The Challenge is a contest between
teams which consist of students in 12th grade or lower (High
School or Middle School). The maximum team size in any given
round is five players, but teams can have up to ten players
total. High School Teams are limited to students through
grade 12, with a limit of two teams per school. Middle
School Teams are limited to students through grade 8, with a
limit of one team per school. (A second team from Middle
School team may be included on a space available basis,
please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request). Teams are
entered on a first-come, first-served basis until the event
capacity is reached, so it is best to register early.
Every contestant will receive a certificate and several
other gifts. The top finishing teams will also be treated
to dinner by one of three Nobel Laureates. For many years,
an Open Division for adults was included, but no longer.
The organizers wanted to make more spaces available to the
growing interest from local Middle and High Schools. The
first annual Science Trivia Challenge was held back in
2007, and was hosted by Ira Flatow of "Science Friday"
- The competition is broken into rounds of 10-20
questions each. Questions can be multiple-choice,
matching, short-answer, or multiple-answer format. Each
question is given a point value, with partial credit
awarded in some cases.
- All teams competing in a given round will be
positioned at a table on the stage, with a scorekeeper
for each team. When the moderator asks a question, the
scorekeepers will give each team an answer sheet with
the question printed on it and space for the team's
- After a question is read, all teams will have a short
amount of time to discuss the question, write down a
final answer on the answer sheet, and hand the sheet
back to the scorekeeper. After time has expired, the
moderator will read the correct answer(s) and the
scorekeepers will assign points accordingly.
- For the High School Division, there will be two
preliminary rounds with up to 9 teams in each. The
higher-scoring teams from each preliminary round will
meet in the Gold runoff round. The other teams will meet
in the Silver runoff round. The winners of these two
runoff rounds will win a Grand Prize. The Middle School
Division consists of a single round, with the winner
receiving a Grand Prize.
The following rules will apply to teams:
- A player can only be a member (or alternate) on one
team. Team composition can be changed prior to the start
of competition, but cannot be changed once competition
- For high school teams: There is a limit of five
players per team in any one round. Each team is allowed
to register with up to five alternates, but
substitutions can only be made between rounds of play.
- For middle school teams: Only five players may
participate at a time, but up to five alternates can
register. In the middle of the round, the Moderator will
provide an opportunity to make substitutions.
After January 1, 2020 register your team
HERE for the Science Trivia Challenge on the MIT
Alumni Association registration system. Space will be
filled on a first-come first-served basis.
The registration fee is $10 per team,
payable on-line via credit card. This
fee reduction from previous years is made possible by our
- 5:00 - 5:45 Team Check In and Reception
- 5:00 - 6:00 "Meet the Scientists" of the
- 6:05 - 6:25 High School Preliminary Round A
- 6:25 - 6:45 High School Preliminary Round B
- 6:45 - 7:00 Intermission
- 7:00 - 7:05 A Word from our Sponsor,
- 7:05 - 7:45 Middle School Division
- 7:45 - 8:00 Intermission
- 8:00 - 8:20 High School Division Silver
- 8:20 - 8:40 High School Division Gold Final
- 8:40 - 9:00 Awards and Closing Ceremony
Food and refreshments are provided courtesy of our
sponsor, Mathworks. Please contact email@example.com
with any questions.
Try these questions from past Science Trivia
(Note: To see some
additional questions, click here).
1. A fluid is considered "Newtonian" when its viscosity
is independent of its shear rate. All but one of the
substances below is a Non-Newtonian fluid. Which one is a
a) house paint
c) motor oil
Answer: c) motor oil.
2. Scientists have long been able to calculate the masses
of most planets, including Earth. It has taken longer to
measure the masses of Mercury and Venus, primarily because
these two planets lack what?
3. Match each of the following animals with the way they
consume their food:
3. Venomous spider
4. Whale shark
a) Grind in a gizzard
b) Chew, regurgitate, chew
d) Dissolve and slurp it up
f) Swallow whole
Answer: 1-b; 2-f; 3-d; 4-c; 5-a; 6-e.
4. A gallon of gasoline contains about 132 million joules
of energy. My iPhone has a 3.7 volt battery with a
fully-charged capacity of 1400 mAh (milliamp-hours).
Approximately how many times could I charge my phone with
the energy contained in one gallon of gasoline?
Answer: d) 7,000.
5. Match each of the following bathroom products with
their common ingredients:
4. Shaving cream
5. Drain cleaner
a) Isobutane (a propellant)
c) Sodium Monofluorophosphate (fluoride)
d) Aluminum chloride
e) Ammonium lauryl sulfate (a foaming agent)
Answer: 1-d; 2-c; 3-e; 4-a; 5-f; 6-b.
6. Match each of the following algorithms with what you
might use to find:
1. Dijkstra's algorithm
2. Euclid's algorithm
3. Ford-Fulkerson method
4. Shor's algorithm
5. Sieve of Eratosthenes
a) Factors (on a quantum computer)
b) Greatest common divisor
c) Maximum network flow
d) Prime numbers
e) Shortest path in a graph
Answer: 1-e; 2-b; 3-c; 4-a; 5-d.
7. Good news everybody - my grow-ray worked! Now each
cell in my body is the size of a pea (about 1 cm). Now I'm
as tall as:
a) A 3-story building
b) The Burj Khalifa
c) Mt. Everest
d) The orbit of the ISS
Answer: b) The Burj Khalifa.
If you would like to submit questions for the Science
Trivia Challenge, please submit them here: submit.