Putz said the competition, conceived in 1985, aims to celebrate scientific achievement by youth at “a level of enthusiasm usually reserved for athletics.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Carolyn Martin agreed.
“It is beautiful to see what athletes can do with their bodies,” Martin said. “It’s just as important and just as beautiful to see what we can achieve with our minds.”
The opening ceremony included science experiments performed by Bassam Shakhashiri, a chemistry professor at UW-Madison, and physics professor J. Clint Sprott.
Shakhashiri kicked off the event by exploding a balloon filled with hydrogen, and continued the antics by blowing the tops off of plastic bottles. He touched them off with a hand-held Tesla coil, and set them off in sequence while a band played Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”
The day’s earlier activities were in sharp contrast to the loud and boisterous ceremony. Students quietly prepped for their events, some studying for hours at a time.
To read more of this story, see today's print edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.
The results of Saturday's competition will be posted here late Saturday or early Sunday, and published in Monday's Grand Haven Tribune.