An Inside Look at the Science Debate

This past Sunday marked the 3rd annual Science Debate held at UNIS Hanoi. Twenty science enthusiasts from UNIS, St. Paul, and HSGS came together early that morning to test their knowledge of biology, chemistry, and physics as well as to debate about the controversial topics in science.

Photo taken by Sun Woo Gee

The Science Debate was established by several students from the class of 2014. They set up this amazing event for those interested in humanities and science; back then, there was both a Humanities Debate and a Science Debate. Open to anyone from grades 10 to 12, this event was for students to test their knowledge and to dispute the three topics chosen for that year. And, like The Flame, the whole thing was largely student lead. This year featured a quiz and debate component. The quiz was jeopardy style in which each team chose questions in each subjects to earn points. The debate component on the other hand was for teams to debate about one of the three topics: human head transplant, amytal sodium, and synthetic diamonds. These topics were based on the theme “ethics.” The leadership chose this theme to help us not only understand the science behind them, but also the ethics behind these controversial topics.

Photo taken by Sun Woo Gee

All of us then wrote a research paper on one of these topics. The research papers were then shared with the whole team and were used during practice sessions. These papers were especially useful during the debate as we were not allowed to use electronics during. Everyone was fervent when it came to discussing the controversy of these topics, and the debating got quite intense as it continued. After the fierce final round between UNIS and St. Paul, UNIS ended up on top. Of course, it was exciting to win the gold medal, but it was also very exciting to meet new people and debate about something we have in common: science. As a participant myself, I now can say that the this year’s Science Debate was one that not only challenged our knowledge, but also our ability to argue about a controversial scientific discovery. It is true that some of us had very little experience with debates. However, with the help of our leaders, we were able to succeed in leading an opening speech, affirmative and negative speech, cross examination, and conclusion. Indeed, it was truly a learning experience for all of us.

Photo taken by Sun Woo Gee

So, as long as you have the passion for science, you’re eligible for next year’s Science Debate. The 4th annual Science Debate will be coming up at the beginning of the next school year. There will be a survey for those who want to sign up and the survey will ask things like the science subjects you take, debate experience, and your motives for joining. Make sure to consider giving it a try, and well done to all the debaters!