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The University hosted its inaugural Science Olympiad invitational tournament on Feb. 4 for 600 high school students from highly ranked teams across the country.

Science Olympiad is a national team competition for students in 6th to 12th grade that features 23 competition events each year, ranging from paper tests on subjects such as microbiology and optics, to laboratory practicals involving forensic science, and engineering events in which students tested devices such as rubber-band propelled helicopters built prior to competition day.

Led by co-directors David Fan ’19 and Edison Lee ’19, Princeton University Science Olympiad hopes to inspire high school students to continue pursuing their academic interests at a high level outside the classroom, through providing this competitive and well-run invitational tournament. Preparations for this competition started in August.

“There are so many students on campus who competed in Science Olympiad at the highest levels possible in high school, and we wanted to leverage that wealth of talent and experience into making the best tournament possible,” said Fan. “We all really enjoyed competing in middle school and high school, and wanted to expose more students to the joy that is problem-solving.”

The all-day event took place in McDonnell Hall, Jadwin Hall, Lewis Library, Friend Center, Guyot Hall, Lewis Thomas Laboratory, McCosh Hall, and East Pyne. All competition events were run by University undergraduates, who were assisted by nearly 100 additional undergraduate volunteers from over 15 different academic departments, and several members of Transportation & Parking Services as well as the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

Princeton University Science Olympiad received financial support from academic centers on campus such as the Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Office of the Vice-President for Campus Life, and the Department of Physics, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Computer Science, Astrophysical Sciences, Chemistry, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Geosciences.

The event also received administrative help from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, and Conference Services as well as the Department of Molecular Biology.

In running this inaugural invitational tournament, Princeton University joined peer institutions MIT, Yale, and Cornell, which host three of the nation’s foremost Science Olympiad tournaments each year. Princeton University Science Olympiad hopes that this tournament will become a Princeton tradition as well as a favorite among high schools across the country.

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