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State finals of Illinois Science Olympiad to be held April 6

James Kloeppel , Physical Sciences Editor
(217) 244-1073;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The state finals of the Illinois Science Olympiad will be held April 6 at the University of Illinois. The event, which begins at 9 a.m., is part of a national competition in which middle and high school students compete in 24 events involving science concepts and engineering skills. The public is invited to attend.

About 1,100 of the top technical students from around the state are expected to participate in the event, said Chad Stevens, facility manager for the School of Chemical Sciences and site coordinator for the Olympiad.

"The Science Olympiad is devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers," Stevens said. "The day will be filled with academic competition, spiced with the spirit of a track meet."

Area schools that qualified for the competition are Bloomington High School; Edison Middle School, Champaign; Glenn Raymond Junior High School, Watseka; Illini Central High School, Mason City; Pekin Community High School; St. Matthew School, Champaign; Tuscola High School; Urbana High School; and Urbana Middle School.

The competition covers science and engineering disciplines from astronomy to zoology. Many of the activities will be hands-on, with student teams launching 2-liter bottle rockets, racing homemade airplanes and building bridges. Other events will test the students’ knowledge in areas such as cell biology, chemistry, crime science, experimental design, map-reading, physics, qualitative analysis and water quality.

Most of the tournament competition will take place on the Quad or in nearby buildings. A schedule of activities will be available in 161 Noyes Lab, 505 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana.

New this year, an information fair for science majors will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Huff Hall, 1206 S. Fourth St., Urbana. Representatives from many UI science departments and local student organizations will be available to talk with prospective college students.

Charles F. "Chip" Zukoski, professor and head of the department of chemical engineering at the UI, will be the featured speaker during the awards ceremony, which will be held at 5 p.m. in Huff Hall.

The UI will host the national event in 2005.