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Clarkson hosting Regional Science Olympiad on Saturday

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POTSDAM - Elastic airplane gliders, robots, and a host of science-oriented high school students will soon converge on Clarkson University for the day.

Clarkson will once again host the Adirondack Regional Science Olympiad on Saturday.

Eleven teams from eight schools will compete in 20 different events. Local competitors include Madrid-Waddington and Potsdam high schools. Teams will also travel from as far away as Plattsburgh, Lake Placid and Carthage for the event.

The top two teams, plus a specially selected bonus team, will advance to the New York State Science Olympiad at Monroe-Woodbury High School in Central Valley, about an hour north of New York City.

The Olympiad, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will include a series of academic competitions in in astronomy, geology, entomology, and chemistry, as well design challenges.

The public is invited to attend a series of building competitions in the afternoon.

The elastic glider competition from noon to 1 p.m. and 1 to 2 p.m. in the Student Center Forum will have students flying model airplanes to determine who can keep theirs aloft the longest.

The “mag lev” competition from 1 to 2 and 2 to 3 p.m. in Science Center 160 will determine which team can power a vehicle the furthest along a magnetic track.

The “boomilever” competition from 2 to 3 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. in Science Center 360 will require students to design and build the lightest cantilevered wooden structure which will support a 15 kg load.

The Olympiad inspires high school students to consider a career in the science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) fields, according to Clarkson Assistant Professor of Physics Michael Ramsdell, the event organizer. Several Clarkson students who once participated in the Olympiad as high school students now volunteer at the event, Ramsdell said.

“Science Olympiad inspires interest in the STEM disciplines through problem solving, hands-on design projects and rigorous academic research,” Ramsdell said. “High school students experience the kind of teamwork and collaboration that is required in the workplace.”

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