National Science Olympiad History

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The first Science Olympiad National Tournament was held in May 1985 at Michigan State University. However, two successful local Science Olympiad tournaments were held at Lawrence Institute of Technology (April 1983) and Oakland University (May 1984) before the competition, and tournaments similar to Science Olympiad were held even earlier.


There has been competition similar to Science Olympiad before the first tournament: Indiana University of Pennsylvania and St. Andrews Presbyterian College of North Carolina both held similar events. In 1977, representative from high schools, colleges and the state government created the event in the state of Delaware created the Delaware Science Olympiad, the first competition held at a state-wide level, to address concerns of waning student interest in science fairs. The competition had 12 competitive events, unlike the modern 23 events, but with a similar diversity of scientific topics. A total of 20 schools and 301 students participated in this competition.

Prompted by an article regarding the Delaware Science Olympiad, Dr. Gerard J Putz and John C. Cairns shared the Science Olympiad concept to Macomb County educators in March 29th, 1982. After two successful workshops, two successful tournaments were held at Southeastern Michigan, at Lawrence Institute of Technology (April 1983) and Oakland University (May 1984). The results of these early tournaments are displayed on the Michigan state page, as the 1983 and 1984 state tournaments.

First National Competition

The Science Olympiad program was presented at the National Science Teachers Association Conference in Boston in 1984, where the United States Army decided to sponsor the program after a National Leadership Seminar demonstrating high interest for the program. The first annual Science Olympiad competition was hosted by Michigan State University in May 1985. 17 states participated. The results may be seen in the National Results History page.

External Links History