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Ridge and Princeton Charter School teams will go to Washington D.C. for National Science Bowl® after winning challenging science competitions at PPPL

The Ridge Team from Basking Ridge, New Jersey, will go to Washington, D.C., for the National Science Bowl® Finals after battling out a win against a previous champion, West Windsor-Plainsboro South, at the New Jersey Regional Science Bowl on Feb. 23 hosted by the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). 

The West Windsor-Plainsboro South team was undefeated when it went into the twelfth round against Ridge, which had lost one round. Ridge won the twelfth round 90 to 78 and went on to defeat West Windsor-Plainsboro South 112 to 72 in the tense final round in PPPL’s Melvin B. Gottleib Auditorium. 

This was the first time the Ridge Team won the competition after placing third in the New Jersey Regional Science Bowl in 2018 and 2017. West Windsor-Plainsboro South won second place in the contest for the second year in a row and the High Tech High School team, of Lincroft, defeated Princeton High School to win third place. The West Windsor-Plainsboro South team won the contest in 2015, 2016 and 2017. 

“This was one of the most exciting Science Bowls,” said Deedee Ortiz, the Science Education program manager at PPPL, who organizes the yearly contests. “I’m so proud of them all!” 

This was the 26th year PPPL hosted the Science Bowl in which 16 middle school teams and 32 high school teams compete. The students answer 46 challenging questions in Earth and space science, physical science, life science, math and technology per round, with up to 11 rounds for the middle schoolers and up to 13 rounds for the high schoolers in a double-elimination format.  The New Jersey students were among 9,000 high school students and 4,500 middle school students competing in 65 high school and 50 middle school regional Science Bowl tournaments around the country. 

“It’s an exciting opportunity,” said Kaivalya Hariharan, the Ridge Team captain. “I’m very happy.” Hariharan added that the Science Bowl is a great place for young people like him. “It allows kids who are interested in science to meet people who are just as interested in science as they are,” he said. 

“We were very excited to even get a chance to play,” added his team-mate Taewon Chung. 

A second win for Princeton Charter School

Princeton Charter School defeated the Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School in the final middle school contest, 72 to 36, on Friday, February 22. It was the second win in a row for Princeton Charter, which defeated Princeton’s John Witherspoon Middle School in 2018 and came in second behind John Witherspoon in 2017. 

The Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School defeated John Witherspoon Middle School  in the seventh round of this year’s contest, placing Bridgewater-Raritan second and John Witherspoon third.

Princeton Charter coach  Laura Celik said Princeton Charter School students were monitoring the results and the principal made an announcement when they won. She said she was especially pleased with the victory because many of the team members were new since most of the team graduated last year. “There was a lot of pressure on them,” Celik said. “They’re really proud to repeat.” 

Losing teams also had fun competing. One member of the Highland Park Middle School team cheerfully blurted out the wrong answer in the final moments when it became apparent they weren’t going to win. “It’s always an amazing experience, win or lose,” said their coach Jasmeet Anand. “It’s always fun and we love the PPPL facility.” 

The winners from each competition won an all-expenses paid trip to the DOE’s National Science Bowl® in Washington, D.C., from April 25 to 29. The middle school team winner will compete against 49 other regional teams, while the high school champion will compete against 64 other teams. The DOE’s Office of Science manages the National Science Bowl® and sponsors the finals competition. More information is available on the NSB website: http://www.science.energy.gov/wdts/nsb/ 

PPPL, on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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