National Chemist Competition held in Philly, Co-written w/ Greg Wolbert

On June 25th, the “You Be The Chemist Challenge” took place. This Chemistry competition is hosted by the Chemical Education Foundation. It is a national competition where students in fifth through eighth grade compete locally, then at the state level and finally advancing to the national competition level. Students are competing by answering scientific questions in a digital competition format or electronic response system, until the Quarter-Final, Semi-Final and Championship rounds, where they were asked to verbally respond to questions.

You Be The Chemist Challenge 2012

This year, twenty-two young students competed. The event was held at The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, PA. The design was simple; two Preliminary rounds, three Final rounds, Quarter-Final, Semi-Final and the Championship rounds.

Challenging the Judges

After each round a selected number of participants that had the lowest number of questions right were eliminated. If a question seemed wrong to a participant they were allowed to challenge the judges immediately after the round. This occurred several times during the Semi-Final round.

As we watched the participants gaze at the questions on the monitors in front of them, their concentration and determination at moving to the next round was evident. It was astonishing at how the participants knew all this information at such an early age.

Banks Family

When we had the chance to speak with the Banks family, they had indicated that Tate Banks had studied for over a year. This was the case for many participants. Tate advanced to the Quarter-Final round and was named the 3rd Runner Up.

Participant Madison Carter

We also had the opportunity to talk with Madison Carter of Utah. Madison is in the 8thgrade and had prepared for several months leading up to the competition. In terms of her ideal career, she is still undecided but has earned the highest Science score in her class.

Congratulations to the Finalist: Tate Banks (3rd Runner Up), Yilin Yang (2nd Runner Up), Michael Allen (1st Runner Up) and the Champion for “You Be The Chemist Challenge”: Bhagirath Mehta

You Be The Chemist Challenge Finalists

All participants should be congratulated for their exceptional performance and good sportsmanship. Parents interested in learning more or bringing this challenge to their school district please see Currently only 22 states participate, so please join us in promoting this educational challenge. You can follow the Chemical Education Foundation on twitter @chem_ed.