Competitors to fan across Augusta

Eggs will be flying; junkyard machines will be rolling; and students from around the country will be competing this weekend in Augusta.


The National Science Olympiad officially kicks off today and will continue throughout the weekend at Augusta State University, the host of the event, and at neighboring schools and churches.

"We'll have buses here from all over the country," said Denise Moore, technology and operations manager for the ASU Department of Continuing Education and one of the event's steering committee members. "Between this and Thunder Over Augusta, if you don't have your hotel room yet, I don't know what you're going to do."

The science olympiad will have about 3,000 competitors but will attract about 5,000 people in all when coaches and family members are counted, Ms. Moore said.

The competition is the culmination of years of work. More than five years ago, Augusta State professor Bill Wellnitz submitted a proposal to play host to the olympiad, and a steering committee has been preparing for three years.

Ms. Moore said she has a few favorite events, including a couple involving 30 dozen eggs. In one, students create self-propelled vehicles to carry eggs in an effort to get the closest to a wall without breaking the egg. Another event will have eggs soaring skyward on bottle rockets.

"This is not your average science fair," she said. "They do the science, and most of it is done right in front of you. ... They are dealing with almost every aspect of the world."

Events will be in nearly all of the buildings at ASU, at James Brown Arena and in the gyms of St. Mary on the Hill Catholic School, Trinity-on-the-Hill United Methodist Church, Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church and Episcopal Day School.

Along with the competition, the science olympiad will feature exhibits from the Georgia Southern University Raptor Center, Medical College of Georgia's Center for Telehealth and Fort Discovery's mobile science center.

"Not enough of our middle school and high school kids stay interested in math and science, and this is one of those things that I really hope will get our young people excited," Ms. Moore said.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or


A complete schedule of events is listed at A glasses icon next to an event indicates that it is open to the public to observe.


A complete schedule of events is listed at A glasses icon next to an event indicates that it is open to the public.