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$ 100,000 Winner
Penn Manor High School,
The Close Binary Fraction: A Bayesian Analysis of SDSS M Dwarf Spectra - Astrophysics
Mentor: Dr. Cullen Blake, Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University
“My initial interest in math and science occurred in kindergarten when my father started giving me math problems as a game. In less than a year, the simple addition problems we started with had been replaced by double digit multiplication and basic algebra.”
The detailed process by which stars form is a major unanswered question in astrophysics. While many theories have been proposed, it has been difficult to determine which is most likely. One method used to differentiate between theories is the predicted frequency of binary stars. In his project, senior Benjamin Clark used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to look for systems with two M stars orbiting each other and determined the close binary fraction of M stars. By showing that observational data does not support one of the main theories of star formation, Mr. Clark’s research is a step towards a more thorough understanding of how stars form.
Benjamin Clark is a National Merit Semifinalist, Model United Nations head delegate and a member of the National Honor Society. Active in the Boy Scouts of America, he has participated in the USA Mathematical Olympiad, USA Physics Olympiad, Princeton University Mathematics Competition and Pennsylvania Math League. Mr. Clark plans to major in physics/astrophysics and pursue a career at a major research institution.
$ 50,000 Winner
Ward Melville High School,
East Setauket, New York
Novel Asymmetrical Bow-Tie PAMAM Dendrimer Conjugates as Model Systems for Anticancer Taxoid Drug Delivery - Chemistry
Mentor:Dr. Iwao Ojima, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Director of Institute of Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery, SUNY Stony Brook
“Science research is one of the most effective ways by which one can effect social change and serve their community.”
Nevin Daniel’s research goal is to develop a new method for anti-cancer drug delivery, leading to more effective, specific and biocompatible chemotherapeutic treatments for cancer patients. “Cancer drug delivery is an extremely interdisciplinary science traversing the boundaries of chemistry, biology, and materials science.” Mr. Daniel studied dendrimers – or repeatedly branched, roughly spherical large molecules – and set out to develop a structure that could act as an anti-cancer drug delivery agent.
A 2009 Siemens Competition Semifinalist, this senior has won over 30 Science Olympiad regional, state, and national medals. A National AP Scholar, he is the recipient of the Presidential Service Gold Award, Scholastic Writing Gold Key, and Gold Medals in the National Spanish and Latin Exams. Mr. Daniel’s many roles at his school include serving as president of the Science Bowl, as an editor of the school newspaper and literary magazine and as a member of the cross country team. He plays the violin and viola and has performed at Carnegie Hall with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York. Mr. Daniel hopes to study biomedical engineering or pre-med and to become a biomedical research scientist leading his own laboratory.
$ 40,000 Winner
Cherry Creek High School,
Greenwood Village, Colorado
Therapeutic Use of microRNA-200c to Treat Ovarian Cancer - Biology (Dr. Jennifer Richer)
“I have always thought genetics was amazing in that so many tiny parts determine who we are.”
Connie Liu had not heard of MicroRNAs until she interviewed the principal investigator of a lab at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She was intrigued by what she learned and by the role that MicroRNAs are beginning to play in cancer biology. “The cells that I worked with, HEY ovarian cancer cells, were extremely uncooperative throughout the project. They were very fickle and tended to die if their environment was even slightly altered.” Ms. Liu had to regrow the culture and start again when the incubator stopped working and killed all the cells. The results of her research provided evidence that miR-200c-transfected cells, which are lost in aggressive ovarian cancer cells (HEY), were less migratory and more sensitive to paclitaxel. She hopes that her study can help further research on miRNAs so that scientists may better understand and address various cancers.
Ms. Liu plays varsity tennis and is president of Science Bowl, Math Club, and the Science Olympiad. She was a gold medal winner in the National Spanish Exam and a winner in the National Council of Teachers of English Superior Writing contest, as well as third place winner in the 2009 Intel ISEF in Cellular/Molecular Biology. She credits well-written science books for children for her early interest in the field. A senior, Ms. Liu plans to pursue aerospace engineering or nuclear engineering in college.
$ 30,000 Winner
Detroit Country Day School,
Beverly Hills, Michigan
Linearly Many Faults in (n,k)-star Graphs - Mathematics
Mentor: Dr. Eddie Chan, Oakland University
“My mathematics project can create efficient and fail-proof computing networks.”
Allen Yuan’s mathematics research uses graph theory to explore parallel computing networks. Mr. Yuan examines a network’s ability to function with the presence of faults due to broken computers. His project may help overcome network challenges that arise from faults. Mr. Yuan also creates alternative network structures, which he establishes as viable structures for future parallel computing networks.
Allen Yuan has been interested in math as long as he can remember. “When I was four or five, I would always ask for problems to do, even though I didn't know much math.” This interest became serious in the sixth grade when he participated in the MathCounts program and entered his first competition.
Mr. Yuan is an accomplished pianist and won first prize in the Eastman International Piano Competition. In his free time, he plays recitals at local senior centers. Mr. Yuan also enjoys playing tennis. The senior plans to study mathematics and piano performance in college. “My dream job is to become a mathematics professor in order to share my love of mathematics with others and hopefully change their lives for the better.”
$ 20,000 Winner
Henry M. Gunn Senior High School,
Palo Alto, California
Accounting for Cross-talk between Signaling Pathways Identifies Novel Model for Early and Late Post-transplant Acute Rejection - Bioengineering
Mentor: Dr. Purvesh Khatri, Post Doctoral Scholar, Stanford University
“I have always loved math and science for the analytical and creative challenge, whether in problem-solving, engineering, or scientific research.”
In his bioinformatics project Andrew Liu used pathway analysis to make it easier to draw a conclusion from a large volume of data. He used this technique to compare transplant data from samples that rejected the organ to those that did not. More accurate pathway analysis could benefit many fields of biology, because the wealth of unanalyzed data spans disciplines from transplants to cancer. Mr. Liu estimates he spent 600 hours on his project.
Mr. Liu, a senior, is a winner of the Intel Excellence in Computer Science award and a two-time qualifier for the USA Math Olympiad. President of the school speech and debate club and co-president of the math club, Mr. Liu was named his school’s Student of the Year. Fluent in Mandarin, he is co-editor-in-chief of his school’s student-run political magazine. Mr. Liu hopes to study computer engineering, economics and business in college and to become an executive specializing in high-tech for a philanthropic company.
$ 10,000 Winner
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology,
An Image Processing System for Enhancing Perceptual Visibility of Imagery - Computer Science
Mentor: Dr. Mark A. Livingston, US Naval Research Laboratory
“With only a few keystrokes, I am able to create computer games and intelligent systems that can play them.”
Caelan Garrett’s computer science project attempts to improve on simulations of human optical processing in a new image processing system. Mr. Garrett explores the Retinex algorithm, an equation that allows computers to model how human eye and brain processes images. He adapts the algorithm to a new system that can enhance images obstructed by smoke, fog, shadows and haze. His research could potentially be used to increase air and marine transportation safety through improved visibility, improve the range of night vision goggles, and enhance commercial imagery.
Mr. Garrett developed a passion for computer science during his freshman year. “I am fascinated with the fields of machine learning and computer vision, namely creating silicon life.” He also became interested in robotics after experimenting with Lego Mindstorms at a US Naval Academy summer program. As captain of the varsity Botball Robotics team, Mr. Garrett led his team to victory for two consecutive years. He also tutors middle school students in robotics. This senior is co-director of two a cappella groups and has performed in a number of musicals. Mr. Garrett aspires to become a computer science researcher and work with artificial intelligence and cognitive robotics.
$ 102,000 Winners
A Study of Nearest Neighbor Distances on a Circle: Multidimensional Case - Mathematics
Mentor: Dr. Pavel Bleher, Professor, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
“Our mathematical physics project provides deeper insight into the fundamental nature of molecular behavior.”
In their project, Jeffrey Shen, Youkow Homma and Lyndon Ji take a mathematical approach to one of the most fundamental problems in quantum theory: the quantum harmonic oscillator. The quantum harmonic oscillator is the adaptation to an atomic scale of the classical harmonic oscillator, which describes the movement of a weight on a spring. The motions of both of these oscillators are controlled by a physical parameter, the spring constant. The team studied the behavior of the oscillator with spring constants forming a mathematically special set of numbers, called badly approximable. Their results provide deeper insight into the behavior of the quantum harmonic oscillator.
Park Tudor School,
“The beauty of mathematics has always attracted me, as the premise of mathematics is straightforward, transparent and rigorous.”
Senior Jeffrey Shen, a National AP Scholar and Cum Laude Commendee, has participated in many math and science competitions, including the US Mathematical, Physics, and Computing Olympiads. He is a 2010 Research Science Institute scholar and winner of the 2010 Rensselaer Medal. A math tutor and active member of his church youth group, Mr. Shen is also an accomplished pianist and two-time gold medalist in the Indiana State Piano Competition. After studying mathematics and computer science he hopes to become a professor and research scientist.
Carmel High School,
“Geometry was my first love. Ever since I could walk, I enjoyed seeing and experimenting with how different shapes interacted with each another.”
Youkow Homma is an AP Scholar, member of student government, and vice president of the Math Club. A junior, he is fluent in Japanese and plays the flute in his school wind ensemble. Mr. Homma has participated in MathCounts, USA Mathematics Olympiad and the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program. He plans to study mathematics and physics in college and to pursue a career that allows him to utilize mathematical and physics tools to solve practical problems that apply to everyday life.
Carmel High School,
“I began math at a young age with my father, inevitably leading to an interest in the subject.”
Junior Lyndon Ji’s favorite subject in school are economics and physics. He has participated in MathCounts and USA Mathematics Olympiad and enjoys ping-pong. Mr. Ji plays the piano and violin and is a member of his school orchestra and Share the Music club. He is still considering his college and career options.
$ 52,000 Winners
Montgomery Blair High School,
Silver Spring, Maryland
The Duplicator-Spoiler Game for an Ordinal Number of Turns - Mathematics (Dr. William Gasarch)
“At the beginning of the project we did not know nearly enough math to complete it. We read several texts in mathematics and learned a lot about linear orderings, the ordinals, logic and logical systems, proof approaches in combinatorics, abstract algebra and graph theory.”
In their project, James Pinkerton and Rafael Setra investigated Duplicator-Spoiler Games, a method of comparing the properties of structures defined by base sets and relations. The team chose to investigate these games because of their connection to logic and logical expressibility. In their project, the game length was delayed to allow more freedom to distinguish structures, giving previously dead-end games new interest. Mr. Pinkerton and Mr. Setra’s work could be applicable to graph theory and other areas of mathematics, as well as to comparisons between different computer programs to determine their equivalency.
Hometown: Chevy Chase, Maryland
“I love mathematics, especially discrete mathematics.”
Mr. Pinkerton, a senior, is the president of the Chess Club and a member of the National Honors Society and French Honors Society. Fluent in French, Mr. Pinkerton single sculls on the Potomac and plays chess and Go competitively. He teaches chess as a volunteer in several programs in his county and in inner-city Washington, DC. He also teaches mathematics to underclassmen. He credits his father, who taught him “fun mathematics, not the dreary algebra of secondary school,” with nurturing his love for the subject. Mr. Pinkerton would like to study mathematics in college and to become a university professor.
Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland
“Mathematics is one of my favorite subjects. I really wanted to go in depth and see how far I could get.”
Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mr. Setra moved to the US when he was eight years old. A senior, Mr. Setra speaks Portuguese and Spanish. He is part of Operation Fly, National Honors Society and the Martial Arts Club. A volunteer at Viers Mill Elementary School, Mr. Setra plays Starcraft 2 and non-competitive football. He would like to study mathematics, engineering and computer science and to become a college professor.
$ 42,000 Winners
Engineering Nanoscale Biosensors with Thermoreversible Hydrogels for a Dual Therapy of Cancer Detection and Tumor-Targeted Drug Delivery - Materials Science/Nanoscience
Mentor:Dr. Miriam Rafailovich, Distinguished Professor, Stony Brook University
“Despite the progress that has been made towards improving survival rates, cancer continues to be the second most devastating disease in the U.S.”
In their project, the team of Santhosh Narayan, Nikhil Mehandru and Sonya Prasad set out to engineer a chip-based platform with the potential to detect and treat cancer. The team first created a bio sensor to recognize and measure the amounts of proteins and biomarkers related to specific types of cancer. In the second phase of their research, they synthesized a gel and attached a platform to provide controlled release of a chemotherapeutic drug. Their research could potentially help integrate diagnosis and treatment of cancer into one simple, economical step.
Munster High School,
“My dream job is one where I can advance the prospects of mankind through the synergy of technology and aspects of business and law.”
Santhosh Narayan has always viewed cancer as an "invincible mythical beast that terrorizes humans worldwide." His desire to conduct cancer research was awakened when the illness affected a number of people close to him. This senior is President of his School's DECA Chapter, a Captain on his school's Debate Team, a member of the chess team and loves to play many sports during his freetime including basketball, football, and soccer. He also was a member of his school's We the People Team that placed 8th nationwide and participated in piano recitals in nursing homes. Mr. Narayan plans to study biomedical engineering, biochemistry and finance in college and pursue a career that combines technology and business.
Roslyn High School,
Roslyn, New York
“After my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I decided to pursue a research project targeted towards both cancer detection and therapy.”
Nikhil Mehandru, a senior, was raised in a family of physicians and exposed to the field at a young age. As a student, Mr. Mehandru was able to combine his childhood fascination with medicine with his passion for engineering. He enjoys model building and graphic design, works as a volunteer EMT, and has shadowed a practicing neurologist. A 2009 Siemens Competition Semifinalist, Mr. Mehandru is a National AP Scholar, a National Finalist in the 2010 BioGENEius Competition, and has co-authored two peer-reviewed abstracts on cardiac research. He plans to study biology and biomedical engineering in college and would like to become an oncology researcher.
The Wheatley School,
Old Westbury, New York
“Learning how cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States sparked my interest in researching cancer therapy.”
Sonya Prasad, a senior, is president of her school’s intercultural unity club. An All-State Orchestra and All-State Chorale musician who serves as a volunteer viola teacher, Ms. Prasad also enjoys classical Indian singing and dance. She is editor in chief of her school literary magazine and secretary of Model United Nations/World Affairs Club. Ms. Prasad plans to study biochemistry in college and aspires to lead a nonprofit organization aimed at helping those in need.
$ 32,000 Winners
Cellular Automata to More Efficiently Compute the Collatz Map - Mathematics
Mentor: Guanghua Chen, Harland Clarke Senior Software Engineer
“Our project has the potential to improve understanding of computer algorithm design and computational theory.”
In their research, Sitan Chen and Tianqi Wu explore the Collatz Conjuncture, a famous unsolved mathematical claim regarded by mathematicians as deceptively simple-looking yet notoriously difficult. The team addresses the problem in an unconventional manner by using computer programs to simulate its mathematical processes. Their research has potential applications in exposing flaws in the security of Internet-based financial transactions and may provide solutions to major open problems in number theory.
Northview High School,
Johns Creek, Georgia
“Mathematics has always appealed to me because results in math, unlike those in science, can never be disputed.”
Mr. Chen has been enthralled with mathematics since middle school. “I discovered for the first time the joy that derived from finding the ideal solution to a particularly challenging problem.” This high school junior is an accomplished pianist and violinist who has performed twice at Carnegie Hall. He enjoys fencing and volunteering at his local library and has won awards at the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair and the FBLA State and National Leadership Conferences. Mr. Chen plans to study mathematics, aerospace engineering and music in college and aspires to become a university professor.
Parkview High School,
“Conducting mathematics research was a novel and enlightening experience.”
Mr. Wu, a senior, is president of his school math team and ranks first in his class of 575 students. He was born in Shanghai, China, where he lived for 14 years before coming to the United States. Mr. Wu recalls a science book first turning him on to mathematics and science as a child. He is a member of Mu Alpha Seta and enjoys Choi Kwang Do martial arts, discussing philosophy, and reading fantasy fiction. He plans to major in mathematics and would like to become a research mathematician.
$ 22,000 Winners
From Wastewater to Hydrogen: Microbial Community Structure for Electrohydrogenesis - Biochemistry
Mentor: Dr. Joy D. Van Nostrand, University of Oklahoma
“The current energy crises along with statistics on wasteful energy usage practices worldwide lead us to think about different strategies to produce efficient clean energy.”
Benjamin Zhou and Zhongshi Wang’s project was inspired by the current energy crisis and the need for alternative energy sources. Convinced that bioenergy offers a viable alternative to conventional petroleum-based energy sources, Mr. Zhou and Mr. Wang observed ways to increase efficiency of microbial electrolysis cells (MEC), a new technology developed for hydrogen production using wastewater. The team’s microbiology project has the potential to provide clean, efficient, alternative hydrogen-based energy which would help decrease reliance on fossil fuels and aid in the treatment of waste water.
Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics,
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
“I would like to do scientific work which will make the world a better place for people to live.”
Benjamin Zhou is a member of Mu Alpha Theta and his high school’s math, academic and debate teams. Fluent in Chinese and Spanish, he is part of the National Honor Society as well as the Spanish Honor Society. A junior, Mr. Zhou participated in the Oklahoma High School Tournament of Champions, where he competed in chemistry and placed first regional and fourth in the state. In his free time, he volunteers as a martial arts teacher and enjoys piano, chess and break dancing. He is interested in studying chemistry, biology, physics, math and computer science and would like to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a scientist.
Norman North High School,
“My parents have always pushed me to challenge myself, which is what led me to take the classes that intensified my interests in math and science.”
As a child growing up in Beijing, China, Zhongshi Wang was always interested in science. A senior, Mr. Wang is a National Merit Semifinalist and has had work published in Aerie International, a journal that publishes work from students worldwide. Winner of the 2009 President's Gold Volunteer Service award, Mr. Wang is co-founder of the Chinese Youth Academy and vice president of the National Forensics League, where he obtained the rank of Outstanding Distinction. Mr. Wang would like to study biochemistry, microbiology, business and/or political science and hopes to one day become a scientist.