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National Science Olympiad to take place May 20-21 at Illinois

Jim Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor
217-244-1073; kloeppel@illinois.edu

2/14/2005

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — About 2,400 students in middle school and high school are expected to compete in the 21st annual National Science Olympiad May 20-21 at the University of Illinois. The students, representing more than 120 teams of champions from across the country, will compete in more than three dozen events, such as bridge building, computing, chemistry and astronomy.

The U. of I. has announced a new scholarship program in conjunction with the Olympiad whereby high school gold medalists and team champions who gain admission to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be awarded four-year tuition waivers. The program also offers rewards to middle school gold medalists and team champions. If they ultimately apply and are admitted to the Urbana campus, they will receive a $2,000 annual scholarship each of their four years as undergraduates.

“As one of the pre-eminent science and technology institutions in the world, we train the best and the brightest students,” said Richard Herman, the interim chancellor of the Urbana campus. “The winners of this national competition will have shown themselves to be outstanding students – the kind whose curiosity, creativity and energy foster and promote the cutting-edge work for which our campus is known.”

This year’s theme for the Olympiad is Albert Einstein, in part because 2005 is the World Year of Physics, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s pronouncement of his theory of relativity, among others.

The National Science Olympiad involves about 2 million students annually in grades K-12, with 5,500 teams in grades six through 12 actively competing in regional, state and the national tournament. The mission of the program is to enhance the quality of science education, to create a passion for science among schoolchildren and to reward both students and teachers for academic achievement.

The registration area and headquarters for the Olympiad will be at the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana. The Parade of States and opening ceremony will take place at the Assembly Hall, 1800 S. First St., Champaign. Competitions will be held at sites throughout the campus.