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On March 14, 2006 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.
Shannon Lisa Babb, Utah
First Place: $100,000
Shannon Lisa Babb, 18, of Highland, entered the Intel Science Talent Search with an environmental science project identifying water quality problems along the Spanish Fork River and its tributaries. For six months, Shannon collected water samples, measured several chemical and physical parameters, tested for E. coli, and collected macroinvertebrates at seven sites. Her data indicated that all seven sites exceeded Utah EPA guidelines for cold-water fisheries at some point during the study. She concluded that human activity was clearly the major factor causing the decline in water quality. She believes the trend can be reversed if proper remediation action is taken. Shannon's interest in water pollution began at age 13 when she tested the rivers near Utah Lake and discovered the most polluted was the Spanish Fork River. First in her class of 482 at American Fork High School, Shannon enjoys choir, piano, 4-H and the fantasy writers club. An avid spelunker, she has volunteered during the past three summers at the Timpanogos Cave. To prepare for a career improving water quality around the world, Shannon plans to attend Utah State or University of Utah. She is the daughter of Dr. Stephen and Anita Babb.
Yi Sun, California
Second Place: $75,000
Yi Sun, 17, of San Jose, submitted an Intel Science Talent Search project in mathematics that involves the winding number of a function, which, in the case of the plane, is the number of times it encircles the origin. The functions he considers are discrete random walks on the set of points in the plane with integer coordinates. A random walk here is a sequence of vertices such that with equal probability 1/4, a vertex in the sequence will be followed by the vertex directly above, below, to the left, or to the right of it. Yi asked how many steps one expects to take, in order to wind around the origin; he shows that this expected number of steps is infinite. A student at The Harker School, Yi reads French and Chinese fluently, captains the Quiz and Science Bowls, and enjoys swimming on the varsity team. Recipient of gold medals at international Olympiads in physics and math, he also received several awards in French and first place in the Mandelbrot Math Competition in 2005. The son of Dr. Lizhong Sun and Tianjing Shen, Yi was born in China. After completing mathematics studies at Harvard or MIT, he hopes to become a professor or research scientist.
Yuan Zhang, Maryland
Third Place: $50,000
Yuan Zhang, 17, of Derwood, submitted a project in medicine and health to the Intel Science Talent Search. Chelsea studied the molecular mechanisms behind atherosclerosis, or arterial plaque buildup, a disease in which lipid-laden macrophages - fat-filled white blood cells - build up in the vessel wall. The cell-adhesion chemokine molecule CX3CL1 has been implicated in the process. In her study using human cells, Chelsea demonstrated that the adhesion of macrophages to arterial muscle cells was largely CX3CL1-dependent and that components of oxidized lipids increased its expression. She believes targeting the upregulation of CX3CL1 by oxidized lipids could yield drug treatments for atherosclerosis. Chelsea has perfect SAT scores in critical reading, math and writing and has earned numerous awards in writing, science and math. She hopes to attend MIT or Harvard and pursue a career applying information technology to research. She is managing features editor of the school newspaper and co-president of the computer team at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring. The daughter of Ruiqiu Zhang and Jingfen Wu, Chelsea was born in China and is fluent in Chinese.
Nicholas Michael Wage, Wisconsin
Fourth Place: $25,000
Nicholas Michael Wage, 17, of Appleton, studied generalized Paley graphs, an important class of graphs, for his Intel Science Talent Search project in mathematics. Given a prime p such that 4 divides p-1, we obtain a Paley graph by taking as vertices the integers (0, 1, ..., p-1), with an edge between x and y just in case x - y is a square modulo p. These, together with similarly defined graphs and directed graphs form the class called "generalized Paley." In the case above, when p - 1 is divisible by 4, Nick found the asymptotic limit, as p increases, for the number of complete subgraphs of a fixed size. He showed that this limit equaled that which Paul Erd"s (incorrectly) conjectured for all graphs. Nick also counted the number of three cycles for members of the larger family of generalized Paley graphs. His proofs used results from number theory, including Weil's deep theorem on the Riemann Hypothesis for finite fields. Nick, who attends Appleton East High School, earned 800s on his critical reading and math SAT scores. His paper is published in the journal Integers. Son of Drs. Michael Wage and Kathy Vogel, he plans to study math at Harvard or the University of Wisconsin.
Jerrold Alexander Lieblich, New York
Fifth Place: $25,000
Jerrold Alexander Lieblich, 17, of East Setauket, performed a cognitive psychology study for his Intel Science Talent Search project in behavioral and social sciences. Jerry built his study around an audio-visual illusion called the McGurk effect, in which a subject seeing a person on video pronounce /gi/ while hearing the phoneme /bi/ dubbed over it will perceive /di/. His study tested if the perceived /di/ is processed in the same manner as a true /di/ by placing the illusory /di/ in a lexical context (within a word - e.g. armadillo, armagillo, armabillo). He found that subjects exposed to McGurk stimuli and those exposed to actual /d/ phonemes both had high confidence in the /d/s, demonstrating that even with the lexical context, the brain processes the McGurk /di/ in a different manner than a true /di/. The son of Dr. Lawrence Lieblich and Perri Fitterman, Jerry hopes to attend Princeton or Yale. As president of the Philosophy Club at Ward Melville High School, he led an effort to amend the school's censorship policy to permit greater access to research resources. The winner of numerous math and Latin awards, Jerry is a member of the Latin Honor Society and writes for the school paper.
David Bruce Kelley, New York
Sixth Place: $25,000
David Bruce Kelley, 18, of Highland, submitted a particle physics research project concerning low-energy neutrino detection in liquid neon to the Intel Science Talent Search. David's project explored the brief delay, called trapping time, that electrons experience when they move through the liquid-vapor boundary in cryogenic liquids. Some researchers believe this delay is due to the tunneling effect, which occurs when an electron approaches a potential barrier that it could not pass according to the laws of classical physics. By comparing data published in two journal articles with his experimental measurements, David concluded that both papers have incorrect trapping time predictions and that quantum tunneling is not the primary cause of the electrons' delay. At Highland High School, David enjoys the math and science clubs and is a multiple Science Olympiad medal winner. He is principal French horn in the College/Youth Symphony at SUNY New Paltz, which he joined in eighth grade. A soccer referee, he enjoys music, running, cooking and traveling. David hopes to attend college at MIT or Cornell and become a research scientist. He is the son of Bruce Kelley and Joan deVries Kelley.
Myers Abraham Davis, Maryland
Seventh Place: $20,000
Myers Abraham Davis, 17, of Baltimore, entered the Intel Science Talent Search with a computer sciences project that addressed collision detection for physical simulation applications in high-performance graphics processing units (GPUs). Today's GPUs, commonly called graphics cards, use multiple processors, resulting in significantly faster calculations than a traditional CPU with only one microprocessor. According to Abe, "the CPU has become the bottleneck in the graphics pipeline." His project introduced a novel data structure that addresses problems of collision detection in a format that current GPUs are optimized to handle. To buy a computer for his research, Abe authored a winning grant proposal. At Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Abe is captain of the varsity wrestling team and enjoys Japanese classes. Two years ago, for a class assignment on the history of science, Abe decided to make a movie. He filmed and directed his classmates' skits, and he recorded the guitar soundtrack using his bathtub as a recording studio, noting that it had "surprisingly good acoustics." The son of Michael Davis and Julia Pachal Davis, Abe hopes to attend Carnegie Mellon or Stanford.
Adam Ross Solomon, New York
Eighth Place: $20,000
Adam Ross Solomon, 16, of Bellmore, entered the Intel Science Talent Search with a space science project on brown dwarfs - one of the busiest new fields in astronomy - and established a new methodology for determining their age and mass. Brown dwarfs are too massive to be considered planets, but not massive enough to fuse hydrogen into helium as true stars do. They exhibit significant variation in their near-infrared spectra as they grow progressively dimmer and cooler with time. Adam analyzed light spectra from 53 brown dwarfs, and found that certain features were closely linked to youth, which provided a means to estimate a brown dwarf's age and mass. His findings on age estimation have been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal. Prior to this project, Adam discovered a binary star, research that is also submitted for publication. He is fluent in Hebrew, and his honors include the Richard Sipala Award for Most Distinguished Categorical Project in Earth, Space, Energy. Adam attends John F. Kennedy High School, where he is assistant editor of the school newspaper and runs track. He plans to study astrophysics at Harvard or Caltech, and is the son of Dr. Scott and Edna Solomon.
Evan Scott Gawlik, North Carolina
Ninth Place: $20,000
Evan Scott Gawlik, 17, of Pinehurst, studied the noble gases krypton and argon and the organo-compounds they make with fluorine and chlorine for his chemistry entry in the Intel Science Talent Search. Intrigued by the concept of noble gas bonding, thought to be impossible until the first synthesis of a noble gas compound in 1962, Evan used a quantum mechanics approach and computational programs to project the existence and stability of six potentially new halogen-containing organo-noble gas compounds. He expects these, as oxidative fluorinators, to have potential value in medicine, laser technology and the cosmetics industry. Evan is first author of a paper on his work that was submitted to The Journal of Physical Chemistry Part A. An Eagle Scout and the recipient of numerous academic and music awards, Evan plays French horn with the school orchestra at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science in Denton. He competes in track and is also active in the sports and math clubs, as well as the school's community service organization. Born in Germany to Dr. John and Darlene Gawlik, he hopes to study mathematics and computer science at MIT or Caltech.
Kimberly Megan Scott, Massachusetts
Tenth Place: $20,000
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