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Hi!! I'm a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I enjoy physics and biology, but I also have background in various social sciences. My research interests include psychology and linguistics, but also acoustics. Despite my experience with physics events, I am still incredibly terrible at classical mechanics.

Science Olympiad is about people, not about winning! Indeed, science is about people, not winning, because science is the scaffolding of humanity—a skyscraper in ceaseless upward construction built to carry the common good of people. If you like helping people, so do I! So, if you'd like to talk about science or people or both, please don't hesitate to message me. (If you hesitate, you can still contact me anyways!)

Oh, and for those reading this for my credentials—I made it to states exactly once; I've been to nationals exactly once; I was the only senior member in my year to medal in nothing at nationals; and I've only competed for two years. You know—the usual thoroughfare.

Indiana flag.gif
gz839918 competed for Carmel High School.

Division D

Some of the things I've volunteered for 
Season Purpose Location Date Role
2019-20 Carmel High School tryouts Carmel, IN October 1-5, 2019 Sounds of music C writer
North Carolina coaches’ clinic Raleigh, NC October 6, 2019 Sounds of music C volunteer
Orlando Science Schools Invitational C Orlando, FL November 23, 2019 Sounds of music C writer
Raymond Park Invitational Indianapolis, IN December 14, 2019 Sounds of music C supervisor
Duke Invitational Durham, NC January 18, 2020 Sounds of music C supervisor
Southern California Regional CA (South) It's a secret ;) Water quality B/C writer
Raleigh Regional Raleigh, NC February 1, 2020 Sounds of music C contributor
Southern Wake Regional Garner, NC March 7, 2020 Sounds of music C supervisor
Florida State Tournament Gainesville, FL Canceled Sounds of music C co-writer (with Riptide)
Other NC Regionals Various Various Sounds of music C contributor
North Carolina State Tournament Raleigh, NC Canceled Sounds of music C co-supervisor
National Tournament at NC State University Raleigh, NC Canceled General volunteer
Writer means I only wrote the test, but could not proctor it. Contributor means that I contributed test questions, but my role was not significant.

Most of the images and graphics I use in test questions are my own. You may consider any content that I made in a test to be public domain. Most images that I use in tests, but aren't my own, are already in the public domain anyways. If a test includes copyrighted content under fair use, I attribute the copyright holder to the best of my ability. (This has only happened once, for 2019-20 water quality.) If you don't know the copyright status of work used in my tests, ask me! I'm happy if the files sitting on my computer can be useful for somebody. Tests I've co-written are not necessarily fully in the public domain.


  • Carmel High School tryouts: for 16, the correct answer was not in (A) through (E), although the set of correct answers is in I through IV.
  • OSS Invitational C: question 31 should have also accepted the symbol in the answer key, not just the two stacked numbers.
  • Raymond Park: for 5, "greater" should replace "more" in choice (B). For 25, all choices with "and" should read "or" instead.
  • Duke University Science Olympiad: For 5, the order of the underlined quantities should be swapped above the choices. That is, the one on the left should be on the right, and vice versa. For 28, the question should read "hears" instead of "hear."

Errata in italics indicate that the digital copy of the test originally released to teams (typically via Google Drive, DropBox, or OneDrive) now points to a version with this error corrected.


Do FPOWs benefit from attending the NC State tournament?

In 2019, the average Div. C FPOW had a placement of 21.737 (= 1239 / 57)

Interestingly, this means that FPOWs on average perform better than the average state-qualifying team in North Carolina (= 25.5). I assume no-shows for teams will be ranked below last place down to 50th when calculating my average for state-qualifying teams. This is to simplify calculation, but it is not unreasonable to believe that teams unable to participate in an event due to lack of interest or membership would probably worse in that particular event than teams who did participate. "Unreasonable," though, doesn't mean correct.

It is likewise possible that FPOWs that do not opt to attend the state tournament will perform worse than the average state-qualifying team. However, the conclusion still remains true that of those who do compete, the FPOW program is valuable in offering a second opportunity to students who show promise in an event.

Average FPOW scores for past years:

Year Average Total non-FPOW teams at states in NC
2019 21.737 (= 1239 / 57) 50
2017 21.653 (= 2057 / 95) 49
2016 21.417 (= 2206 / 103) 46
2015 23.209 (= 1555 / 67) 48
2014 19.743 (= 1619 / 82) 48
2011 20.030 (= 1322 / 66) 39
2006 20.344 (= 590 / 29) 44

No-shows excluded in calculation of average; trial events included in average.

What is typically tested on a good circuit lab test?

Not everybody agrees on what makes a test high quality, nor do I believe all the tests listed below are high quality. It turns out that tests from well-regarded tournaments may differ notably. (Did you notice that one-fourth of points for the Princeton circuit lab test comes from recall questions?)

I struggled with op amps as a competitor, and after hearing from other students, it seems like two major stumbling points are op amps in addition to PN-junctions. If you want to practice these topics, the table can point you towards some tests that address these topics in particular.

All of these tests below are from the 2018-19 season (not 2019-20).

Test Points for MC/word bank/matching Recall (short ans.) Understanding (FRQ)1 Lab Points for op amps2 Points for PN-junctions2 Total points
Troy Invitational 8 3 89 82? (unclear) 3 85 182
Solon HS tryouts 0 16 84 N/A 4 8 100
Princeton 25 34 69 ? 10 20 128
Battle at Valley Forge 4 4 12 13 1 2 33
Rice 11 0 45 20 12 7 76
Mira Loma Invitational 11 2 27 10 2 18 50
Cerritos Invitational 10 5 10 6 0 3 31
Sylvania Northview Invitational 44 0 23 25 1 1 92
1. Math, explanations, descriptions, comparison, concepts. If a question could be answered from recall but probably wasn't supposed to be (for example, unlikely to be memorized), then I categorized it as an FRQ.
2. Including laboratory section

Do larger universities hold more teams per tournament?

Venue Rooms on campus Most teams hosted Typical room capacity
IU Bloomington 337 classrooms 120 teams (B/C), but usually 72 56.4 seats (point estimate)
MIT 158 classrooms 76 teams (C)
Wright State 122 classrooms 120 teams (B/C) 49.7 seats (average)
UW-Stout 90 classrooms (how!?) 120 teams (B/C) 38 seats (average)
University of Minnesota 539 classrooms 27 teams (B) 59.4 seats (average)
Harvard 450 classroooms 46 teams (C)
Princeton 228 classrooms 56 teams (C) 33.7 seats (point estimate)
The Ohio State University 328 classrooms 108 teams (B/C), but usually 80 54.6 seats (point estimate)
Texas A&M 213 classrooms 60 teams (B/C)
Bethel College 100 classrooms 33 teams (C) 36.0 seats (average)

Lounges, dining halls, non-lecture performance halls have been excluded if possible. Special department-only classrooms are included.

How do SciOly alumni create a web presence?

Organization Primary content delivery Domain Non-custom domain name Squarespace Custom .org Squarespace Custom .com Squarespace Custom .com In-house Custom .org Google Sites Custom .org Wix Custom .org In-house? Custom .com In-house? Custom .org Squarespace Custom .org Weebly Corporate domain, custom subdomain WordPress University domain, no subdomain N/A In-house, serverless with Jekyll University domain, custom subdomain WordPress University domain, custom subdomain WordPress University domain, custom subdomain Wix Corporate domain, custom subdomain .wixsite.com1 Squarespace Custom .org WordPress Corporate domain, custom subdomain Google Sites Corporate domain, no subdomain N/A Google Sites Corporate domain, no subdomain N/A Wix Corporate domain, custom subdomain .wixsite.com1 Weebly Custom .net WordPress Corporate domain, custom subdomain WordPress Custom .com WordPress University domain, no subdomain N/A WordPress University domain, no subdomain N/A In house, with WebPack University domain, custom subdomain

1. For reasons I can't understand, Wix sites under the domain give a 404 error when no path follows the ".com"; that is, typing in "" without the quotes doesn't work.