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Arcadia, North Hollywood and LA high schools in National Science Bowl

Students from North Hollywood High School.
Students from North Hollywood High School.
Kitty Felde/KPCC

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The best science students in the country are in Washington this weekend for the 20th annual National Science Bowl.

Three teams are representing Southern California.

The annual competition is sponsored by the Department of Energy to inspire the next generation of chemists, biologists, physicists and astronomers.

Arcadia High School, which just won the national title for students’ knowledge of the Constitution, is also competing in the National Science Bowl.

North Hollywood High, which won the National Science Bowl title in 1991, is here as well.

Senior Shawn Mehra is captain of the North Hollywood team. He says the main challenge in the quiz show style competition is making decisions – fast.

"If someone on my left is telling me one answer, and on the right is telling me another, I have to compromise and figure out which one I think is correct. And it’s hard."

And what happens if he picks the wrong person?

"Well then I’m a little bit embarrassed and I try not to look at them for the next question."

In the middle school competition, students from Los Angeles Center of Enriched Studies will take the quiz, then race their version of a model car that runs on a hydrogen fuel cell.

Bowl finals are Monday, where questions in the bonus round will be posed by first lady Michelle Obama.