Lewis University students earned first place in the first Periodic Puzzle Competition, which drew 76 teams from the United States, Belize, Canada, China, Cuba, England and Russia. The groups competed in five divisions.
The Lewis University team placed first overall in the undergraduate lower level division for non-chemistry majors. The division drew largely from students in high school AP classes and first year university students taking an introductory chemistry class.
Each group was e-mailed 25 complex puzzles, which are chemistry-based riddles. They combine the same mathematical logic as the game Sudoku but require knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of more than 100 elements. Sudoku uses nine numbers whereas the Periodic Puzzle grid has 81 elemental symbols. The teams were given three weeks to complete the puzzles and send them back.
The winning team from Lewis University included Kelly Brice, Kacie Calabrese, Tina Focosi, Kaitlin Nugarus, Amanda Roebuck and Brian Sexton. They are all students in the Science II class taught by Dr. Marne Bailey, assistant professor of biology.
The competition was sponsored by Valdosta State University for International Programs, the American Chemical Society and the Florida Academy of Science.