After going undefeated during three hours of round robin competition last Saturday morning, the Cherry Creek High School Science Bowl Team had to come from behind to win the afternoon double elimination round of the Colorado Science Bowl Competition, held January 28 at Dakota Ridge High School.
“We lost to Cheyenne Mountain once during an earlier round, so to win, we had to beat them twice in a row in the finals, which we did,” said team co-captain Rajeev Vishwamitra.
That earned the five-member team a trip to the National Science Bowl in April in Washington D.C.
“For me, getting to attend nationals is like a dream come true,” said Vishwamitra, who plans to study electrical engineering at Stanford or Cornell. “The competition provides a great opportunity for students like us to show what we know, and forces us to learn new and different things that aren't covered in school. It's a great way to expand our knowledge and truly appreciate science.”
Science Bowl competitors must field a wide range of Advanced Placement-level questions or higher in biology, chemistry, physics and calculus. Here are a couple of sample questions:
CHEMISTRY Short Answer Give all 3 bond angles, in degrees, that are present in phosphorous pentafluoride: ANSWER: 90; 120; 180
PHYSICS Short Answer A sphere of radius 1 meter contains uniformly distributed charge of charge density rho. Assuming ρ/ε0 (rho over epsilon-naught) equals 30 volts per meter squared, what is the magnitude of electric field at a radius of 0.5 meters? ANSWER: 5 V/m
“I was just amazed at how much these kids knew,” said CCHS science teacher and team sponsor Steve Lohman. “It’s humbling to realize how smart they are. I teach physics and there were plenty of questions I couldn’t answer in five seconds, which is all the time the kids are given to answer correctly!”
“Most people will get the answers eventually, but the real race is centered around who can answer the question first,” said team member Atul Tiwary, who will be studying electrical engineering and jazz music at Princeton, Stanford or the University of Pennsylvania. “We prepared by doing many practice rounds after school for many hours.”
“We figured out what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are and we tried to use that to our advantage,” said team member Ross Dodson, who will pursue degrees in chemistry and foreign language at Yale or Stanford. “I enjoy the competitive and teamwork components of science bowl and being able to use science outside of the classroom in a fun and different way.“
Co-captain Tae Kim and Patrick McMullen are the other two members of the CCHS Science Bowl team. Congratulations to the entire team and best of luck at Nationals!