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Citadel News Service
14 Feb 2011

Lowcountry to host first “Storm The Citadel Trebuchet Competition”

Google, The Citadel team up to put fun focus on science and technology

On Saturday, Feb. 26, teams made up of students, engineers, scientists and business leaders from around the state will compete in the first Storm The Citadel Trebuchet Competition. Co-hosted by Google and The Citadel, the teams are tasked with building a trebuchet that will hurl oranges across The Citadel’s Summerall Field. The competition is among several activities planned during National Engineers Week at The Citadel.

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The Citadel and Google are among the Lowcountry’s leaders in providing opportunities and initiatives to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs in the schools. The Citadel’s STEM Center of Excellence works to address these issues through the college’s schools of engineering, science and mathematics and education. In South Carolina, Google supports the iTEAMS (Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship Among Middle Schoolers) summer camp working with the Berkeley County School District and the Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics Foundation.

“It is crucial to the economic health of South Carolina that higher education in partnership with K-12 and the business communities attract young people to and retain them in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Dennis Fallon, dean of The Citadel School of Engineering. “The Citadel, in partnership with Google, has as its primary goal to provide an exciting and fun opportunity for these young people to learn about STEM concepts through this active, hands-on competition.”

A trebuchet, similar to a catapult, is an ancient siege engine used for throwing large rocks. It was invented in China in about the 4th century BC, came to Europe in the 6th century AD, and did not become obsolete until the 16th century, well after the introduction of gunpowder.

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The trebuchets that will be constructed for this competition will be smaller than their ancient ancestors, but will be made with the same kind of scientific ingenuity as those of centuries ago.
At around 6 feet tall, the competition trebuchets must be capable of accurately tossing a standard size orange between 50 and 200 feet and hitting a stationary target. Points will be awarded and winners selected based on accuracy, design and team spirit.

Competing will be students from 13 high schools. They are Academic Magnet High School, Anderson Districts 1 & 2 Career and Technology Center, Berkeley High, Burke High, Charleston Charter School for Math & Science, Garrett Academy of Technology, James Island Charter School, James Island Christian, Porter Gaud, Stratford High, Wando High School, West Ashley High School and York Comprehensive High School.

From The Citadel two cadet teams and a team each from the Navy and Air Force ROTC units on campus will participate. The Citadel teams will compete in the corporate category, which also includes teams from Google, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Information Technology (C4IT) Business Unit.

“Google is strongly committed to educational efforts that support science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Eric Wages, operations manager at Google’s data center in Berkeley County. “The trebuchet contest is a great way to give college and high school students a hands-on opportunity to solve an engineering challenge, to use their instincts to solve that challenge and to receive encouragement from their fellow teammates and professional scientists and engineers.”

The Storm The Citadel Competition is free and open to the public. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the competition starts at 1 p.m. The awards ceremony will begin at approximately 3 p.m.

More information is available on The Citadel website. Click here

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