The Longest Day

Tuesday morning started extra early for the finalists who were listed on the final violations list. Several showed up at 7 a.m. to save their projects from disqualification, and fortunately no one appeared to be in danger of missing the 10 a.m. correction deadline.

With a "media" session scheduled between 10 and 11:30 a.m., this is the first day of real full-scale activity. Hordes of international media correspondents have converged on the convention center looking for stories and interviews, and the lobby here is filled with journalists, cameras, and milling students waiting to enter the exhibition hall.

Tensions are high among finalists. Today, they not only have to deal with the media but also with the looming arrival of the judges, who will begin examining projects at noon. Sitting against a wall in the exhibition wall and looking down the long corridor of an aisle is almost dizzying: Students flash by, dodging lumbering camera crews and leaping trailing microphone wires, frantically scrambling to put the final touches on their projects before they're ushered out of the exhibition hall -- only judges are allowed inside during the initial review process.

Despite how it sounds, the real judging is still a day away. Today, they're just gathering information about their assigned projects and sections, technically reserving judgment until tomorrow. But the finalists streaming back and forth from their boards to the central administrative "Hub" makes it abundantly clear that everyone here sees the value of a good first impression.

Today's biggest highlight is undoubtedly the 2 to 4 p.m. panel with Nobel laureates and other scientists, where they'll be asked questions chosen from a participant-submitted pool. National Public Radio's Joe Palca will moderate the panel, which includes Leon Lederman, Kurt Wuthrich, Dudley Herschbach, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Horst Stormer and Robert Curl. Activities officially end tonight with a barbeque and salsa dancing at the nearby Civic Plaza between 7 and 10 p.m., but a sleepless night probably awaits many finalists. Tomorrow, after all, is judgment day.

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Does anyone know where all the footage of them interviewing random kids is at?!?! mine is pretty funny... i had no voice whatsoever!

By kristi williams (not verified) on 28 May 2007 #permalink

Hey Kristi,

We're in the process of digitally capturing and editing all the video we shot, and highlights from our floor-roaming interviews will be appearing soon!

This is awesome news... when it gets up will you let me know (i dont check this website all that much)... i have dialup (gasp i know... its all we can get where i live) so that way i can find a way to get online and look at it... my email address is