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On March 16, 2004 Intel Corporation and Society for Science & the Public awarded the top 10 college scholarship awards for the Intel Science Talent Search (STS) at a black-tie banquet in Washington, D.C.
Herbert Mason Hedberg, Massachusetts
First Place: $100,000
Herbert Mason Hedberg, 17, of North Attleboro, experimented with the telomerase enzyme found in cancer cells for his Intel Science Talent Search project in biochemistry. Inspired by reading an article on the role of telomerase in cancer cell proliferation-at a time when his grandmother was undergoing cancer treatment-Mason set out to develop a faster, more efficient method to screen for telomerase inhibitors and rank their potency as potential tumor suppressors. The standard method for analyzing telomerase inhibitors requires a multiple-day procedure involving telomerase isolation and hazardous reagents, but Mason's analysis, using a novel dialysis chamber that he invented (provisional patent application) and telomerase synthesized by in vitro gene expression, makes analysis by UV absorbance possible after an approximately 10-minute incubation. At North Attleboro High School, Mason has lettered in swimming and is president of the National Honor Society and science club. He is the founder of "Exciting Elementary Science," a program designed to encourage scientific curiosity. The son of Herbert Hedberg and Dr. Cynthia Hjerpe, he hopes to attend Brown University.
Boris Alexeev, Georgia
Second Place: $75,000
Boris Alexeev, 17, of Athens, addresses a problem in the theory of automata, the mathematical basis for the field of pattern matching or recognition, for his Intel Science Talent Search project in computer science. Boris, who has submitted his work for publication, believes he has discovered the answer to a problem often given in introductory automata texts concerning minimized deterministic finite automata (DFA). Boris believes by studying minimization of DFAs, thereby reducing the number of states in a program's algorithm, they can be made to use less memory and run faster. His work could be used for applications ranging from deciphering the genome and DNA sequencing to speech processing and optical character recognition. After graduating from Cedar Shoals High School, Boris plans to attend Harvard or MIT. A native of Russia, Boris is a member of the school math club and has helped run an annual statewide mathematics competition for high school students, even contributing numerous test questions. An avid rock climber, who earned second place in the UGA Bouldering Competition, he also enjoys coin collecting. Boris is the son of Dr. Valery and Natalia Alexeev.
Ryna Karnik, Oregon
Third Place: $50,000
Ryna Karnik, 17, of Aloha, submitted an Intel Science Talent Search project in engineering describing a method of constructing microchips using a focused ion beam (FIB) as a "molecular pencil" to directly "write" transistors onto silicon wafers. This is a departure from traditional methods, which involve a process called photolithography. Using her patent-pending technique, she created a working transistor. Applications of her findings could save microchip developers time and money when creating and testing prototype semiconductor chips. At Oregon Episcopal School in Portland, Ryna enjoys varsity fencing, dressage, aikido and tutoring disadvantaged elementary school students in physics. As a freshman, she built a particle accelerator from an old Van de Graaff generator. She counts among her many honors, several engineering awards at the 2003 Intel ISEF as well as qualifying as a Junior Olympics competitor in sabre fencing. Although Ryna plans to study pre-med at Stanford and eventually complete an M.D./Ph.D. program, she says she is an engineer at heart, who hopes to become a medical researcher. Ryna is the daughter of Milind and Parizad Karnik.
Linda Brown Westrick, Virginia
Fourth Place: $25,000
Linda Brown Westrick, 18, of Mechanicsville, submitted an Intel Science Talent Search project in mathematics concerning the "number derivative," a concept introduced in a recent mathematics contest, which is analogous to the familiar calculus derivative. Linda developed fundamental properties of this new derivative and its relationship to factorization of integers. She further extended the notion to the rational numbers and analyzed solutions to the differential equations x'=a and x'=ax, where x' is the number derivative of x. After graduating from Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond, Linda hopes to attend Harvard eventually earning her doctorate in mathematics. She is founder and president of the school's math club, project manager for the robotics club, and active in QuizBowl. Linda's many interests include swing dancing, varsity soccer, piano, weightlifting, building calculators out of transistors and programming computers. Fluent in German, she says she would like to learn many languages because each one allows her to think differently. The daughter of John and Anne Westrick, Linda took a spiritual pilgrimage to Lakota holy lands two summers ago.
Eduard Reznik, New York
Fifth Place: $25,000
Eduard Reznik, 17, of East Setauket, entered a physics project in the Intel Science Talent Search describing his discovery of new families of solutions to Einstein's equations for certain types of stars that do not rotate. Some of the densest matter in the universe is concentrated within the centers of neutron stars and quark-matter stars, also called strange stars. Yet the internal structure of these stars is still a matter of controversy in the astrophysical community. To complete his project, Ed developed from scratch a computer code in Mathematica, a science programming language. His analytical solutions provide a simple set of functions describing various properties of these compact stars, including mass, energy density and pressure. First in his class of 596 at Ward Melville High School, Ed enjoys the philosophy, science, math and engineering clubs as well as ultimate frisbee, the Long Island diplomacy club and alternative modes of music. The Ukraine-born senior, who is fluent in Russian, hopes to study electrical engineering at Cooper Union. The son of Grigory and Edita Reznik, Ed would like to help find a more efficient means of data communication through research in nanoelectronics.
Jayne Frances Wolfson, New York
Sixth Place: $25,000
Jayne Frances Wolfson, 18, of Armonk, entered a behavioral and social sciences project in the Intel Science Talent Search that studied cognitive development in toddlers from the view of "pretend play." The experiment tested toddlers' ability to engage in pretend situations and remember those situations after two weeks. This experiment lead Jayne to propose that children's understanding of reality versus pretend play develops in four stages, a progression sequence for cognitive development that must happen for a child to understand the difference between what is real and what is pretend. At Byram Hills High School, Jayne is a member of the student board that plans social activities, is a mathematics tutor for a local middle school, plays on the field hockey team, and was elected captain of the JV lacrosse team. She is a member of the National Cum Laude Society and the National Foreign Language Honors Society. An accomplished dancer, she is a member of the Acadettes, an invitation-only tap dance group and a member of the Westchester Theater Dance Performing Troupe. The daughter of Robert Wolfson and Susan Anderson, Jayne hopes to attend Columbia, Northwestern or USC.
Qilei Hang, Maryland
Seventh Place: $20,000
Qilei Hang, 18, of Cumberland, was named a finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search for her engineering project in materials handling. On a quarry tour, she had been intrigued by the materials stacking and reclamation process, in which stored material is drawn from cone-shaped stockpiles by tunnel conveyors. Qilei wondered how to best locate the drawpoints to reclaim the maximum amount of material and how to calculate it. To find design solutions, she used mathematical modeling to develop new equations and built miniature stockpiles to test their validity. Her equations, increasing efficiency by about 20%, are already being used in the field, and her work has been recognized by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration. Qilei is first in her class of 200 at Allegany High School, where she competes in tennis and track, and on the math and debate teams. She is principal cellist in the senior all-county and community orchestras, and her numerous awards include a first place in her category at the 2003 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Qilei was born in China and is the daughter of Youhong Hang and Weixing Han. She plans to study physics and biochemistry at Harvard.
Ann Chi, Indiana
Eighth Place: $20,000
Ann Chi, 17, of Terre Haute, used computational chemistry methods to examine the fundamental but complex reactions of the yttrium metal atom (Y) with ethane (C2H6) for her Intel Science Talent Search project in chemistry. Ann's computational study projects the intermediate transition state structures and potential energy surface involved in the Y+ C2H6 reactions. Her research is the theoretical counterpart to experimental studies performed elsewhere and suggests an alternative mechanism to the one proposed by laboratory experimentalists. First in her class of 388 at Terre Haute South Vigo High School, Ann is on the golf team and serves as president of the math and Latin clubs. Winner of numerous awards in music and math, she was a national finalist in the Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee and an Indiana Academic All-State golfer. An accomplished musician, she is second violinist of the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra and concertmaster for the Crossroads of America Youth Symphony. Ann, who has perfect SAT scores, is the daughter of Dr. Henjin Chi and Yuli Lo Chi and hopes to attend Harvard, eventually earning her doctorate in aerospace engineering.
Andrei Munteanu, District of Columbia
Ninth Place: $20,000
Andrei Munteanu, 18, of Washington, D.C., was selected as a finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search for his earth and space sciences project in celestial mechanics. Andrei invented a new algorithm for computing the minimum distance between elliptical orbits, using analytical tools involving calculus, 3D Euclidean geometry, algebraic manipulations and numerical analysis. He not only used existing computer programs, but also wrote his own C++ code. His numerical algorithm, successfully tested on 70,000 main-body asteroids, can be used to determine the mass of asteroids, and predict collisions between asteroids and between Earth and minor bodies (asteroids, comets or meteorites). He coauthored a paper on his findings, which was presented at the 2003 meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division on Dynamical Astronomy. Andrei is first in his class of 92 at Benjamin Banneker High School, and competes on the varsity "It's Academic" team. He has received numerous science and math awards and is a published poet. Andrei was born in Romania and is the son of Alexandru and Daniela Munteanu. He hopes to continue his studies at MIT.
Gordon L. Su, Maryland
Tenth Place: $20,000
Gordon L. Su, 17, of Silver Spring, analyzed globalization's impact on income inequality in China for his behavioral and social science entry in the Intel Science Talent Search. Using trade, privatization and foreign investment as parameters of globalization, he developed a series of equations that he used to study the impact of globalization on urban-rural population and coastal-interior province inequality and the overlap between them. Gordon looked at four time periods: 1978-2001, for a broad picture; and three periods within that time frame marking distinct economic policy changes. Among his many conclusions: globalization has been good for China; globalization was higher and urban-rural inequality was lower in coastal provinces; and differences in degrees of coastal and interior globalization have contributed to inequality. A violinist and skateboarder, Gordon attends Montgomery Blair High School where he is co-captain of the tennis team and co-founder of the book club. Skilled in debate and passionate about politics, he interviewed the Australian prime minister for Australian TV. The son of Dr. Jow-Lih Su and Ie-Ru Wang, he plans to study economics at the University of Pennsylvania.
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