DOE News Release
February 23, 2005

Steve Zollinger, 208-526-9590,

Intellect on display at 15th INL Scholastic Tournament

At the 15th annual INL Scholastic Tournament in February and March, Eight hundred Idaho students from approximately 80 Idaho high schools will attempt to answer questions similar to the one below on astronomy.

Earth's equatorial diameter is about 43 kilometers longer that its polar diameter. Venus rotates so slowly that it has practically no distortion. At the other extreme, which planet spins so rapidly that it is almost 10 percent out of round?

If students are smart enough to answer that question correctly and more of approximately 50 other challenging questions than their opponent, then the team wins and advances to the next round. With each winning match, teams increase their chance of winning an expense-paid trip to the National Science Bowl in Chevy Chase, Md., April 28-May 2.

The competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory and along with 65 other regional science bowl competitions around the country, it is part of the National Science Bowl competition coordinated by DOE.

Since its inception in 1991, the National Science Bowl has attracted more than 100,000 high school students in the "Jeopardy-style" contest, and about 13,000 more are expected to join the competition this year.

In Idaho, high schools will compete in one of three divisions based on school enrollment. Regional tournaments will be held at the Idaho State University Center for Higher Education in Idaho Falls, Boise State University and the University of Idaho.

Twenty-eight teams will emerge from the regionals and move on to the state championship tournament March 23-24 in Boise. The championship team of each division will travel to the national competition.

The competition is set up similar to sporting events with round-robin and consolation format tournaments. Teams consist of as many as 10 members, with seven competing at a given time and three substitutes. The fast-paced question-and-answer event awards points to teams quickest to "buzz in" and answer the most questions correctly.

The East Regional tournament is Feb. 28 – March 1 at the Center for Higher Education in Idaho Falls. Competitions are Feb. 28 beginning at 10 a.m. and March 1 beginning at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The North Regional tournament is March 7-8 at the University of Idaho's Student Commons Building. Competition rounds March 7 begin at 11 a.m. and on March 8 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The West Regional tournament is March 14-15 at Boise State University's Student Union Building. Competition rounds begin March 14 at 11 a.m. and March 15, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and again at 2 p.m.

INL Scholastic Tournament receives financial support from Washington Group International, Micron Foundation, Westmark Federal Credit Union, Idaho Power and Potlatch Corporation.

And by the way, if you've spent more than the allotted 10 seconds to answer the above question, you can stop. The answer is Saturn. If you're correct, congratulations, you've just earned 10 points.

INL is a science-based, applied engineering and national laboratory dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy's missions in environment, energy, science and national security. The INL is operated for the DOE by Battelle Energy Alliance.



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