Press release: April 18, 2010, Periodic Puzzles
The first Annual Periodic Puzzle competition (www.valdosta.edu/periodicpuzzles) took place for three weeks in March and attracted seventy-six entries in five divisions. Teams from Belize, Canada, China, Cuba, England, Russia and the United States entered the competition. Each group was mailed twenty-five complex puzzles that combined the same mathematical logic as Sudoku but required knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of over 100 elements. The project was launched after trips to Cuba in 2006 and 2009 that were sponsored by the American Chemical Society as well as Valdosta State University’s Center for International Programs and the chemistry department and the Florida Academy of Sciences. The 2010 contest is a prelude to 2011 competition which will correspond with the International Year of Chemistry (2011). And the winners place finishers by division are:
(1) The open division was led by the group “Just me” which was composed of Dr. Edine Heinig of Minnesota Rubber (Plymouth, MN), followed by Venable for Vestium an entry by Dr. T. Leon Venable, an Associate Professor at Agnes Scott College (Atlanta), next was SAMOT (Todo por la Ciencia) a group from Universidad Central "Marta Abreu" de la Villasand (Cuba) whose members included Oscar Martínez Santiago, Luis Manuel Peralta González, Manuel Alejandro Treto Suárez, Lisbet Martín Cruz, Yoslainy Echevarría Valdés, Victor Acosta Villazón and Luis M Peralta González.
(2). The upper undergraduate division winner was Messiah College from Grantham, PA whose member included Kyle McGrath, Scott Hoeckele, Benjamin Hallowell, James Shambeda, Jennifer Esbenshade, and Evan Peck and faculty advisor Dr. Hannah Tims, followed by the group “Shulibukai” from Departamento de Radioquímica, Instituto Superior de Tecnologías y Ciencias Aplicadas (InSTEC, Havana) Cuba and included group members Ramón A. Miranda Quintana, Carlos Enríquez Victorero, Alejandro Gutiérrez Quintanilla, Reinier Oropesa Núñez, Olivia Borrell Grueiro, Yanet González Díaz and Academic Advisor Dr. Margaret Suárez; next was the StereoquímicosUH also from Havana Cuba and included Aldrin Vasco Vidal, Manuel García Ricardo, Yanira Méndez Gómez, Gerardo Manuel Ojeda Carralero, Fidel Ernesto Morales Vicente, Manuel Antuch Cubillas and were led by Academic Advisor dr. Daniel Garcia Rivera, and the final place winner is the group Belizean Chemists from University of Belize which included Laura Friesen, Tiffany Chao, Solomon Antonio, Irvin Williams, Kristie Mai, Tyronne Rodriquez with academic advisor Dr. J. Pasos.
(3). The lower undergrad division drew largely from students in high school AP classes and first year university students taking an introductory chemistry class. The winning entry is this division is from Lewis University (Romeoville, IL) which included group members Kelly Brice, Kacie Calabrese, Tina Focosi, Kaitlin Nugarus, Amanda Roebuck and Brian Sexton and academic advisor Dr. Marne Bailey. They were followed by Bismuth, a team from Valdosta State University and included team members Ana Shalesi, Pierre Mircaly, and Santeria Rome with academic advisor Dr. Linda Delagarza, followed by team Unbelizeable from University of Belize and composed of a single member Carlos Rosas. The final spot was taken by The Blazers an entry from Lori Griner and Lunden Connell of Valdosta State University.
(4). The high school division was won by Karns High School (Knoxville, TN) and included group members Chelsey Bishop, Lexi Ferguson, Kirsten Fox, Tiffani Holt and Megan Myrick with Academic Advisor Amanda Peretich. They were followed by Jason Thorpe Kennebecasis Valley High School of New Brunswick (Canada) with members Craig Sullivan, Jason Thorpe, Aimee Searle, Jillian Dahlgren, Cory Peters and Academic Advisor Maura Tait and another team from Karns High School (Tenn) with members Holden Coppock, Nicholas Creekmore, William Hawks, Seth Lenderman, and Marshall Wyrick.
(5). The middle school division was won by St. John’s Catholic School “Evolving Eagles” of Valdosta (Ga). The middle school division allowed up to fifteen participants in a group, where as the other divisions was limited to a maximum of six. The academic advisor of the 7th and 8th grade group was science teacher Arlene Manning.
The puzzles were graded according to the number right and the date received. While over two dozen groups turned in 25 completed puzzles (others turned in a lower number completed), the entry with the most correct (out of 25) was 13 followed by several groups with 10-12 puzzles correct. VSU student Kaylie Sutter headed the evaluation process and VSU-IT member Ashley Williams developed the web page. The 2nd annual puzzle competition will be launched in spring of 2011.