Science Bowl

Anything that's on topic but doesn't fit elsewhere, including related events that might be of interest to quizbowl players.
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needhamquizteam
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Science Bowl

Post by needhamquizteam » Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:02 pm

Are there any Science Bowl Competitions in the New England Area?
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Re: Science Bowl

Post by Milhouse » Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:50 pm

The Science Bowl website says so.

That being said, Science Bowl is a horrible, relentlessly bureaucratic organization that cares more about the Department of Energy's ego than providing meaningful competition and I highly advise you to have nothing to do with it. I think I share this view with most people on this board.
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Re: Science Bowl

Post by Halved Xenon Stinging » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:44 pm

Science bowl does a much better job than quiz bowl of testing for actual intelligence (aside from guesses on the multiple choice questions); that being said, the format of the questions in Science Bowl is pretty horrible.
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Re: Science Bowl

Post by vinteuil » Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:06 pm

Halved Xenon Stinging wrote:Science bowl does a much better job than quiz bowl of testing for actual intelligence.
I don't think agree with this at all (guessing on multiple choice and the exact wording rule!), but I do still agree with most of what Will and I said in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13889&p=254626#p254593 . Quizbowl has also seen a lot more of the "science bowl short-answer" kind of bonus parts recently, which helps a lot—but tossups are still harder to make as "real" as non-pyramidal Science Bowl questions.
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Re: Science Bowl

Post by hydrocephalitic listlessness » Mon Nov 23, 2015 11:32 pm

I also still stand by what I wrote in that thread—if you're interested in science, taking AP science courses, and can bring yourself to overlook the stupid format quirks, Science Bowl is an intellectually rewarding activity. I'd encourage you to give it a try!
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Re: Science Bowl

Post by Santa Claus » Tue Nov 24, 2015 6:14 pm

As someone who also did both Science Bowl and Ocean Sciences Bowl, I got some thoughts on this particular matter.

Science Bowl is indeed cool beans when it comes to testing some more hands-on applications of knowledge you learn in science classes and in studying for Quiz Bowl. I had a lot of fun every year with going to our local competition at JPL, and the content was indeed something that felt akin to what I learned in my AP classes. It's a great way to get practice VSEPR structures, or periodic trends, or the relative moment of inertia of various solids. The problem is, this is something that really only applies to the regional level competition. Once you go onto nationals, it loses a lot of its inherent strengths: it shifts to being as focused on rote memorization as Quiz Bowl is, and it suddenly becomes outstandingly, unreasonably difficult for the general audience. I went to nationals last year with a member of the national team for Chemistry Olympiad and still got many more questions on chemistry than he did, because while he was learning actually important things I was stock-clueing it up for HSNCT. The rounds that ended up knocking us out were single line questions with the answers triphenylphosphine (in the context of the Mitsunobu reaction) and phenylketonuria, and some memorable questions asked throughout the competition included naming the variables in the Lawson criterion (for fusion), noted Science Bowl favorite Betz' law (for wind turbines), the Z0 boson (asking for the particle discovered in the Gargamelle bubble chamber), and a question on Holliday junctions. Some of these are outliers, but in general they weren't: I still remember the middle school final asking for the Tevatron, and the high school final asking to give the name Peano's axioms. All that being said, if you approach it as a warm-up to Quiz Bowl science, it's a lot of fun, because you get to transition from high school level stuff to a lot of the harder stuff that (hopefully) you'd have encountered studying to be really good at high school or even college science, while everyone else is left bewildered by the sudden jump in difficulty, but it's pretty ridiculous otherwise.

Ocean Sciences Bowl is somehow even less consistent than Science Bowl, but I don't really fault it that much because I always thought of it more as outreach for the NOAA and Ocean Leadership than anything else. It does that job really well, since I know a lot more about the science and history of the oceans than I would of if I had never competed: thanks to them, I can name all the species of sea turtle, the six major constituents of sea water, the five layers of the open ocean, and some pretty in-depth information on the effect of changing atmospheric CO2 levels on the success of diatoms. Sure, its questions aren't great, but hey, that's what happens when you try to write tossups on a single, relatively minor, field of science. This one is fun but really a lot more on the wayside than Science Bowl, since you have to go out of your way to obtain the knowledge for competition (though, as added incentive to get really good, they give out free trips to the top 2 teams at nationals and various technology-based prizes or just straight up money for 3rd-8th place).

Obviously both their formats are bad, but I mean I don't think I need to talk about why pyramidal tossups are better than multiple choice. For the very specific type of questions they use, I think it works for them, but w/e.
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Re: Science Bowl

Post by needhamquizteam » Tue Dec 01, 2015 12:43 am

So are you guys suggesting a yes or no, to do Science Bowl
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Re: Science Bowl

Post by Santa Claus » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:32 pm

needhamquizteam wrote:So are you guys suggesting a yes or no, to do Science Bowl
Yes, with a grain of salt. It is fun as a science exercise, but try not to get too invested in what is inherently a not-so-great format. Just spend your time studying for Quiz Bowl and your AP's and you'll be fine.

(Important thing though: if you want to do well, you need to get someone good at doing math quickly, since that's big. Or you could practice for HSNCT comp math)
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