Science Bowl brings out a passion for the what and the why

The Science Infinity Club of Bellevue took first place at the Bonneville Power Administration
The Science Infinity Club of Bellevue took first place at the Bonneville Power Administration's regional Science Bowl at the University of Portland. They are, from left, coach Renuka Vallarapu, Neha Nagvekar, Dhruvik Parikh, Veenadhari Kollipara, Sagarika Samavedi and Rahul Chaliparambil.
— image credit: Courtesy of Bonneville Power Administration

Science Infinity Club took first place at the Bonneville Power Administration Regional Science Bowl in Oregon. The team will move on to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl in April, along with the second-placing Stoller Middle School team from Beaverton, Ore.

“I was very happy,” Infinity teammate and Odle Middle School student Sagarika Samavedi said of the win. “I’m excited to see Washington, D.C. … I want to see the White House and some of the other monuments there.”

Though Science Infinity is a Bellevue-based club, Samavedi is actually the only Bellevue-area student of the five teammates in the scientific quiz contest. Dhruvik Parikh attends Gateway Middle in Everett, Neha Nagvekar attends Redmond Middle, Rahul Chaliparambil attends Chief Kanim Middle in Redmond and Veenadhari Kollipara attends the online iQ Academy.

The team practices daily via Skype and holds daylong sessions and outings weekly. On Feb. 15, four of them visited the Microsoft campus to sit in on a seminar regarding science and engineering projects, presented by engineer Suresh Chunduru and his children.

“It was basically about the science fair and the International Science Fair,” Nagvekar said.

“But we’re here to keep in touch with other aspects of the sciences, even if science fair isn’t the same as Science Bowl,” Kollipara said.

Infinity, and other Science Bowl competitors, are tasked with memorizing the trivia and minutiae of the wide world of the sciences and training themselves for rapid recall. The format of Science Bowl is much like a buzzer-based quiz show: teams compete to answer questions in chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, energy, and earth and space sciences faster than their competitors.

The four Infinity teammates at Microsoft confirmed unanimously that they had begun competing under the urging of their parents, but each said they have developed a passion for the subject matter.

“Science is a really big part of the future,” Chaliparambal said.

“And as you learn more about it…,” Kollipara began. “It’s like this: Once you start learning about the cell, you might memorize the different parts of the cell first, but then you learn how they interact with each other. There’s not just a what, there’s a why.”


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