What are the games like?
The game format is regular college bowl style: a toss-up question is read to the two competing teams, and the first player to ring his/her buzzer gets to answer. Quick recall wins the day! If the given answer is right, that team earns 10 points and gets first shot at the bonus question, which is usually a multi-part question on which the team members can confer before the designated captain gives the team's answers. If the initial toss-up answer is incorrect, the individual members of the opposing team get a chance to ring in and give an answer, followed by bonus question, and so on.
If the first team to try a bonus question is incorrect on all or part of the question, the other team may answer (so both teams should be conferring after the bonus question is read). Teams may ask for a question to be repeated once or to have a key term spelled (unless the question is how to spell the key term). Each game lasts about half an hour.
The tournament is double-elimination, see the tournament grid for details. As this is a friendly competition, we have no formal time limits or strict rules about interrupts, etc.
What are the questions like?
Topics covered are mostly science, with some general knowledge questions thrown in for variety. To win the short questions, you'll need to be quick at ringing your buzzer; then your team will figure out the multi-part bonus questions together.
Toss-up Question (10 points):
PET scans use isotope 11 of this element, while isotope 14 is used to determine the age of organic materials. Name this element, whose isotope 12 helps form the standard definition of a gram.
Bonus Question (30 points):
- Position is given in terms of a distance and an angle relative to the x axis. Name this type of coordinate system.
[answer: polar coordinates]
- Adding a third coordinate, the height z above or below the polar coordinate plane, yields this three-dimensional system.
[answer: cylindrical polar coordinates]
- This other coordinate system uses a distance and two angles, both measured from the x axis but in perpendicular planes, to locate a point in three dimensions.
[answer: spherical coordinates]