Scouting Forums

Supernova Knot

Are there any plans or consideration given to awarding a knot for completion of Alvarez Bronze Supernova as a Cub Scout and potentially having that move up along with the religious knot. My son has earned both the religious knot and the Alvarez and his opinion was there was a lot more work that went into his Supernova Award and he was bummed that there was knot a knot that he could wear.

There’s not a knot, but there is a metal bar:

Nice pin! The Scout Shop listing says it is approved for uniform wear above the left pocket. Only the highest level earned may be worn; there are gold, silver, and bronze bars. I was not able to find a reference to these pins in the BSA Guide to Awards and Insignia, so the rule is “Keep it neat.” This part of the uniform could get crowded with medals, knots, Supernova bar, service year pin, good attendance awards, and ring patch w/ World Crest, all above the pocket.

edit = Thanks to Dave Marquardt for finding the reference:

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Well, based on some of the adult uniforms I see at Roundtable, you could have the awards loop up over the shoulder and down the back… :crazy_face:


Unfortunately the bronze supernova bar for cubs doesn’t transfer to the BSA uniform. You have to earn a bronze supernova as a scout to wear it again. I have the same sadness that nothing follows them up with the cub supernovas because they work really really hard to earn them.

Supernova pin info can be found on Page 72 of Universal and Nonunit Insignia (Guide to Awards and Insignia)

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Thank you, Dave. I looked in several places, but could not find anything.

From the Guide to Awards and Insignia, “Supernova Award, bronze bar pin, No. 643290, worn above left pocket, for Scouts who have earned the Dr. Luis W. Alvarez Supernova Award, Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Award, Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Award, or the Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award. If multiple Supernova awards have been earned, only the highest award earned may be worn.”

It does not limit the wearer to being a Cub Scout. This pin can be worn until he earns a higher level pin. And if he earns the gold bar, he can continue to wear it as an adult.

@ShelleyAlters Is there somewhere that says the bronze bar earned and worn as a Cub Scout does not carry over to the Scouts BSA uniform?

The phrasing of this whole section is somewhat confusing. They are clearly using “Scouts” in the generic sense here, even though it is used uniquely to mean Scouts BSA youth in most other awards in the Guide. In other places (e.g. Interpreter strip), the Guide uses “youth member” to mean “all youth members of any BSA program”. It’s also clear that the same insignia device (part number) is being used at multiple program levels (Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Venturing).

It’s not as clear that a youth can wear a bar pin for any award earned at a prior program level (e.g. Dr. Luis Alvarez award from Cub Scouting) in their current program (e.g. Scouts BSA or Venturing). However, it seems like a scout who is co-registered (e.g. Troop and Venturing) would not be explicitly prohibited from wearing a bar device for the Dr. Bernard Harris, Dr. Sally Ride, Thomas Edison, Wright Brothers or Dr. Albert Einstein awards (Scouts BSA or Venturing awards). It doesn’t seem like a scout who is only a registered venturer could wear the bar if the only award he or she had earned was the Thomas Edison or Dr. Bernard Harris awards, although I’m likely just interpreting noise on the signal here.

The gold bar is even more fuzzy, since scouters may wear it if earned as a youth. Often, but not always, that implies that youth in other programs could wear it (e.g. the various heroism medals), but it’s exclusively a Venturing award, if I recall correctly.

ETA: The “highest award earned” portion appears to be a reference to not wearing more than one bar, rather than the award earned in the oldest (highest age) program.

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The Guide to Awards and Insignia is usually quite specific about what can and cannot be worn on the uniform. As has been discussed, it is clear that when addressing these bars, they use the word Scouts to mean Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA members, Venturers and Sea Scouts, which is a departure from how the word Scouts is usually used in the Guide.

The only restriction mentioned is that adults should not wear anything other than the gold bar.

So, with no mention of restrictions, let’s put a reasonableness test out there, and see what we get. Here’s the made-up fact pattern: A Scouts BSA member has earned the Dr. Bernard Harris Bronze Supernova Medal. At age 15, she has also become an Eagle Scout. Her family moves to another city. She looks for a new troop, but she becomes fascinated with Sea Scouting. She decides to join a ship and work on Quartermaster. The Harris Medal can be used in place of the Dr. Sally Ride Bronze Medal as a prerequisite for working on the Wright Brothers Silver Medal. While our Sea Scout is working toward the Quartermaster rank, she also begins working on the Wright Brothers.

Question: Does it make any sense at all to tell that young lady she cannot wear a bronze Supernova bar on her Sea Scout uniform, because it represents the Harris Medal, even though it is regarded as a rough equivalent to the Dr. Sally Ride? Of course not.

How about another scenario. A Venturer who earned the Dr. Sally Ride Bronze Medal finds herself at 17 and able to register in a Scouts BSA troop for girls in March 2019. She has already earned the Summit Award and is devoting herself primarily to the Scouts BSA program and hoping to blaze a trail to Eagle. Unlike with the Wright Brothers Silver Medal, the Dr. Sally Ride Bronze Medal cannot be used as a prerequisite for the Thomas Alva Edison Silver Medal in place of the Dr. Bernard Harris Bronze Medal. So, if she wants to earn the Edison, she will have to earn the Harris (a second older youth bronze) first.

Question: Even though the Dr. Sally Ride Bronze Medal cannot be used as a substitute for the Harris, does it make any sense at all to tell this young lady that she cannot wear a bronze Supernova bar on her Scouts BSA uniform until she earns the Harris? Well, you might have a whisper of an argument here, because the Ride doesn’t qualify a Scout to work on the Harris. However, if she remains co-registered as a Venturer, she is eligible to work on the Wright Brothers Silver Medal, and that gets her to the same place - eligibility to work on the Dr. Albert Einstein Gold Medal. Of course, while she is wearing her Venturing shirt, there is no question she can wear a bronze Supernova bar. So, is it really an achievement of a lesser sort? In my opinion, no.

There is a prohibition against wearing Cub Scout insignia on the Scouts BSA uniform. An exception is made for the Arrow of Light. However, the youth religious emblem square knot is not Cub Scout insignia; it is universal insignia. For this reason, it can move up with a Cub Scout to Scouts BSA. What section of the Guide to Awards and Insignia describes the Supernova bars? That’s right: the section is called Universal and Nonunit Insignia.

Finally, if adults can wear the gold bar even though they are no longer Venturers or Sea Scouts, should Scouts BSA members be prohibited from wearing a bronze bar they earned for the Alvarez or Townes Awards, simply because they are no longer Cub Scouts?

I think if we apply common sense here and realize that the bronze Supernova bar is not Cub Scout insignia, and earning it as a Cub Scout does not make it Cub Scout insignia, just like earning a religious emblem as a Cub Scout does not make the square knot Cub Scout insignia, we can reach the conclusion that silence (in the Guide to Awards and Insignia) about a prohibition against older youth wearing bronze bars they earned as Cub Scouts is a green light to go ahead and do so.

Yours in Scouting,



Charley, I am not sure what is fuzzy about the Gold SuperNova bar since it may only be earned by Venturers, and less than 10 have bene presented since creation of the Einstein Award. In the case of #7 that was present a couple of weeks ago, it took National so long to review the pack that the young man is now a registered adult before it was confirmed.

Again, they use the generic term Scout instead of simply saying Venturer. It’s an odd way to phrase it, since it’s only available to Venturers. Why use the generic?

As far as allowing adults to wear it, that part is clear. I’m not at all surprised that it takes an eternity to approve the award.

I would presume the Alvarez or Townes Bronze bar stays on the Cub uniform and not carried over to the Scout uni since there are Scouts BSA/Venturing specific Bronze Supernova awards (Harris or Ride).

If the Leaders do not show badges, do not wear uniform pants, do not keep their top tucked in. they are leading by example. A poor one.