Science Olympiad

The Science Olympiad is basically a huge melting pot of many different events. It allows for the largest number of team members, (15, excluding alternates)

Events in the Science Olympiad are decided on a rotational basis, with events being rotated in or out ever 4 years. At the state level, a voting committee decides on which events out of the ones being used for nationals to include in the states. (the state is unable to host every event that will be at nationals). In 2010, 5,985 teams competed nationally.


Captains and Mentors

Catherine Chen is the current captain for studyaheads and Yongyi Zhao is currently the captain for buildaheads.
The Mentor: Tatyana Osipenko


The official 2012 rules manual can be accessed (and downloaded) here: here.

The official 2011 rules manual can be accessed (and downloaded) on Remi's google docs here.

See the list of events on the restricted portion here.

National Olympiad Locations

  • 2007: Wichita State University in Wichita, KS
  • 2008: George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
  • 2009: Augusta University in Augusta, GA
  • 2010: University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI

At the 2009 Nationals in Augusta Georgia.


The 2009 team after winning States.


A picture of the 2007 Wichita closing ceremony


2008 Nationals Closing Ceremonies


2008 Nationals Team Photo


2006 States Team Photo after placing 1st


2005 States Team Photo after placing 2nd


2004 Nationals Team Photo


  • 2009
    • 22nd at Nationals
      • 4th place at Nationals: Junkyard Challenge
      • 6th place at Nationals: Remote Sensing
    • 1st at States
      • 1st places: Technical Problem Solving, Evolution (trial event)
      • 2nd places: Astronomy, Dynamic Planet, Elevated Bridge, Forensics, Remote Sensing, Trajectory, Wind Power (trial event)
      • 3rd places: Electric Vehicle, Fossils, Herpetology, Rocks and Minerals
      • 4th places: Chemistry Lab, Health Science, It's About Time
      • 5th places: Junkyard Challenge, Write It Do It, Picture This (trial event)
      • 6th place: We've Got Your Number (trial event)
  • 2008:
    • 22nd at Nationals
      • 2nd places at Nationals: Wright Stuff, Chem Lab
      • 7th places at Nationals: Astronomy, Health Science
    • 1st at States:
      • 1st places: Astronomy, Health Science, Fermi Questions
      • 2nd places: Five Star Science, Robot Ramble, Sounds of Music, Rocks and Minerals
      • 3rd places: Forensics, Oceanography
      • 4th places: Chemistry Lab, Circuit Lab
      • 5th places: Cell Biology, Ecology, Food Science
      • 6th place: Electric Vehicle

See: for full 2008 Nationals results.

  • 2007:
    • 18th at Nationals
      • 3rd place at Nationals: Scrambler
    • 1st at States:
      • 1st places: Astronomy, Fermi Questions, Food Chemistry, Scrambler, Sounds of Music
      • 2nd places: Ecology, Designer Genes, Oceanography
      • 3rd place: Circuit Lab
      • 4th places: Forensics, Health Science, Remote Sensing, Rocks and Minerals
      • 5thplace: Boomilever

See 2007 Nationals Results for Nationals details. Below is footage of the Newton North Science Team at the 2007 Massachusetts Science Olympiad:

  • 2006:
    • 2nd at States
  • 2004:
    • 24th at Nationals
    • 1st at States

See 2004 Nationals Event Scores 2004 Nationals details.

Olympiad Advice

Gabe Bronk (2007):

It is important that people who are substitutes for events show up to these events in case someone who is supposed to be doing the event comes late. I can site a couple instances when the substitute did not show up (in one of which, I was the substitute, and I apologize), but had he, the team would have placed higher in the event. Make sure, though, to ask the nationals director whether it would be allowed to switch people in the middle of the event once the late partner shows up. If not, and if the substitute doesn’t know much, then it might be a good idea just to hope that the person shows up and not have the substitute do the event. To prevent people from showing up late, the day before the competition, everyone should go to the rooms where their events will be held so that they know where they are. Buildings can be far more confusing than you’d ever imagine.

It is usually good to have each partner do half of the test. Then switch halves to check over each other’s answers. If your event allows you to use reference materials, it is often a good idea not to use the materials until the end when checking over your partner’s answers. This is because your partner might know the answer to a question without looking it up, thus saving time.
Many olympiad events allow you enough time to check over some but not all of your partner’s work. A good strategy for these events is to draw an arrow toward any problem that you are very unsure about and to circle any problem that you think that there’s a possibility that you made a mistake on. This way, your partner knows which problems to check first. Even if you don’t know the answer, though, make sure to answer every question in case your partner doesn’t get to check over everything. For short answer questions, make sure to give clear, detailed responses. If you don’t know the answer to a short answer question or don’t know how to explain it clearly, leave it blank so that your partner can do it later; don’t make something up or look it up in a textbook immediately because this wastes time, and your partner will probably have to erase what you wrote. If neither partner knows the answer, once you have finished everything else, you can look up the answer or make something up.
At events in which you rotate from station to station, it is easy to run out of time at a station. Therefore, you should have one person do the first half of each station and the other person do the other half. Work quickly. If you notice that you are running out of time, write down the question on your answer sheet so that you can get back to it if you have more time later. Always wear goggles for build-aheads and lab coats and proper clothing for labs. Clean up your lab bench completely and before time is called. Stop writing immediately when you’re told to stop. Don’t start a test early. Don’t do anything that judges could possibly take off points for."

Rich Ellis (2006):

  1. READ THE RULES! Many times, we have lost points for not fitting the rules exactly. Everybody should reread their own event rules the week before competition, and its great if you can get an outside person to read them as well, as people always notice things the first time through. This applies especially with build aheads, as not fitting the stipulations can cost you a lot of points later on.
  2. Have your gear organized.
  3. Personally check your own events for conflicts. Obviously the captains/organizers will try to avoid these, but it still can’t hurt to check again yourself, and it would avoid potential conflicts like Justin’s Forensics vs. Don’t Bug Me.
  4. Bring safety goggles for build aheads. It is so easy to earn a few points this way, and should really never be forgotten.
  5. Study ahead of time. I blocked out my time in the last 2 weeks before competition and was done with all the hard core studying I wanted to do by Wednesday before competition, so I could focus on my build aheads and sleeping.
  6. Ask former members. As with scrambler this year, we had no idea what we were doing and leaned heavily on a past design. There are people even before us who still get scibowl emails and might come forward with info, especially on build aheads, if you ask.

Be like Jonny Kalow who got three third places and a first place.

Reflections On the 2006 Science Olympiad


Enormously Helpful People

  • Ray Harlan of Wayland is extremely helpful for Wright Stuff.
  • Dave Newburg is a former coach of the Newton North Science Team can provide general help and advice.
  • See Team Directory for contact information.

Additional Pictures


Victory at the 2009 States.


Watching Elevated Bridge at the 2009 States.


The Bridge team at the 2009 States.


Heading to the 2009 States in the early morning.


2008 Nationals Meal


2008 Nationals Team Room


2008 Nationals Opening Ceremony


The event schedule at the 2008 States.


The sweet taste of victory at the 2008 States.

2008 Nationals Opening Ceremony

2007 States Awards Ceremony

2007 States Awards Ceremony


2007, waiting at Logan for the plane


On the multi-axis trainer during the '07 Nationals


Preparing to cut foam with a "hot knife" for keep the heat.


2005 States Team Photo

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