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Thousands of students from middle and high schools across the country have committed themselves to extra study hours as they prepare to compete in the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) 31st National Science Bowl® (NSB). These students are hard at work now-studying, practicing, and strategizing-to win their regional competitions, hoping to advance to the final competition.

The competitions start this month, with teams facing off in a fast-paced, question-and-answer format. (More information about regionals can be found through the NSB Homepage.) These competitions test students’ knowledge in all areas of science and mathematics.

The winning team from each of the middle- and high-school regional competitions will compete in the National Finals. Preliminary rounds will be held throughout April 2021 for all regional champions to determine the top 32 teams who will participate in the Elimination Tournament of the National Finals. The Elimination Tournament will be held virtually on Saturday, May 8, 2021 for middle school teams and Saturday, May 22, 2021 for high school teams.

All regional winning schools will receive $500 for their schools’ STEM activities. The top 32 teams will receive additional funds for their schools, depending on how far they advance through the tournament. The top 2 teams will receive $5,000 for their schools. But to many, the ultimate prize is simply the prestige of winning the National Championship.  

Today, the NSB annually draws more than 14,700 middle- and high-school competitors. Since the first competition in 1991, more than 315,000 students have faced off in the National Science Bowl® Finals. The knowledge that former competitors have acquired and, more importantly, the collaborative skills and study habits that they learned along the way have led them to successes in a variety of fields. Many have become researchers; others are science and math professors. 

The 2021 competitors will follow in the footsteps of previous National Science Bowl® contestants and will blaze a trail for students in science, math, and engineering.

Middle and high school student teams come from all across the country: large and small schools, urban and rural settings. Each team is composed of four students, one alternate, and a teacher who serves as an advisor and coach. The competition tests the students on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, energy, and math. The Department of Energy Office of Science manages the National Science Bowl® and sponsors the finals competition.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit