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Patchogue-Medford High School Triumphs at Bridge Building Contest

Patchogue-Medford High School seized the top three spots and the Aesthetic Award at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory 2012 Bridge Building Contest.

2012 bridge contest winners

Brookhaven National Laboratory 2012 Bridge Building Contest winners (from left to right): Aesthetic Award, Nicholas Tully, Second Place, Hanna Lazio, First Place, William Cheung, and Third Place, Alexandra Smaldone from Patchogue-Medford High School.

William Cheung took first place at the March 31 competition, with Hanna Lazio and Alexandra Smaldone winning second and third places, respectively. Nicholas Tully won the Aesthetic Award for his visually appealing design. They were recognized at an April 16 awards ceremony in Brookhaven’s Science Education Building.

The object of the competition was to design and construct efficient bridges within prescribed parameters, which necessitated the study and application of physics and engineering principles.

Following specific material restrictions, like using only basswood, and structural requirements, like having a minimum clearance and maximum bridge height, the students got a taste of life as an engineer. To be tested, the bridges were loaded with weights on specific locations in the bridge. The bridges were loaded with a minimum of 50 kilograms.

At the competition, 210 bridges were entered, with 109 being disqualified and 101 going on to be tested for their weight bearing capacity. Bridges were disqualified if they were constructed out of or fortified with unapproved materials, or did not obey design specifications.

The winning, most structurally efficient bridges were awarded based on a numerical formula – the weight of the load the bridge supported divided by the mass of the bridge itself.

The first and second place winners will compete in the Thirty-Fifth International Bridge Building Contest in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 4, 2012.

2012-3027  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office