ANS Virtual Trivia Night: The world’s first Zoom nuclear trivia event?

May 13, 2020, 12:08PMANS News

ANS’s first Virtual Trivia Night drew over 80 contestants who were ready to test their nuclear knowledge during an evening of Zoom-based socialization sponsored by the ANS Young Members Group, the Student Sections Committee, and the Diversity and Inclusion in ANS Committee. YMG Vice Chair Catherine Prat hosted the May 8 event. “I really appreciated seeing how engaged the players were throughout the night,” she said. “They were great guinea pigs for this first-of-a-kind event, as we continue to explore ways to connect virtually.”

Unexpected guests: Before the contest got under way, participants were surprised by a “Zoom-bombing” from ANS President Marilyn Kray, Vice President/President-Elect Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar, and Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy. “They showed their support for the young members and the creative ways they are staying engaged during this time,” said Patrick Snouffer, an incoming YMG Executive Committee member who worked with YMG Secretary Kelsey Amundson to organize Virtual Trivia Night. “Marilyn even stuck around for the whole event! It was awesome to see everyone having fun, showing off their nuclear knowledge, and getting creative with themed Zoom backgrounds.”

The format: Sixteen teams competed to answer four rounds of nuclear-related questions. While some participants signed up with friends or colleagues as part of a team, others signed up as “free agents” and were assigned to a team by event organizers. Each team had a breakout Zoom room to discuss their answers, and all participants could view the main session.

“The competition was very tight until the final jeopardy round, when teams put in chronological order five events in nuclear history,” said Amundson. “Only four teams were able to answer correctly.”

Drumroll, please! A team from Argonne National Laboratory ended up in first place, with every team member winning free registration to the virtual ANS Annual Meeting in June. The runner-up team was a group of free agents, who each received a $20 gift certificate to the ANS store. Members of the third-place team, “Framatomically Correct,” received ANS pint glasses.

Future plans: “We’re looking forward to building on this event to bring a Virtual Trivia Night—or two!—to the Annual Meeting,” said Prat. “Networking is such an important part of ANS meetings, and while using Zoom isn’t as seamless as chatting with colleagues at the hotel bar, we hope attendees will enjoy ‘hanging out’ with their teammates in breakout rooms as they discuss answers and seeing other familiar faces in the main trivia session.”


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