I was in Stanford to attend Wonderfest 2009 and to watch the finals of the Bechtel WonderCup Challenge 2009, in which my son Rahul was participating.

Bechtel WonderCup is the Bay Area high school science quiz and innovation competition. The Klein bottle trophy, the WonderCup, goes to the Bay Area's best science challenge team. A Klein bottle is a closed 2-dimensional surface with no distinct inside or outside -- a WonderCup indeed!

The Silicon Valley has a very strong science and technology culture, which permeates into the schools around this area. It is not a surprise that a large number of teams (95) participated in the challenge this year. There are qualifying rounds, followed by a semi-final round in Berkeley. The two teams that made it to the finals included Lynbrook High School and The Harker School.

The finals was held at Stanford, and was a challenge where the two teams were given 15 minutes to design a flying machine that would stay afloat for the longest time! It was an intense 15 minutes, watching the young to-be scientists from the two teams work things out with the balsa wood pieces, tape, rubberbands, etc., designing the best possible plane.

Lynbrook High School was declared the winner and won the trophy!

This was followed by MindDuel, a just-for-fun science knowledge contest between Bay Area scientists and the WonderCup Challenge team of high school science students. This was wonderfully conducted by the Wonderfest director Tucker Hiatt with interesting visuals and questions.

It was a wonderful day! Proud of Rahul and his team! They were so excited walking back with their trophy and MacBooks (courtesy of Wind River Systems).

Go Lynbrook!!