Hovercraft

Q: If I found a commercially available product containing a brushless motor attached to a fan, must it be labeled as a "cooling fan" to be legal? (section: 4/ paragraph:  i/ sub-paragraph:  / line:1 )

A: No. As long as it is a fan typically used for cooling electronics or computers it does not need to be labeled as such.

Q: Can commercially available rechargeable battery packs that are labeled <= 9.0 V be used as a power source. (section: 4/ paragraph:  4/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Yes.

Towers

Q: If the tower breaks or is damaged in any way while still being able to "carry the additional load" of sand without any "additional support from anything other than the tower," will the event supervisor(s) stop the flow of sand into the bucket? (section: 5/ paragraph:  b/ sub-paragraph:  / line:2-4 )

A: No, loading only stops when a failure occurs or when time expires. Failure is defined as the inability of the Tower to carry any additional load, or if any part of the load is supported by anything other than the Tower.

Q: Bonus points...the Tower to span a 29 cm diameter circle. If the base is a square, does the 29 cm situate outside the square touching the 4 corners or can the 29 cm circle be inside the square base but the circumference are touching the part of the 4 sides. In essence, the square is outside the 29 cm circle or the square is required to be inside the 29cm circle? (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 3)

A: No part of the tower may touch or be supported within the 29 cm circle.

Q: "...Tower must span a 20 cm x 20 cm opening..." mean that no part of the tower may touch or be supported within the 20 cm x 20 cm opening? (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Yes, this is correct.

Q: Is it allowed for our tower base to be less than 20cm by 20cm but still be able to span the opening of the test base? Or is the minimum dimensions for the tower base 20cm by 20cm? (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Thank you for your question. We have just answered and posted a similar question to yours below on the State web page. Please visit: Please check http://socalscioly.org/?tab=event&page=allclarifications to see a list of clarifications.

Rocks and Minerals

Q: Are they allowed to bring in a (one) Rocks & Mineral Field Guide that they may tab? We thought that in the past, with field guide events, they were allowed to bring in both the 3-ring binder and one (1) field guide. We just need clarification as the rules manual says it does not allow one field guide.    (section: 2/ paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: No, field guides are not allowed this year.

Food Science

Q: Will the solutions, i.e. Biuret and Benedict's, be provided for students by the event supervisors or will students be required to bring it themselves?  (section: 2/ paragraph:  b/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Please see rule 2.a. on what the students are allowed to bring.

Q: What form will the grains for chemical testing be provided in, i.e. powdered, crushed, whole, etc.? (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 2)

A: Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, questions regarding what exactly to expect on the test will not be answered.

Q: Will Sudan stains or dyes be allowed, as they are more accurate than a brown paper bag?  (section: 3/ paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: 6)

A: No, students may only bring items listed in Rule 2.a.

Q: Will the five pages of notes be collected to grade the calorimeter data?  (section: 2/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 3)

A: No, Part 2, the calorimeter device part of this event will not be conducted.

Q: How much data is required for the calorimeter calibration included in the 5 pages of notes? (section: 2/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 3)

A: Since this part of the event isn't going to take place, we will not be answering this question. Thank you.

Q: Will students be required to bring their calorimeter to the competition for grading purposes? (section: 3/ paragraph:  b/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Since this part of the event isn't going to take place, we will not be answering this question. Thank you.

Q: Will the tests using the solutions be limited to the grains or will it be on any substance?  (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 5)

A: Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, questions regarding what exactly to expect on the test will not be answered.

Q: What does "any seed" mean? (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 2)

A: Definition of seed. : a small object produced by a plant from which a new plant can grow This requires the knowledge that NO part of the fruit may be used because over time it can become rotten and students should not be exposed or working with this part in any capacity. Therefore, it is truly the smallest component from which a new plant can grow.

Q: For the nutritional labeling questions, should students be using the 4cal/g for proteins and carbs and 9cal/g for lipids? Or should they use 4.1cal/g for carbs, 9.5cal/g lipids, 5.7cal/g for protein? This second set of numbers was used in the key at summer institute, but most coaches I have spoken to use the first set. Please clarify. (section: 4/ paragraph:  1/ sub-paragraph:  i/ line: 1)

A: Questions regarding how to coach the event will not be answered.

Q: So the experimental part will not include the energy of a food product but will there be other parts with experimental pieces? (section: 2,3/ paragraph:  a,b/ sub-paragraph: i., ii, iv., v., vi, vii/ line: 3,1)

A: Only the student built nonelectric calorimeter in 3.b. will not be included. Students are still responsible for other experimental tasks in other parts of the rules.

Fast Facts

Q: Will phrases like "Law of Thermodynamics" be counted under the letter L as the first letter or T?  (section: 3/ paragraph:  f/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: It depends on the category. If the category is "law of physics" then the first letter would be T, otherwise, it would typically be L.

Q: If the topic was Glaciers, and students want to say Franz Josef Glacier, would they put this for F or J? (section: 3/ paragraph:  f/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 3)

A: The answer provided would not work for this category because rule 3.e. states that names of the categories must not be used in the answer.

Q: Will points be given if certain letters (J, Q, Z, etc.) in specific categories do not have a definite answer? (section: 3/ paragraph:  i/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 3,4)

A: No, points are only given if a correct response is provided by the team.

Q: When supervisors create grids for competition, must they ensure there is a valid entry for each letter/category combination? In other words, may a grid be created where one cell doesn't have a known valid answer? (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 2,4)

A: No, supervisors do not have to ensure there is a valid entry for each letter/category combination. Yes, a grid may be created where one cell doesn't have a known valid answer.

Q: In our answers must our terms be scientific or can we also say common known names or nicknames? Such as would you accept flu instead of influenza? (section: 3/ paragraph:  b/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: It depends on how the category is phrased. If it does not specifically ask for scientific name then either are correct. Rule 3.g prevents students from using different forms of the same term apply. So if the letters in the grid were "f" and "i" the student would only get credit for either flu or influenza, but not both.

Q: Are elemental symbols considered to be abbreviations? For example, could Na be a valid answer for an element beginning with the letter N or must "sodium" be used? (section: 3/ paragraph:  i/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 4,5)

A: It depends on the description of the category. If the category was "name of element" then the atomic symbol could not be used. If it was "nuclear (atomic) symbol" then the name could not be used. However, if the category was "element" or "chemical element" the student could use either the name of the element or the nuclear (atomic) symbol. Please note that if the category was "name of chemical compound" and the letters were "N" and "S" the student could not use "NaCl" and "sodium chloride" as both terms are different forms for the same substance. (rule 3.g)

Q: If a category requires the name of an organism to be given, should scientific or common name be used? Example: If the category was "Invasive Species", would you write Zebra Mussel or Dreissena polymorpha? (section: / paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: )

A: It depends on the category description. If it said "Invasive Species" then either the common or scientific name would be acceptable. Please note if the answer has more than one word, the first letter of the 1st word is used (rule 3.f). Rule 3.g. also allows students to get credit for only one form of a response.

Q: If a famous person is generally known by only one name "Archimedes" or "Galileo", can students use the name? (section: 3/ paragraph:  h/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: No, per section 3.h. "If the category asks for the name of a person, both the given (first) and surname (last) of a person must be written. Archimedes' full name is Archimedes of Syracuse and Galileo's full name is Galileo Galilei.

Ecology

Q: "Simpson Index" can be loosely applied to 3 different values (and calculations) depending on the author/source: Simpson's Index, Simpson's Index of Diversity and Simpson's Reciprocal Index. This should be clarified. (section: 3/ paragraph:  b/ sub-paragraph:  iv/ line: 2)

A: Students should be familiar with all three. If used for the National competition the national supervisor will specify which is being used. We have chosen to define the Simpson index, p as the proportion (n/N) of individuals of one particular species found (n) divided by the total number of individuals found (N), Σ is still the sum of the calculations, and s is the number of species. This information can be found on the files distributed at coaches clinics and will also be on the SO website once the clinics are over.

Q:  Could you clarify what aspects "local and regional ecology" refers to, mainly, how will general ecological principles be applied to specific regions? (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  i/ line: 5)

A: Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, questions regarding what will be covered on a test or how to coach the event will not be answered.

Q: The rules state that the ecology test will be divided into 3 sections. Will these sections be separated and labeled as Parts 1-3? Or will the types of questions be integrated throughout the test? (section: 3/ paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, questions regarding what will be covered on a test, the format of the test, or how to coach the event will not be answered.

Crime Busters

National Rules Clarification: (section: / paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: ) 2.a.xi. should read: "Each team may bring five 8.5” x 11” sheets of paper (both sides) containing information in any form from any source (sheet protectors are permitted)."

Q: Please advise on best source and form of magnesium to order for metals tests. 12/8/16 received Magnesium turnings from Frey. Storage code RED- Safety sheet calls for no contact with water, moisture. Seems like significant safety hazard- please advise. (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  ii/ line: 1)

A: The magnesium ribbon we typically get is "Flammable Solid Category 1, Substance or mixture which in contact with water emits flammable gas Category 1"

Dealing with Schedule Conflicts

Q: We have a conflict for one of our students who is competing in one event and a different event at the same time. For our school they are both scheduled for the same time slot. Is it possible to change one slot for an earlier slot? (section: / paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: )

A: No This is the biggest challenge for everyone and it is part of the competition. There are no exceptions made for conflict challenges in the schedule.

There is important rationale involving the logistics of the day and the number of teams participating at any given time, but the important answer is that the schedule is firm and teams must participate at their assigned time. Teams with greater depth (more students prepared for more events) have an advantage, which is part of the overall competition.

You might ask, "what if I can find another school that will switch with me?" The response remains "no." Sometimes switching can create problems in scoring, especially if there is a question related to the team's results or exam. The schedule is firm.

Fast Facts

Q:  Will phrases like "Law of Thermodynamics" be counted under the letter L as the first letter or T? (section: 3/ paragraph:  f/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: It depends on the category. If the category is "law of physics" then the first letter would be T, otherwise, it would typically be L.

Q:  When supervisors create grids for competition, must they ensure there is a valid entry for each letter/category combination? In other words, may a grid be created where one cell doesn't have a known valid answer? (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: No, supervisors do not have to ensure there is a valid entry for each letter/category combination. Yes, a grid may be created where one cell doesn't have a known valid answer.

Q: Will points be given if certain letters (J, Q, Z, etc.) in specific categories do not have a definite answer?  (section: 3/ paragraph:  i/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 2,4)

A: No, points are only given if a correct response is provided by the team.

Mission Possible

National Rule Clarification: Section 4, Paragraph d, Subparagraph i. should say “… See 5.l. for additional Levers Bonus.”

Q: Regarding Inclined Planes it States "Raised vertically at least 10.0 cm". Does that mean raised 90 degrees from the ground or just 10.0 cm in an upward direction along the Inclined Plane? (section: 4/ paragraph:  s/ sub-paragraph:  iii/ line:2 )

A: An inclined plane must be used to raise an object at least 10.0 cm vertically. The vertical distance is measured at a 90 degree angle and must be at least 10.0 cm. The object does not have to travel at a 90 degree angle but overall must rise 10.0 cm vertically above where it started before the object initiates the next action.

Mission Possible

Q:Wheel & Axle: Is the 10 cm Vertical height or distance that object is pulled by wheel and axle?  (section: 4/ paragraph: d/ sub-paragraph: vi / line:2 )

A: The Wheel & Axle must lift an object at least 10.0 cm vertically. The vertical distance is measured at a 90 degree angle and must be at least 10.0 cm. The object does not have to travel at a 90 degree angle but overall must rise 10.0 cm vertically above where it started before the object initiates the next action.

Q: States "lift an object at least 10.0 cm vertically". Does that mean it must be lifted at 90 degrees from the starting point or just moved in an upwards angle at least 10.0 cms?  (section: 4/ paragraph:  2/ sub-paragraph:  ii/ line:1 )

A: The pulley must lift an object at least 10.0 cm. The vertical distance is measured at a 90 degree angle and must be at least 10.0 cm. The object does not have to travel at a 90 degree angle but overall must rise 10.0 cm vertically above where it started before the object initiates the next action.

Food Science

Q: So the experimental part will not include the energy of a food product but will there be other parts with experimental pieces? (section: 2,3/ paragraph:  a,b/ sub-paragraph:  i., ii, iv., v., vi, vii., / line: 3,1)

A: Only the student built nonelectric calorimeter in 3.b. will not be included. Students are still responsible for other experimental tasks in other parts of the rules.

Q: What does "any seed" mean?  (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 2)

A: Definition of seed. : a small object produced by a plant from which a new plant can grow This requires the knowledge that NO part of the fruit may be used because over time it can become rotten and students should not be exposed or working with this part in any capacity. Therefore, it is truly the smallest component from which a new plant can grow.

Q: For the nutritional labeling questions, should students be using the 4cal/g for proteins and carbs and 9cal/g for lipids? Or should they use 4.1cal/g for carbs, 9.5cal/g lipids, 5.7cal/g for protein? This second set of numbers was used in the key at summer institute, but most coaches I have spoken to use the first set. Please clarify. (section: 4/ paragraph:  1/ sub-paragraph: i / line:1 )

A: Questions regarding how to coach the event will not be answered.

Fast Facts

Q: Are you allowed to use two of the same words for a different category? (ie. Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics for the category "Physics" and "Statistical Mechanics" under the letter Z). (section: 3/ paragraph:  g/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 2)

A: Yes, the same answer can receive credit if they're for different categories.

Q: If a famous person is generally known by only one name "Archimedes" or "Galileo", can students use the name?  (section: 3/ paragraph:  h/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: No, per section 3.h. "If the category asks for the name of a person, both the given (first) and surname (last) of a person must be written. Archimedes' full name is Archimedes of Syracuse and Galileo's full name is Galileo Galilei.

Q: If a category requires the name of an organism to be given, should scientific or common name be used? Example: If the category was "Invasive Species", would you write Zebra Mussel or Dreissena polymorpha?  (section: / paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line:2 )

A: It depends on the category description. If it said "Invasive Species" then either the common or scientific name would be acceptable. Please note if the answer has more than one word, the first letter of the 1st word is used (rule 3.f). Rule 3.g. also allows students to get credit for only one form of a response.

Q:  Are elemental symbols considered to be abbreviations? For example, could Na be a valid answer for an element beginning with the letter N or must "sodium" be used? (section: 3/ paragraph:  i/ sub-paragraph:  / line: )

A: It depends on the description of the category. If the category was "name of element" then the atomic symbol could not be used. If it was "nuclear (atomic) symbol" then the name could not be used. However, if the category was "element" or "chemical element" the student could use either the name of the element or the nuclear (atomic) symbol. Please note that if the category was "name of chemical compound" and the letters were "N" and "S" the student could not use "NaCl" and "sodium chloride" as both terms are different forms for the same substance. (rule 3.g)

Q: In our answers must our terms be scientific or can we also say common known names or nicknames? Such as would you accept flu instead of influenza? (section: 3/ paragraph:  b/ sub-paragraph:  / line:4,5 )

A: It depends on how the category is phrased. If it does not specifically ask for scientific name then either are correct. Rule 3.g prevents students from using different forms of the same term apply. So if the letters in the grid were "f" and "i" the student would only get credit for either flu or influenza, but not both.

Hovercraft

Q: We can not find any motor controller that is not built with some kind of integrated circuit. Even the one that was provided to my child by his science Olympiad advisory has a small integrated circuit. Additional guidance is needed with regard to acceptable motor controllers.  We need resources for vendors that sell motors w/o integrated circuits.  If kids are expected to build their own board then they would need resources where they can get diagrams of motor controllers w/o integrated circuits that can handle the required volts and amps.  (section: 4/ paragraph: l / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Note there is an official rules clarification related to this, available at: https://www.soinc.org/official_rules_clarif : "Brushless motors and integrated circuits are not permitted, unless they are an integral part of and are imbedded into a commerically available electronic or computer cooling fan."

Q: What modifications are allowed to be made to the hovercraft during impound and eight minutes of vehicle testing?  (section: 5/ paragraph: i / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Per General Rule 1, Actions and items (e.g., tools, notes, resources, supplies, electronics, etc.) are permitted, unless they are explicitly excluded in the rules, are unsafe, or violate the spirit of the problem.