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Regional Physics Olympics to be held in UNI-Dome March 6

February 26, 2003

Larry Escalada, UNI assistant professor of physics and science education, (319) 273-2431
Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa Department of Physics will host the UNI/Area Education Agency-7 Regional Physics Olympics in the UNI-Dome, from 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, March 6.

Participating will be approximately 250 high school and middle school/junior high students from Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Dike, New Hartford, Jesup, Traer, Gilbertville, Gladbrook, Reinbeck, Dunkerton, Nashua, Plainfield, La Porte City, Dysart, Winthrop, Fairbank, Readlyn, Janesville, Sumner and other nearby areas.

According to Larry Escalada, UNI assistant professor of physics and science education, and the event coordinator, the contest features several events for which students work in teams to construct a self-propelled catapult, build a mouse-trap car, construct a toothpick bridge, develop a soda straw arm and make a human-powered water heater. All of these devices are to be constructed within given guidelines to complete desired tasks that test their understanding of physics principles.

The two school teams with the highest total scores will qualify for the state competition at the Drake University Olmsted Center in Des Moines on April 9. In addition, event team winners from non-team winning schools also will be invited to the state competition.