Five Milken students participate in LADWP Science Bowl competition

Science Bowl participants
Science Bowl team members practice with their buzzer devices in preparation for their regional competition on February 26, 2011, in downtown Los Angeles at LADWP's John Ferraro Building. Photos by Olivia Hitchcock.

Sophie Golub

News Editor

On February 26, five of Milken’s Mitchell Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) students participated in the 19th annual Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) regional Science Bowl competition. Kevin Rudolph ’11, Nicole Rudolph ’11, Dan Gelfer ’11, Olivia Hitchcock ’11, and Milana Bochkur Dratver ’14 competed for the team, while Itay Gelfer ’13 and Marc Pakravan ’14 assisted the team prior to the competition.

Science Bowl 2To prepare for the competition, the students met for practice sessions in the weeks leading up to the event with Mr. Gerald Loomer, assistant to MAST. The practice sessions allowed the team to practice sample questions with the buzzer-format.

The main focus of the competition is to test and challenge students’ knowledge in the areas of astronomy, chemistry, earth science, mathematics, and physics; as well as encourage them to excel in math and science fields.

“Science Bowl has to be a team project since the questions are from various areas. The team is better because each member adds their own expertise in answering questions from all over the spectrum,” Loomer said.

The Science Bowl, which took place at downtown Los Angeles’ LADWP’s John Ferraro Building, was divided into six divisions with five teams in each division. The teams with the most wins proceeded to the second round. The competition was comprised of a TV game show-style with fast paced question-and-answers similar to Jeopardy. Each student specialized in different topics, but the whole team helped with the biology, earth science, and astronomy questions. For the first time, energy was included as a category in the competition.

While Milken’s team did not make it to the second round, the students had the opportunity to participate in the Franklin-Lu Hands-On competition, which included naming chemical compounds and creating an airplane out of a bag of random materials.

“I really enjoyed the Science Bowl competition a lot more than I would have ever expected to enjoy a science-based competition,” Gelfer said. “What I thought was really cool about it is that I got to extract all the knowledge I got from Mr. Ahad’s physics class and all the science courses I have taken at Milken, while at the same time knocking down questions in order to beat my opponents in this fast-paced competition.”

Although the team did not proceed past the first round of the competition, members of the Science Bowl club are still planning on participating and excelling in the competition next year and are welcoming new members.

North Hollywood High School Team A, the winning team, will travel to Washington, D.C. for the national competition, along with other regional titleholders from California and across America. College scholarships will be awarded to the winning students.