04 Website Design

This event is limited to the first 18 entries

2018 Topic: Chemistry of Pizza


Naples, Italy in the 1700 and 1800 was a thriving waterfront city with many working poor. These poor workers, known as Lazzaroni, required inexpensive food that could be eaten quickly. Flatbreads with various toppings were sold by numerous street vendors and informal restaurants. These early pizzas were topped with items still popular today such as tomatoes, cheese, oil, anchovies, and garlic. Legend has it that when King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1889, the Queen wanted to try a variety of toppings from a pizzeria called Pizzeria Brandi. Her favorite variety was topped with soft white cheese, red tomatoes, and basil and became known as pizza Margherita.

Immigrants to the United States came from Naples for factory jobs in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Their love of flatbreads with various toppings was carried to their new land. It was not long before the aroma and taste of this food was discovered by non-Neapolitans.  The first commercial pizzeria opened in Manhattan in 1905 and was named Lombardi’s after its founder. Lombardi’s still operates today at 32 Spring Street and uses the original oven.

The transformation of dough, sauce, and cheese into one of America’s favorite foods involves a variety of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, salts, and hydrocarbons as well as their related chemical reactions.

Ingredient Common Ingredient Chemical
Flour C4H8O4
Water H20
Salt NaCl
Yeast C19H14O2
Tomatoes C5H8
Cheese CH3CH2CH2--COOH;
Garlic C12H21NO4S3
Oregano C6H3CH3(OH)(C3H7)
Olive oil CH3(CH2)7CH=CH(CH2)7COOH

The site will also explain the chemistry involved with the making of pizza which includes bleaching agents, oxidizing agents, and the browning of the crust. Flour made of barley, buckwheat, corn, lima beans, oats, peanuts, potatoes, soybeans, rice and rye is bleached with benzoyl peroxide to whiten the mixture. Oxidizing agents enhance the baking quality. Chemical reactions givs the dough a browner and tougher crust. Other processes occur depending on the different toppings you add to the pizza.

For those that make pizza and those of us who enjoy it, chemistry plays a major role. Understanding how chemistry transforms a blend of dough, cheese, tomatoes and toppings into one of the world’s favorite foods is the basis for this website competition.


Design a website that:

  • Educates the reader on the chemistry involved in the ingredients and the baking of pizza. You must include the history of pizza, the chemistry of its ingredients, and reactions that occur during the baking process.
  • Describes and detail the processes in making pizza. Show the chemical structures of each substance, emphasizing chemistry’s role in its creation and how chemistry is used to make pizza taste so great.
  • Make sure to show the chemical transformations, including chemical formulas, structures, reactions, and reaction conditions (as appropriate) involved with each substance.
  • Include citations for ALL sources of information. Use at least three non-web resources such as academic papers and science books.
  • Make sure the site is attractive and easy-to-use


  • The web site should be developed using current standard HTML5 coding with CSS 3. Javascript and Jquery are allowed, but not required.
  • Use of site building services such as Wix is discouraged but not prohibited.
  • HTML / CSS coding knowledge must be demonstrated by all teams.
  • No plug-ins such as Adobe Flash should be assumed or required for viewing of the web site.
  • Focus primary efforts on the content of their website -- NOT on distracting "bells & whistles"
  • Please be aware that external links (to other web sites) may be included, however they will not be accessible on the day of the competition since you will be presenting your website off of your CD (i.e. you will not be connected to the Internet). External links that are included (as they should be) will be evaluated by judges during the first phase of judging, prior to the day of your presentation.



  • TWO identical labeled CD’s containing their website, (submitted in separate labeled sleeves, NOT jewel cases) labeled with:
    • Name of School
    • Team A or B designation, if applicable
    • Names of Students
    • Name(s) of Coach(es)
    • URL where site can be accessed publicly
  • Double check that your final CD works as a standalone website. Test it on a different computer not connected to the internet before submitting it for evaluation.

The previously listed items must be received by the NJCO Event Coordinator by the deadline indicated in the Requirement Overview.  The website on the CD’s and the publicly-accessible website must be identical. No changes of any type are allowed to either between the time of submission and the day of the competition. The judges will examine both the CD website and the URL website in the judging. Approximately two weeks before the day of the competition, all of the URL’s for all competing teams will be made available on the NJCO website. Thus competitors will be able to view each other’s websites.


There will be two phases to the judging. The first phase occurs after receipt of the submitted CD’s and URL’s. The judges will examine the websites and evaluate them as to:

Web Site Design (25% of total score)

  • Website is well-designed, easy to navigate and functions without error from the website and the CD
  • Website is visually appealing and promotes interest in the topic
  • Website is original in its style and content

Chemistry Content / Use of Resources (50% of total score)

  • Website demonstrates an understanding of the history, chemical processes, and reactions involved in making pizza
  • Accuracy & quality of information to educate about chemical processes and reaction,  transformations, and other information involved with making and baking pizza
  • Accuracy & quality of information to educate about chemical processes and reaction,  transformations, and other information involved in the creation and use of sauce, cheese, and other toppings
  • Site uses photos and diagrams to illustrate the chemistry content of the site
  • Website summarizes information from sources including but not limited to websites, textbooks, and academic papers that are credible and properly cited with a complete bibliography


The second phase of judging occurs on the day of the competition. Each team will make a short 5-minute summary presentation of their website. This presentation will be made using the CD submitted earlier. There will be no live internet access for the presentation - teams should plan their presentations accordingly. The audience will include both the judges and their fellow competitors. After this, there will be a brief question-and-answer period during which time the judges will pose questions about the website and/or the chemistry of pizza. Questions will deal with both the web page design and the chemistry content of the site. All team members will be expected to have at least some knowledge of both aspects. This phase will be evaluated as follows:

Presentation (25% of total score)

  • Each member participates in the presentation to the judges and is able to describe their role in the development
  • Provides a succinct understanding of the chemical principles and website development techniques. (Talks are a maximum of five minutes.)
  • Responds to questions posed by judges in a well-informed manner that demonstrates an understanding of the chemical principles and technical aspects of website development

The publicly-accessible URL and the two CD’s must be received by the deadline - there will be no extensions. The content of the sites must be identical. No changes to either are permitted after submission. The URL must remain active and publicly accessible throughout the time period from the date of submission until the day of the competition. All material on the website must be original or properly cited.  Violation of any of these provisions are grounds for disqualification.