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KNOXVILLE — Thirty-six middle and high school teams from across the state will compete Saturday, March 27, in the Tennessee Science Olympiad State Tournament hosted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Competitions will be held from 7:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside the University Center, Nielsen Physics Building, Neyland Biology Annex, Walters Life Sciences Building, Buehler Hall, Earth and Planetary Science Building, Hesler Biology Building and Estabrook Hall. A closing ceremony where medals and trophies will be awarded will be held at 4:30 p.m. at the Alumni Memorial Building Cox Auditorium.

Teams will square off in a broad range of scientific disciplines such as environmental design, forensics, remote sensing, meteorology and protein modeling. Competitions include launching rockets carrying raw eggs, constructing airplanes, building vehicles propelled by mousetraps and analyzing crime scene data. More than 100 UT Knoxville faculty and students will serve as coordinators and judges for the 47 events.

“Science Olympiad is a way for high school and middle school students to explore their interest in science through an engaging and fun competition,” said Jeffrey Kovac, director of the tournament and a professor of chemistry. “Hosting the state tournament is an important outreach activity for UT Knoxville. Faculty and students are helping improve science education in the state by providing a high-quality tournament that encourages students to compete and to learn.”

The teams, which include up to 15 students, qualified for the state competition based on performances in regional competitions. Local students from Bearden Middle School, Cedar Springs Home School, Oak Ridge High School and Farragut High School are among the participants.

First place winners at the middle and high school levels will earn trophies, medals and financial support to compete in the 26th annual Science Olympiad National Tournament May 20 – 22 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The 2010 state tournament is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences with support from the UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Science Alliance and the College of Engineering.

For more information including a detailed schedule and list of participating schools, please visit http://www.artsci.utk.edu/outreach/Academic_Olympiad.asp. An information desk also will be available inside the University Center’s Brown Lounge.

If you wish to cover the event, Lynn Champion, director of academic outreach and communications for the office of the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will be on site to coordinate interviews. She can be reached at 865-680-8196.

For descriptions of the events, please visit http://soinc.org/short_event_descriptions.

C O N T A C T :

Lynn Champion (865-680-8196, champion@utk.edu)

Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460, wholmes7@utk.edu)