Tonight: ASU students to compete in final rounds of Academic Bowl

October 5, 2011

Sixteen students will compete in the semi-final rounds of the ASU Academic Bowl tonight on the Downtown Phoenix campus. Of those, eight students will advance to the finals, scheduled for tonight as well.

Although there is $24,000 in scholarship money for the winners and the runners-up, there is only one trophy, one championship title. Download Full Image

Meet the teams:

Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Gold team

John Ernzen, Ethan Holhouser, Eric Lehnhardt and Joe Yu have carefully engineered their way to the semi-finals, which should come as no surprise to anyone. The team displays a keen understanding of how the game is played and a vast array of knowledge – including an unexpected aptitude for literature and the arts.

As engineers, they are born problem-solvers, but can they crack the code of how to get to the finals? This talented team just might have what it takes.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Maroon team

Brady Gilg, Alex Theisen, Marko Manojlovic and Christopher Chesny comprise this tough-as-nails team that likes to get things done – and fast. With their game faces on, these seriously academic players typically have dominated each match as they go from question to question to question, and waste no time (or points) with wrong answers.

In other words, give them an inch and they might just have you beat before you can even buzz in.

W. P. Carey School of Business

The suits: Eric Rosano, Dustin Brown, Kenneth Qian and Mitchell Andreas. They're here for business – or is it pleasure? It's hard to tell. The team is looking to win, but they might just be having fun while doing it. (When introducing himself, Qian sarcastically said he was from Hogwarts, as evidenced by his tie that resembled that of Harry Potter's.)

All jokes aside, this team makes smart decisions in how they play the game, and you can bet they've already assessed what they can bring to the table.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Gold team

This adorable, bright-eyed team might look harmless, but you better look again. Beneath their sweet smiles and worried expressions are the complex, encyclopedic workings of robots that are hard-wired for combat.

Returning Academic Bowl champions, Nicholas Williams, Ana Ordonez, Louis Weimer and Kevin Coltin are a merciless force to be reckoned with, however gentle their group hugs might make them appear. In other words, don't be fooled by the warm and fuzzy CLAS Gold players – they are the team to beat.

What to look out for

• The W. P. Carey Business team has employed a creative tactic of placing their hands over the microphones during bonus questions, in an effort to counter the urge to impulsively call out an answer before conferring.

• All the players competing in the semi-finals are not just smart, they're whip-smart. They're quick to buzz in and win the toss-up questions – a key strategy that not only leads to points, but allows a team to take control of the game by answering a series of bonus questions as fast, or as slow, as they would like. Because all four teams have proven their abilities in this area, it will be interesting to see how they shift their strategies when confronted with equally aggressive competition.

• Practicing restraint also will be a key strategy, as players often buzz in before the moderator has finished posing the question and then they deliver an incorrect answer.

The semi-finals begin at 7 p.m., in the Eight, Arizona PBS studio of the Cronkite building, on the Downtown Phoenix campus. After two teams are eliminated, the finals will take place, estimated to begin around 8:30 p.m.

A live telecast of the final rounds will be broadcast on Eight at 11 p.m., Oct. 24.

If you can't make it downtown, then follow the action live via Twitter: @asunews_insider or via live webcast at or

For schedule and roster information, and much more, visit

Britt Lewis

Interim Communications Director, ASU Library

Robots on the rise: ASU researchers at the forefront

October 5, 2011

Robotics is becoming one of the most prolific areas of technological advancement.

Engineers are at work on designs for robotic devices that promise to aid progress in almost every field of human endeavor – and ASU researchers are at the forefront of the wave of robotics innovation. They’re developing ideas for ways robots could be employed in health and medical fields, in education, in national defense and security, and in far-flung efforts to expand exploration of the deep sea and outer space. Download Full Image

ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and School of Earth and Space Exploration are giving students opportunities to participate in projects to develop and program a variety of robot prototypes.

The work draws on expertise across a broad range of specialties, from mechanical and biomedical engineering to mathematics, communications technology, electronics and computer science. And it delves into some of the more fascinating questions about technological possibilities – predominantly the pursuit of creating “intelligent” machines that could communicate and interact with humans.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering