Science Olympiad Comes to Princeton University

Feb. 10, 2017

On Saturday, Feb. 4, Princeton University hosted its inaugural Science Olympiad invitational tournament.

Science Olympiad is a national team competition for students in sixth to 12th grade that features 23 competition events each year, ranging from paper tests on subjects such as microbiology and optics, to laboratory practicals involving forensic science, and engineering events in which students test devices such as rubber-band propelled helicopters built prior to competition day.

Nearly 600 high school students from highly ranked teams across the country competed in the all-day event, which took place in McDonnell Hall, Jadwin Hall, Lewis Library, Friend Center, Guyot Hall, Lewis Thomas Laboratory, McCosh Hall and East Pyne. All competition events were run by Princeton University undergraduates and assisted by nearly 100 additional undergraduate volunteers from over 15 different academic departments, and several members of Transportation & Parking Services as well as the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

Led by co-directors David Fan ’19 and Edison Lee ’19, Princeton University Science Olympiad hopes to inspire high school students to continue pursuing their academic interests at a high level outside the classroom by providing a competitive and well-run invitational tournament. As David Fan explains, “There are so many students on campus who competed in Science Olympiad at the highest levels possible in high school, and we wanted to leverage that wealth of talent and experience into making the best tournament possible. We all really enjoyed competing in middle school and high school, and wanted to expose more students to the joy that is problem-solving.” 

Princeton Science Olympiad TestScience Olympiad Princeton 2017

Preparations for the tournament started in August, and Princeton University Science Olympiad received financial support from the following academic centers on campus: the Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials, Andlinger Center, Office of the Vice-President for Campus Life, and the Department of Physics, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Computer Science, Astrophysical Sciences, Chemistry, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Geosciences. 

The event received administrative help from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Conference Services as well as the Department of Molecular Biology.

In running this inaugural invitational tournament, Princeton University joins peer institutions MIT, Yale and Cornell, which host three of the nation’s best Science Olympiad tournaments each year. Princeton University Science Olympiad hopes that this tournament will become a Princeton tradition as well as a favorite among high schools across the country.

For more information on the tournament, visit

Ed. Note: Princeton Environmental Health and Safety volunteers on Feb. 4 were Robin Izzo, Kyle Angjelo, Joan Hutzly, Caitlin Root and Thom Hutzly. EHS is proud to have played a role in helping this student-planned and directed event run smoothly and safely. 

Source: Press Release