While others spent a rainy Saturday morning sleeping in, more than 200 high school scholars squared off in a more scientific pursuit. In a practice session for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s 14th annual Science Bowl on Feb. 25, students from more than two dozen high schools relished the chance to sound out their opponents and perfect their strategy. “I really enjoy competing,” said Matthew Richards, 17, of North Hills, who is on Reseda High School’s Science Bowl and Academic Decathlon teams. “It’s the adrenalin of just being there, of testing your skills against other people and knowing you have a chance to win.” But here, what counts is not your jump shot, but your ability to quickly answer college-level questions on everything from physics, chemistry and biology to earth science, computer science and astronomy. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita It helps if you know the formula for a polyatomic ion, the common name for the antineuritic vitamin (thiamine), what an exothermic reaction is, and if you can work out complicated chemistry formulas and mathematical equations in your head in seconds. The competition, patterned after the old GE College Bowl television series, features teams of four students and one alternate who answer questions posed by a moderator. Like many game shows, opposing teams vie to see who can hit a buzzer fastest to win the right to answer the question first. Richard Erdman, coach of Venice High School squad – which won the regional championship last year and broke North Hollywood’s seven-year winning streak – said the event challenges students to go beyond their normal studies. “Competition turns kids on more than anything else,” Erdman said. “I’ve been lobbying for someone to start a literature bowl and a history bowl for all the kids who are not science addicts.” Alex Yen and Denise Ye, both 17 and of Northridge, compete for the North Hollywood team and said that for them and their teammates, Science Bowl allows them to learn more and exposes them to new fields. “We have a passion for it,” Yen said. Other students said preparing for the competition helps them fine-tune their study habits and improves their time-management skills, which will come in handy when they go to college. “It helps you work under pressure,” said Chas Domike, 17, of Encino, who competes for Reseda High. “Writing an essay with a little (deadline) pressure is nothing like this.” The winning team from the Feb. 25 competition will go on to the U.S. Department of Energy National Science Bowl competition from April 27 to May 1 in Washington, D.C. More than 12,000 students from 1,800 high schools participate in the program nationwide. Los Angeles teams have won four national titles and have achieved final-four status seven times since 1995. The national titles were won by Van Nuys High School in 1995, Venice High School in 1996 and 1997, and North Hollywood High School in 2001. Taft High School is fielding a Science Bowl team this year for the first time, largely due to the efforts of 17-year-old Danny Wudka, of Reseda. Taft has won the U.S. Academic Decathlon national championship twice, so Wudka said he thought it could certainly field a top-notch Science Bowl team, too. Lisa M. Sodders, (818) 713-3663 [email protected] How smart are you? See if you can answer these sample questions from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Science Bowl. Remember that the high school students in the actual competition must answer within seconds. 1. Physics: A spring with a force constant of 100 Newtons per meter is loaded with a mass of 1.0 kilogram. The period of vibration of this system is approximately: A) .03 seconds B) .31 seconds C) .63 seconds D) 1.2 seconds 2. Computer Science: What type of display screens permit the computer to manipulate pixels on the screen individually rather than as blocks: A) Bit-mapped B) Active-mapped C) SVGA D) Character-mapped 3. Chemistry: Why can water dissolve NaCl whereas hexane cannot: A) Hexane is attracted to the sodium ions, but not to the chlorine atoms. B) As a polar solvent, water is attracted to both anions and cations. C) Both water and salt are inorganic and hexane is organic. D) Water can form hydrogen bonds with NaCl. 4. Biology: In the circulatory systems of a bird, blood is moved through the body loop by the: A) right and left atria B) right and left ventricles C) right atrium and right ventricle D) left atrium and left ventricle 5. Math: USA Deli sells cheese with a 20 percent water content at $3.50 per pound. Removing moisture from the cheese costs $1 per pound of water removed. At what rate per pound would cheese with a 10 percent water content have to be sold to keep the same profit: A) $3.60 B) $3.80 C) $4.00 D) $4.20 (Answers: 1 – C; 2 – A; 3 – B; 4 – D; 5 – C) 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!