Scranton hosts high school physics competition

Published: April 21, 2016

AQUINAS PHOTO/ VU NGUYEN / THE KANE competition is an annual science competition hosted by The University’s physics and engineering department. It is open to high school students in the surrounding area.

AQUINAS PHOTO/ VU NGUYEN / THE KANE competition is an annual science competition hosted by The University’s physics and engineering department. It is open to high school students in the surrounding area.

JOSEPH DELMAR
Correspondent

Students from 15 area high schools comprising 28 teams gathered for the annual Kane competition put on by the physics and engineering department.

The theme for this year was “Mythbusters.” Students began their day with a 25-minute, 25-question quiz. The highest scoring individual who had committed to The University received a scholarship for his achievement. The three highest overall scoring students would go on to play Physics Jeopardy hosted by Peter Kulick for gift cards to the bookstores of their respective colleges.

Following the quiz, the teams were broken into three groups to do the rest of the events for the day. One event, “A Farewell to Bullets,” provided students with the opportunity to calculate the terminal velocity of ball bearings in fluids of two different viscosities. Another event, “The Balloon Also Rises,” gave the students the chance to interact with a balloon acting similarly to a rocket. Students also got a taste of The University’s electrical engineering with the circuit event, “The Circuit Strikes Back.”

Students were given the components and diagram for a safety circuit that they had to construct. For all the events, students were given a packet to answer questions regarding information relevant to that event and real world applications of skills applied in the event.

After students completed all three of these events, they were gathered back together for lunch and the media event. This year’s media event dealt with a myth actually performed on the show “Mythbusters” involving the intertwining of pages of books. The students were provided with Post-it pads, marble notebooks and three-ring binders containing loose leaf. They were then given the opportunity to test which of these works the best. Due to friction between pages and tension from the bindings, it is nearly impossible to pull these things straight apart (though flipping them vertically or pulling them diagonally makes the task much less Herculean). The teams then watched a tug of war demonstration with two teams each made up of three teachers from the schools. Ropes were attached to two intertwined phonebooks. The green team quickly dispatched the pink team and the apparatus to dump confetti on the losers was activated. Unfortunately, due to a delay the confetti was not immediately dumped and ended up covering Declan Mulhall, Ph.D.

At the end of the day, two teams from North Pocono took first and second, while third place was taken by a team from Wyoming Area. Thanks to Nicholas Truncale, Ph.D., Mulhall, Majid Mokhtari, and the entire physics/EE dept., this year’s Kane competition was a success. Thanks to a generous donation from Ed Hayes, Class of 1961, the competition is being renamed “The Hayes Family Science Competition” and will continue for years to come.

Contact the writer: joseph.delmar@scranton.edu

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