Ups and downs at York’s Science & Engineering Olympics


Above and right: What goes up must come down – the Water-Rocket event

Summer must be around the corner…. You know it when you see high-school students taking over the Keele campus and enjoying such challenges as grappling with giant yo-yos, taking charge of super bouncing balls, firing off water rockets and racing through what some would see as mind-numbing algorithms.

Friday, high-school students at York’s 24th annual Science & Engineering Olympics spent the day doing just that, and more. The event brought together some 800 students from 55 schools across Ontario to battle it out in six “brainathlon” events that take science out of the classroom and put it into action.

“These games give participating students an opportunity to learn about the real-world application of science,” says Keith Aldridge (below, left), York professor of geophysics and founder of the event.

“You have to see it to believe how excited these kids get. Some schools even bring cheerleaders.”

At the end of the day, prizes were awarded to the three best teams in each event and a trophy was presented to the overall winner – University of Toronto Schools.

Team events are designed by York professors in the Faculty of Pure & Applied Science to entertain players and spectators and to allow students to demonstrate their understanding of fundamental laws behind modern scientific and technological advances.

Right: Winning team from University of Toronto Schools


Below: Students ready for the Giant Yo-Yo event











Below: Students synthesizing a polymer in the Superbouncer event



















Below: Student involved in the ZigZag event





To view more photos visit 2003 York University Science Olympics at and


For more information on the event itself, have a look at the Faculty of Pure & Applied Science Olympics Web site at