April 27, 2010
10-082

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

International Chemistry Competition Winners Announced

VALDOSTA -- Valdosta State University's has announced the winners from the first ever Periodic Puzzle Competition, which attracted teams from Belize, Canada, China, Cuba, England, Russia and the United States.

The three-week contest, held during March, challenged individuals and teams to complete 25 Sudoku-style puzzles -- which required knowledge of chemical and physical properties of more than 100 elements to complete.

More than 20 teams completed all 25 puzzles by the March 26 deadline, although many others made incomplete submissions. Puzzles were graded by VSU chemistry students based on both timeliness and accuracy.

Top prizes were given to Dr. Edine Heinig, Minnesota Rubber in Plymouth, Minn., in the open division; Messiah College, Grantham, Pa., in the upper undergraduate division; Lewis University, Romeoville, Ill. In the lower undergraduate division; and St. John's Catholic School, Valdosta, Ga. in the middle school division.

For three years, VSU Chemistry Professor Dr. Thomas Manning and his chemistry students have collaborated with students from Instituto Superior de Tecnologías y Ciencias Aplicadas (InSTEC) in Havana, Cuba, to complete similar chemistry-based Sudoku-style puzzles. Students at each university-developed riddles -- focused on various aspects of the periodic table -- which were exchanged and translated by Cuban chemistry professor, Aurora Perez Gramatges.

Manning and his Cuban counterparts agreed opening the project to an international population would challenge VSU and InSTEC students, who would facilitate the competition and create the puzzles. It was also a great way to engage science teachers and classrooms around the world.

Manning said he was pleased with the outcome of the first international event and looks forward to launching the second annual competition during spring 2011, in coordination with the International Year of Chemistry. He has also challenged local chemistry enthusiasts to create an "app" that will streamline the grading of next year's submissions.

For more information about the contest and a complete list of winners, go to http://www.valdosta.edu/periodicpuzzles/results2010.php .