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On March 13, 2007 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.
Mary Masterman, Oklahoma
First Place: $100,000
Mary Masterman, 17, of Oklahoma City, submitted a physics project to the Intel Science Talent Search describing the spectrograph system she built for $300 at home (commercial units can cost $20,000 to $100,000). Mary found that machining the parts and aligning the optics (lenses from a microscope and a camera) were particularly challenging. Her Littrow spectrograph splits light, like a prism, and uses a camera to record the resulting Raman spectra - a specific vibrational fingerprint of the molecular compound being investigated. Using a laser as her light source, Mary tested several household objects and solvents and compared her results to published wave numbers. Despite the shortcomings of the inexpensive laser, she found she could make relatively accurate wavelength measurements with her homemade device. Author of a poster presentation about the Raman Effect at an American Astronomical Society conference and winner of numerous science honors, Mary is ranked first of 658 at Westmoore High School. She plays the piano, harp and flute, and she enjoys birdwatching and painting. The daughter of John and Patti Masterman, Mary is hoping to enroll at MIT or CalTech.
John Vincent Pardon, North Carolina
Second Place: $75,000
John Vincent Pardon, 17, of Chapel Hill, researched the unfolding of simple closed curves for his Intel Science Talent Search project in mathematics. John showed that any rectifiable closed curve can be deformed via an expansive motion to form a convex set. For a curve to be convex, the line joining any two points in the curve must not cross the curve. John's result can be understood by thinking of a loop of string with the ends connected, lying on a table, with no crossings: he showed it is possible to move this into a convex shape without allowing any two points to come closer to each other. This result was known for polygons; John used a new approach to extend the result to a wide range of shapes. At Durham Academy, John participates in track and cross country. He plays cello in the Honors All State Orchestra, was one of the top 25 algorithm writers in the TopCoder competition, and received a gold prize at the 2005 and 2006 International Olympiads in Informatics. A robotics apprentice in 2005, John spent last summer on an organic farm in Costa Rica. The son of Dr. William and Joyce Pardon, John hopes to study math and computer science at CalTech or Princeton.
Dmitry Vaintrob, Oregon
Third Place: $50,000
Dmitry Vaintrob, 18, of Eugene, submitted a mathematics project to the Intel Science Talent Search exploring the relationship between two algebraic structures built from the same topological object. One of these, called "loop homology," is built from continuous maps from a circle into any well-behaved space X. (Well-behaved here means that X must be a closed oriented smooth manifold.) Loop homology is difficult to compute, but Mitka showed that in many cases it is isomorphic to the Hochschild cohomology of the fundamental group. At South Eugene High School, Mitka enjoys running, Nordic skiing, learning foreign languages, classical literature and poetry. Born in Russia and fluent in the language, he participates in Russian theater. Mitka has won numerous and multiple math honors; he received the state's top score in the American Math Competition two years running and was twice named one of sixteen Junior Fellows at the Clay Mathematics Research Academy. The son of Drs. Arkady Vaintrob and Julia Nemirovskaya, Mitka hopes to study pure mathematics at Harvard or MIT and one day become a research mathematician and university educator.
Catherine Schlingheyde, New York
Fourth Place: $25,000
Catherine Schlingheyde, 17, of Oyster Bay, submitted an Intel Science Talent Search project in biochemistry that researched microRNA repression pathways. Catherine undertook a large-scale structural and functional protein study (proteomic approach) using MudPIT, a combination of liquid chromotography and mass spectrometry, which led to the identification of multiple proteins. These small proteins interacted with Argonaute, a protein vital to the RNA interference pathway, which binds to messenger RNA and can inhibit genetic code translation. Catherine also identified the possible association of Argonaute and components of spindle checkpoint, a specific biological mechanism that may lead to chromosomal instability and cancer. Catherine attends Oyster Bay High School, where she has participated in varsity badminton and received numerous awards for her accomplishments in math, science and French. In her spare time she enjoys chess, snowboarding, yoga and bellydance and spent a summer volunteering at a local soup kitchen. The daughter of John and Meryl Schlingheyde, she hopes to attend Case Western Reserve or MIT and pursue a career as a virologist.
Rebecca Kaufman, New York
Fifth Place: $25,000
Rebecca Kaufman, 17, of Croton-on-Hudson, examined the effects of hormone replacement therapy on behavior to better understand the underlying mechanisms of schizophrenia for the medicine and health project she entered in the Intel Science Talent Search. Rebecca used a novel application of the Object Recognition task to study aspects of cognition in male rats that are similar to prefrontal cortex (PFC) processes at risk in people with schizophrenia. She developed her own procedure for quantifying and comparing the observed and recorded actions of various treatment groups. Subjects included previously neutered rats that had received no hormone replacement or had received either testosterone or estrogen. Her findings indicate that without androgens (steroid hormones that increase male characteristics), PFC function in male rats is weakened. She believes this suggests that androgen replacement therapy might be beneficial in treating negative symptoms of human schizophrenia. At Croton-Harmon High School, Rebecca is treasurer of her class and writes for the literary magazine and newspaper. The daughter of Steven and Robin Kaufman, she hopes to attend UC Berkeley or Brown.
Gregory Drew Brockman, North Dakota
Sixth Place: $25,000
Gregory Drew Brockman, 18, of Thompson, submitted a mathematics project to the Intel Science Talent Search in which he studied the set of Ducci sequences, also known as the four-number game. To play the game, start with a sequence of four numbers a, b, c, d, and replace it with the sequence ¦a - b¦, ¦b - c¦, ¦c - d¦, ¦d - a¦, and go again. Greg considered the game in which a, b, c and d are real numbers. He described the asymptotic behavior of this game and of its higher dimensional analogues. In many instances the sequence converges to, and often arrives at, all zeroes. At Red River High School in Grand Forks, Greg is first in his class of 298. Involved in the math, science and Latin clubs, he has earned local, state, regional and national awards for his achievements. Greg was one of four American students who attended the 2006 International Chemistry Olympiad in South Korea, where he earned a silver medal. He enjoys Ultimate Frisbee, snowboarding, and is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. The son of Dr. Ronald Brockman and Dr. Ellen Feldman, he plans to pursue a career at MIT or Harvey Mudd College as a math or physics researcher.
Megan Marie Blewett, New Jersey
Seventh Place: $20,000
Megan Marie Blewett, 17, of Madison, entered the Intel Science Talent Search with a medicine and health project that is the biochemical phase of a multi-year effort focused on multiple sclerosis (MS) and potentially related diseases. Through five years of geo-spatial statistical research, she had discovered significant geographic overlap between populations with MS and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and wanted to find a biochemical basis. She chose to study a protein, neuregulin-1 (NRG1), thought to be a susceptibility gene for these disorders. By using small molecule microarray analysis, she discovered five candidate ligands (compounds that bind with the target protein), whose structures could help elucidate NRG1 isoform (protein derivative) function and aid in designing better therapeutic options. The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, where her experiments were conducted, is using her preliminary results to launch additional studies. A frequent award winner, Megan plays varsity tennis at Madison High School. She studies Mandarin Chinese, plays in a flute orchestra and has a brown belt in karate. The daughter of Drs. Charles Blewett and Margaret Kilduff, she hopes to attend Harvard or MIT.
Daniel Adam Handlin, New Jersey
Eighth Place: $20,000
Daniel Adam Handlin, 17, of Lincroft, entered the Intel Science Talent Search with a space science project that demonstrated an accurate, low-cost method of optically determining the position of geostationary Earth-orbit (GEO) satellites. In his study, he simultaneously used two amateur-class, widely separated, networked telescopes, and was able to calculate altitude results for GEO satellites that are identical to that of a state-of-the-art $20-$30 million radar system with an error of less than 0.1 percent. He believes his optical tracking method could yield better computer models for orbiting spacecraft, leading to longer satellite life, reduced costs and more accurate determination of where a terminal-phase satellite will fall to earth. Dan attends High Technology High School, where he is co-captain of the academic team, was founder of the school's Consortium Model UN Club and edits the astronomy club newsletter, Spectrogram. Dan has perfect SAT scores and has earned many science competition and astronomy awards. The son of Drs. David and Amy Handlin, he hopes to attend Harvard or MIT and pursue a career in his long-term interests, astrophysics or aerospace engineering.
Meredith Ann MacGregor, Colorado
Ninth Place: $20,000
Meredith Ann MacGregor, 18, of Boulder, investigated the Brazil Nut Effect, a phenomenon in which shaken granular particles separate out by size with the largest on top, for her physics Intel Science Talent Search project. To test the fluid-like phenomena of these particles in her home basement laboratory, Meredith constructed containers of Lucite®, both rectangular and cylindrical, that could vibrate vertically. She filled each container with granular materials ranging in size from 0.5 mm glass beads to 3.0 mm tapioca pearls. She tracked the motion of a large "intruder" particle among smaller granules through computer modeling and experiments. She concluded that, although vibration-induced convection flow contributes to particle size separation, the effect of air flow through the granules when shaken is key to understanding this phenomenon. First in her class of 444 at Fairview High School, Meredith competes in varsity cross country and track, enjoys playing the violin and sailing. The daughter of Dr. Keith and Kathryn MacGregor, Meredith received an Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award at Intel ISEF in 2006 for her work in physics. She hopes to attend Harvard or Princeton.
Emma Kathryn Call, Maryland
Tenth Place: $20,000
Emma Kathryn Call, 18, of Baltimore, entered the Intel Science Talent Search with an engineering project focused on the fabrication of bioabsorbable three-dimensional (3D) microcontainers/microcubes for use in specific cell encapsulation and as chemical delivery vehicles. She developed a novel fabrication strategy to create hollow 3D cubes from two-dimensional (2D) precursors. Utilizing microengineering techniques, she fabricated a nickel-based 2D precursor with both solder- and polymer-based hinges. When the hinge is heated, the precursor folds into the 3D container in a self-assembly process that resembles origami on a microscale. To overcome bio-incompatibility, polymer hinges were used for microcube assembly in the presence of mouse fibroblast cells. This suggests the possibility of fabricating microcubes loaded with biological cells or drugs. Emma believes these tiny cubes can be used for tissue replacement and to treat diseases such as diabetes. She has authorship of two peer-reviewed papers and various abstracts, and is captain of the swim team at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. The daughter of Jeffrey and Diana Call, she hopes to attend Case Western Reserve or Johns Hopkins.
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