A capital performance

BC Science Bowl team finishes 9th in nation in third trip to finals

While much of the nation's capital was celebrating on Monday, April 2, a small contingent of students from Bethlehem Central High School had more than one reason to be proud.

For the third year in a row, the school's Science Bowl team traveled to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national finals of that competitive test of scientific knowledge. This year, the team of five and their coach, science teacher Paul O'Reilly, made their best showing yet, finishing 9th out of the 69 high schools at the match. About 14,000 students nationwide entered regional competitions this year.

The three-day event started on April 30. For senior Austin Mayron, this was his third trip to the capital for the competition. The Science Bowl team has only two chances every year to show off its skills: at regionals and nationals.

You practice for a whole year, then it comes down to 10 games, Mayron said.

BC's team performed admirably at the regional competition, winning all its games. At the national contest they played in seven round robin games and three double-elimination rounds.

It was also a tough year, said Mayron, who will be attending Caltech to study chemical engineering in the fall.

"In the later rounds the calculations got pretty intense. They're expecting you to do a lot in 20 seconds," he said.

And these multiple choice and free answer questions go a bit beyond knowing the periodic table. An example:

"If a satellite moving in a circular orbit is raised to another circular orbit 3-times as far from the Earth's center and where the kinetic energy of the satellite is 3-times less, by what factor does the centripetal force on the satellite decrease?" (The answer? Nine, for reasons that no doubt make sense to the competitors.)

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