John Witherspoon Middle School and West Windsor-Plainsboro South High School both took first place in their divisions in the U.S. Department of Energy’s New Jersey Science Bowl recently and will compete in the National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C. at the end of next month.
The West Windsor-Plainsboro South Science Bowl team won its third victory in a
row at the high school contest and was undefeated in 12 rounds of competition.Thirty-two teams from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware competed by answering challenging questions in timed rounds in science, technology and mathematics in a quiz-show type double elimination format.
The John Witherspoon Middle School team won the Middle School tournament. Sixteen teams from all over New Jersey competed in the middle school version of the game-show-style, double-elimination format contest.
West Windsor-Plainsboro will compete with 69 other high school teams and John Witherspoon Middle School will compete with 49 other middle school regional teams in Washington D.C.
About 50 scientists, engineers and staff members from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in Plainsboro volunteered for the two-day event as science moderators, judges, timekeepers and helpers. Many of the volunteers have been coming to the Science Bowl for years. Engineer Irving Zatz has been volunteering for 20 years. “I’m always impressed by how well-prepared and how smart they are, how quick too,” he said. “That’s why I’ve been coming back for 20 years because it’s such a thrill.”
Deedee Ortiz, the program administrator for the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory’s science education department, said it is great to see how excited kids are about science in the competition. “They are incredibly smart and if we can give them a chance to
see a national laboratory then maybe someday some of those kids will be here working
to make the world a better place,” she said.