DOE's Dr. Brinkman and Secretary Chu Honor National Science Bowl® Winners

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The Middle School 2011 Science Bowl® winners stand on stage with Secretary Chu and Dr. Brinkman

2011 Middle School National Science Bowl® Champion: Gale Ranch Middle School poses with DOE’s Secretary Chu and Dr. Brinkman, Director of DOE’s Office of Science, with their $1,000 award.

Of the 110 teams who won Regional Science Bowls across the nation, earning them trips to the final competition in Washington D.C., only 5 remained to compete in the final academic matches on May 2nd, 2011. Gale Ranch Middle School took on Shahala Middle School for the 2011 Middle School National Science Bowl® (NSB) title. At the high school level, Sunset High School, Montgomery Blair High School, and Mira Loma High School were the final three teams. Gale Ranch of San Ramon, Calif., clinched the Middle School competition undefeated, and Mira Loma High School from Sacramento took the win in a close final round against Montgomery Blair from nearby Silver Spring, Md.

After the final answer was offered, DOE Office of Science Director introduced Secretary Chu to speak to students at the awards ceremony. Dr. Brinkman first gave his condolences for the passing of Sue Ellen Walbridge, NSB coordinator for the past 20 years who passed away last week. "For her work she was nominated as a finalist for the Service to America medal for outstanding contributions to the activities of the federal government. Sue Ellen's spirit is with us today and we hope she is proud of all of the work that has been done this past year." Dr. Brinkman then spoke highly of the keynote speaker, Secretary Chu: "I have known him for most of his career and it was always his total enthusiasm for science and his inquiring mind that set him apart from others. For the last six years he has become an outstanding driver behind solving the country's energy problems."

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Secretary Chu congratulates the 2011 High School National Science Bowl® Champs from Mira Loma High School

DOE's Secretary Chu congratulates Mira Loma High School, the 2011 High School National Science Bowl® Champions.

Secretary Chu was eager to answer the students' intelligent questions regarding renewable energy and the future of scientific innovation in our country. In his speech, he encouraged the competitors to stick with science, saying, "It will be hard work, but it will be incredibly fun."

The middle school students certainly got a taste of the science fun in the NSB's hydrogen fuel cell model car competition. They designed and built their own hydrogen fuel cell racecars. Awards were given for the top engineering design as well as the fastest vehicle. Blake Middle School of Hopkins, Mn., took the first place finish for their speedster, which completed the 10 meter stretch in just 3.49 seconds. The engineering design award went to Home Schools of Eastern Iowa for their innovative technical schematic. Home Schools of Eastern Iowa also took home the Civility Award for their excellent sportsmanship. Each teammate received a trophy, gift bag from IBM, a Kindle, and a $100 giftcard.

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Students stand on stage with Dr. Brinkman holding prizes for winning Civility Award

Dr. Brinkman with students from the Home Schools of Easter Iowa, winners of both the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Engineering Design Challenge and the Civility Award for sportsmanship.

The prize for the high school Civility Award was even greater. Students on the winning team, Dos Pueblos High School from Goleta, Calif., will take an excursion to Alaska. Dos Pueblos teammates were respectful and encouraging to their opponents, and they even actively reached out to their peers by organizing a frisbee-golf game during free time.

The team from Mira Loma High School will also take a science-related trip for their 1st place academic win. Destination: Sydney Australia. The top 16 high school and 8 middle school teams also received jumbo-size checks worth $1,000 to their schools' science departments. In addition, members of the second and third place teams, Montgomery Blair and Sunset High Schools, respectively received $750 and $500 scholarships from the U.S. Air Force.

At the high school level, there was also a Division Team Challenge portion of the competition in which each of the eight double elimination divisions had a winner. Each division had a different challenge, ranging from hands-on chemistry experiments to calculator-based math problems. One of the winners, Andrew Sherlock of Hunter College High School, New York, NY, described how thrilled he was to be there. "This was my first time on the team. The competition was a real bonding experience for us, and going to see the Capitol and the museums-- it was all really amazing!" His coach added, "It is an experience they won't forget." Coaches and players alike hope to return next year to the 2012 National Science Bowl®.

The National Science Bowl® is largely sponsored by the Department of Energy's Office of Science. For more information about the Office of Science, visit

This article was written by Abigail Pillitteri, a writer for the Office of Science