Nothing but QuarkNet.
NCAA Tournament 2008: Men's Bracket
Science stars and sports stars rarely align, except on the NCAA basketball court.
Want to pick winners for the annual March Madness office pool? Skip the schools' sports statistics and focus on their QuarkNet science-outreach programs.
For the past decade, employees at Fermilab and the University of Florida tracked the rankings of NCAA teams compared to QuarkNet participation.
Scientists that give time to the program score big for their universities.
The Kansas University men's team took the title in 2008 and the second place women's ranking went to Stanford University, a QuarkNet alumni. In 2004, all Final Four teams claimed QuarkNet allegiance.
The DOE- and NSF-sponsored QuarkNet program brings high school students and teachers to the frontier of 21st century research by involving them in research programs at the world's major particle physics laboratories.
High school students and teachers connect with Fermilab and other particle physics research centers through university scientists working on experiments. At Fermilab, they work on the largest U.S. particle detectors, DZero and CDF. For their classrooms, students also build cosmic-ray detectors.
In the past decade, on average, a dozen of the 64 NCAA teams have had ties to QuarkNet. Half of the last 10 champion men's teams claim QuarkNet membership.
"That's pretty cool," said Spencer Pasero, of Fermilab's Education Office. "The QuarkNet men's teams do better at every stage than expected. The QuarkNet schools in the women's tournament do better than expected in the first and second rounds and then come back to the field."
QuarkNet consistently had a higher proportion of men's teams advancing to the Final Four and women's teams advancing to the Sweet 16. The men's teams advance to the Final Four at a rate of one in seven, twice the expected rate. Non-QuarkNet teams advance to the Final Four at a rate of one in 21.
If you're going to bet your office coffee money on something, bet it on science.
NCAA Tournament 2008: Women's Bracket