trophy, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, Pasadena Water and Power Department, Rockwell International, Service America, Sport Chalet and the Wild Goose Company, as well as JPL, NASA and the Department of Energy.

Press are invited to watch the all-day tournament, which will be held 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. For further information, contact the JPL Public Information Office at 818- 354-5011.

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