CCHS Team Earns Sportsmanship Award & 7th Place Finish @ JPL Science Bowl

Southern California high school students had mere seconds to answer complex science questions that would rattle even the most stalwart rocket scientist in the regional round of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl on January 26.

The tournament, which has been hosted by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, for almost three decades, included 23 teams.

John Callas, project manager for the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers and manager of the NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research program, has volunteered as a Science Bowl moderator for 26 years. “I’m still impressed with how quickly these young minds can answer a very complicated question. A question that I, today, would have to take out a piece of paper and spend maybe five minutes on doing the calculation, they do within seconds in their heads,” he said. Needless to say, calculators aren’t allowed.

One example of a past tournament’s “easy” questions reads: “A famous principle of fluid mechanics, traditionally attributed as the explanation behind lift on an airplane wing, is named after what scientist?”

Despite the serious brain work required, the atmosphere was fun and energetic, with even a milk-and-cookie break in the afternoon.

The Culver City High School team, pictured above, went to the semi-final rounds and eventually finished in seventh-place, earning the Sportsmanship Prize (and JPL hats) for their fairness and friendliness throughout the competition.

Pictured is the team, from left, seniors Nicole Muir, Arya Shah, Cooper Komatsu (co-captain), Oliver Marcus (co-captain), Roshan Chhetri, and coach and chemistry teacher Mariah Fontijn.

Pictured is the team, from left, seniors Nicole Muir, Arya Shah, Cooper Komatsu (co-captain), Oliver Marcus (co-captain), Roshan Chhetri, and coach and chemistry teacher Mariah Fontijn.

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