By Steve Tawa

By Steve Tawa

ASTON, Pa., (CBS) — At Neumann University, creativity mixed with formula and theory for a competition involving young students that covered just about every discipline across the science spectrum.

More than 1,000 students from nearly 60 area middle and high schools were sprawled out on classroom and gym floors for their Science Olympiad.

In one event, two-member teams designed and built a robot arm.

“This is a chance to show your potential in school that you might not be able to show in class.”

Sixteen-year-old Phil Saroka, a junior at Bayard Rustin High School in West Chester, tweaked the code, and then maneuvered objects like dice into egg cartons, working on random probabilities.

“We had to have even numbers, so I just picked them up and dropped them.”

Outside on the grass, in the air trajectory competition, teams launched two liter soda bottles with fins to the heavens, then landed them as close to the target as possible, on terra firma. A few landed on Neumann’s roofs, in the high winds.

Dr. Sylvia Riviello, the department head of Science and Math at Neumann, is impressed with these young scientists, compared with what we knew back in the day.

“What they’re studying as 6th to 9th graders, we would be teaching that as a graduate level course in physics.”

The top 15 schools get invited to state final competition at Juniata College next month.