Science Olympiad Nationals

The National Science Olympiad competition is held in May at a different university in a different state every year. Teams either stay in student dorms or nearby hotels.

The competition officially begins on the day (a Friday) before Saturday's competition with opening ceremonies. Usually a notable speaker, such as a Nobel Laureate, will give a speech. Following this is the traditional Swap Meet, when all the teams bring bags of state memorabilia to trade with other teams from all over the country. Most popular items include hats, license plates, and t-shirts.

Saturday includes seven time blocks. Each block includes a 50-minute section for each study event, while building events are usually "walk-in," where competitors sign up for a time slot.

That night, a semi-formal Awards Ceremony is held. It opens with a short speech, which is followed by the awarding of medals for the top six teams in each event, including trial events (events that do not count to the overall team score). At the end, the top ten teams are awarded trophies.

In some national tournaments, scholarships are awarded to the top teams in each event. In 2005's competition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, first-place winners received waivers for a four-year undergraduate tuition. Extra prizes are also given out for certain events: in Disease Detectives (Division C), the first-place team is given t-shirts and a trip for the two competitors and their coach to tour the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention facility in Atlanta, Georgia.

For 2006, the national competition will be held at the University of Indiana at Bloomington. It will be followed by: 2007 - Wichita State University, 2008 - George Washington University, 2009 - Augusta State University.