For Immediate Release

Bayer Names Finalists Vying for GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ Title In the Bayer-Big Ten Alka-Rocket Challenge

Three Big Ten teams compete on November 8 for $25,000 and a place in history

WHIPPANY, N.J., Oct. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The countdown to blast-off has begun for three teams of rocketeers from Big Ten universities who will compete on November 8 to win $25,000 in the Bayer-Big Ten Alka-Rocket Challenge and a coveted place in the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS record books.

The Challenge is an out-of-this-world competition to design and launch an Alka-Rocket in an attempt to set the first GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the Highest Launch of an Alka-Rocket.*

Three teams of finalists from the Big Ten universities were selected this month by a panel of judges based on the design, execution and creativity of their Alka-Rockets.  The finalists are: 

  • University of Minnesota
  • Northwestern University
  • Rutgers University

"My fellow judges and I were impressed by the quality and ingenuity of the entries we received," said Dr. Mae Jemison, a former NASA astronaut and the first African-American woman in space. "We're looking forward to meeting the teams who submitted the entries and, of course, to seeing these finalists launch their Alka-Rockets to win next month."

The teams have three weeks to prepare for lift-off.  On November 8, the finalists will gather at Space Center Houston in Texas to launch their rockets and attempt to blast their way into the annals of GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS. 

The internationally recognized panel of judges that selected the finalists will judge the event and name the winning team.  In addition to Dr. Jemison, the judges are Cliff Ransom, Executive Editor of Scientific American Custom Media, and Dave Brown, Space Center University coordinator for Space Center Houston.

In addition to potentially securing a spot in GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS history, the winning team receives a cash prize of $25,000.  The triumphant rocketeers will also be recognized on the field of Lucas Oil Stadium during the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis on December 2.

Bayer created the Challenge and partnered with the Big Ten to generate greater awareness about the country's need for more scientists, engineers and innovators.  These fields form the foundations of the modern world, fostering the innovation, economic competitiveness and national security necessary to succeed in the next century. 

Bayer has a longstanding commitment to science literacy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education.  In addition to dominating all athletic conferences, the Big Ten lead the nation in completion of PhDs in Mathematics, Engineering and Science.  

"Bayer created the Alka-Rocket Challenge to convey the importance of science literacy and STEM education in a light-hearted and engaging way," said Ray Kerins, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bayer. "Our partnership with the Big Ten universities, which dominate both athletics and the education of our future scientists and engineers, has been key to making the Challenge such a blast." 

An Alka-Rocket is a model rocket often built using a 35mm canister and propelled by the chemical reaction that occurs when effervescent tablets are mixed with water.  Often used in American science classes to demonstrate principles of chemistry and physics, Alka-Rockets are a staple experiment in Bayer's Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS) award-winning science literacy initiative.

*The official title recognized and recorded by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS is Highest launch of an effervescent tablet.

Bayer: Science For A Better Life

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2016, the Group employed around 115,200 people and had sales of EUR 46.8 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.7 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to

About the Big Ten Conference

The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will provide over $200 million in direct financial support to more than 9,500 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men's ice hockey and men's and women's lacrosse since 2013. For more information, visit

Space Center Houston

The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit science and space learning center with extensive educational programs. Space Center Houston is the cornerstone of its mission to inspire all generations through the wonders of space exploration. The center draws more than 1 million visitors annually, was called "The Big Draw" by USA Today and generates a $73 million annual economic impact in the greater Houston area. Space Center Houston is Houston's a Smithsonian Affiliate and the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center. More than 200,000 youth from around the world visit the center annually to experience our educational space museum with more than 400 things to see and experience. For more information, go to

Social Media Channels

- Facebook:

- Twitter:

- Instagram:

- YouTube:


Bayer® and the Bayer Cross® are registered trademarks of Bayer.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer's public reports which are available on the Bayer website at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

Media Contact:

Carolyn Bender

External Communications

Bayer US

Tel: (862) 404-5955