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On March 11, 2002 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.
Ryan Randall Patterson, Colorado
First Place: $100,000
Ryan Randall Patterson, 18, of Grand Junction, developed and patented a glove that translates American Sign Language to written text on a portable display device for his Intel Science Talent Search project in engineering. He then built a prototype of his invention for less than $200. Ryan's project is the latest example of a lifelong interest in scientific research, especially in electricity and electronics. By the third grade, he was wiring and soldering circuit boards. By the seventh grade, he had taught himself how to integrate simple microcontrollers into his projects. Now he incorporates high-power, high-speed microcontrollers, such as the one used on his sign language translator. He hopes to continue developing electronic devices, particularly to benefit disabled people. In fact, he became interested in his translator project after observing a group of people signing at a fast food restaurant, and realizing that they needed an interpreter to order their food. At Central High School, Ryan plays piano and percussion instruments and also enjoys mountain biking. He has won numerous honors at regional science fairs as well as the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in 2001. His parents are Randy and Sherry Patterson.
Jacob Licht, Connecticut
Second Place: $75,000
Jacob Licht, 17, of West Hartford, studied Rainbow Ramsey Theory, which says that patterns must exist within disorder, for his Intel Science Talent Search project in mathematics. Traditional Ramsey theory shows that any large set with few colors has a "nice" monochromatic subset. Jacob considers the question of finding a set that involves not one but all colors. He shows that whenever each integer number is colored red, blue or green, and each of the three colors is used more than a sixth of the time, there must exist numbers a, b, c having different colors with a + b = 2c. He is co-author of a paper submitted to the Journal of Combinatorial Theory on the Rainbow Ramsey Theory, which he calls a new branch of combinatorics that parallels Ramsey theory. At William H. Hall High School, Jacob is captain of the math team and a volunteer math tutor. He has earned numerous academic honors in math, chemistry and Latin and has won two talent shows with his Elvis impersonations. In his spare time, he enjoys basketball, weight lifting and magic tournaments. The son of Martha Licht, Jacob, who was born in Israel, plans to study mathematics and physics at MIT or Caltech.
Emily Elizabeth Riehl, Illinois
Third Place: $50,000
Emily Elizabeth Riehl, 17, of Bloomington, submitted a mathematics project on the entity called the Coxeter group to the Intel Science Talent Search. A Coxeter group is an algebraic structure built out of a set of mathematical maps with two special properties: 1) the square of each element of s is the identity, and 2) for any distinct s and t, some power of st is also the identity. (An example of a Coxeter group is the set of all even permutations of a finite set.) Emily associates to each Coxeter group a graph (i.e., a set of vertices with edges joining some of the vertices) and shows that this graph never contains a triangle. She surmises that the graph can be arranged in two sides in such a way that there are no edges between vertices on the same side. First in her class of 146 at University High School in Normal, Illinois, Emily holds letters in cross country, soccer and track and is captain of the cross country team. She is principal violist in the youth symphony and the All-District Orchestra and also plays violin and classical guitar. Among her hobbies are solving puzzles and playing ultimate frisbee. The daughter of Edward and Sarah Riehl, Emily hopes to attend Harvard and eventually earn a doctorate.
Kirsten Linnea Frieda, Texas
Fourth Place: $25,000
Kirsten Linnea Frieda, 17, of Austin, submitted a chemistry project -- a study of molecular interactions and how rotational motion influences molecular forces during collisions -- to the Intel Science Talent Search. She began her study, conducted at Boston University, by teaching herself intermolecular potential energy functions. Kirsten then created ways to describe rotating nonlinear molecules and generated model calculations that simplified the problem without losing the important physical implications. Her mentor plans to incorporate her work into an invited feature paper for the Journal of Physical Chemistry. Kirsten is an accomplished flautist, enjoys swimming and speaks fluent Spanish. Her work in a summer program spawned her avid interest in microbiology. She says she especially enjoyed "watching the circus taking place in my frog's water." Co-president of the math club and captain of the science team for Westlake High School, Kirsten has received numerous honors in chemistry, math, Spanish, English and music. After graduation from college, Kirsten hopes to become a researcher in a chemistry lab. She is the daughter of Kenneth and Lisa Frieda.
Marc Anthony Burrell, Wisconsin
Fifth Place: $25,000
Marc Anthony Burrell, 18, of Glendale, entered the Intel Science Talent Search with a project in environmental science. His research addresses the worldwide problem of heavy metal contamination in soils. As an alternative to the current solution of massive excavation at contaminated sites, Marc explored a new approach that is cost effective and, more importantly to him, environmentally safe. This is phytoextraction, the use of plants for removing metal contamination from soils. In his project, Marc experimented with strains of wheat for extracting lead. He believes that understanding soil and biochemical interactions involved with lead tolerance eventually will lead to the bioengineering of superplants, capable of accumulating between 20 and 30 percent lead in their dry biomass. Besides science, Marc has two other "loves" -- athletics and jazz. He's on both the varsity basketball and football teams at Nicolet High School and plays saxophone in the jazz band. The son of Dr. Daniel and Jenice Burrell, Marc hopes to attend Harvard to become a biomedical scientist, and is particularly interested in working on genetic disorders and other biochemical abnormalities.
Nikita Rozenblyum, New York
Sixth Place: $25,000
Nikita Rozenblyum, 17, of Brooklyn, entered the Intel Science Talent Search with a mathematics project, a study of topology and knot theory. Mathematically speaking, a knot can be described as a topological shape embedded in a space. Nikita studied the family of knots that are nullhomotopic in three-dimensional real projective space. This family includes all knots found inside the sphere. He calculates several important invariants, and he also finds examples of these knots that cannot be embedded in a sphere. Nikita, who likes discovering new things, says his interest in topology grew from his first graduate level math class, which he took while a high school sophomore. At Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, Nikita participates on the math team and works on school publications. He hopes to pursue his study of mathematics in college in preparation for a career as a research scientist. A native of Belarus in the former Soviet Union, he reads Russian and Spanish fluently and counts among his hobbies solving challenging problems, computer programming and ping pong. He is the son of Dr. Alexander Rozenblyum and Margaret Levin.
Beckett William Sterner, Illinois Seventh Place: $20,000
Beckett William Sterner, 17, of Chicago, submitted a physics project to the Intel Science Talent Search, a computer simulation study of the statistical aspects of certain polymers -- chain-like lengths of identical molecular units. Beckett studied a particular type of polymer chain, one that does not intersect itself, called a self-avoiding walk (SAW). He successfully introduced an alternative way to examine the statistical properties of SAWs. Prior to his SAW project, Beckett attended a university physics lecture about percolation simulation. As a result of his interest in the subject, he created a computer program showing the evolution of structures in a small-scale forest fire. He has since posted his simulation on the Internet as a public shareware program. At University of Chicago Laboratory School, Beckett is co-president of the science team, participates in soccer and track, and plays piano for the choir and chamber trio. He is also winner of a school fine arts award. Beckett credits his father with his interest in computing saying, "My dad first sat me down in front of a Macintosh when I was 18 months old." The son of William Sterner and Dr. Margot Browning, Beckett hopes to attend MIT.
Brandon Michael Palmen, Minnesota
Eigth Place: $20,000
Brandon Michael Palmen, 18, of Rochester, entered the Intel Science Talent Search with a biochemistry project on skin cancer. Malignant melanoma, the form of skin cancer with the highest mortality rate because of its tendency to metastasize early, is becoming more widespread. In his research, Brandon infected and destroyed melanoma cells by genetically re-engineering and molecularly re-targeting a vaccine strain of a measles virus to attack the melanoma tumors. He believes that, after further testing, this new gene therapy may be given to patients to destroy melanomas throughout the body, effectively and non-invasively. In addition to this work, completed during a mentorship at the Mayo Clinic, Brandon played a key role in helping Mayo High School prepare an experiment that flew on the space shuttle last August. Besides his science activities, Brandon gives cello and vocal performances, and is on his school's swimming and tennis teams and in its French and Latin clubs. He is also an Eagle Scout. The son of Dr. Michael and Bonnie Jean Palmen, Brandon hopes to attend Harvard and study for a career as a molecular biologist or gene therapist.
Vivek Venkatachalam, New Jersey
Ninth Place: $20,000
Vivek Venkatachalam, 18, of Berkeley Heights, focused on cosmology -- studying supernovae and cosmic microwave background measurements -- for his Intel Science Talent Search project in physics. His work resulted in a number of contributions to the cosmology field, including a demonstration of how supernova distance measurements provide evidence for an accelerating cosmic expansion. Vivek's project was completed last summer on the MIT campus through the Research Science Institute program. At Governor Livingston High School, he is active in the engineering and French clubs, plays in the marching band, serves on the executive board of the science team and has been the school's top performer in math league competitions over the past two years. A Rensselaer Medalist, Vivek has received numerous awards in chemistry, math and physics competitions at the state level. Also an accomplished pianist, he received first place awards in a statewide competition in classical solo, pop solo and piano duet categories. A black belt in Tae Kwon Do, Vivek is the son of Venkat and Sai Venkatachalam and hopes to study theoretical physics at MIT.
Jessica Randi Stahl, New York
Tenth Place: $20,000
Jessica Randi Stahl, 17, of Rockville Centre, entered such an unusual behavioral and social sciences project in the Intel Science Talent Search that even her teachers expressed skepticism. A talented musician (clarinet and saxophone, first chair in South Side High School's wind, chamber and stage bands), dancer (jazz, tap, ballet), and an award-winning cheerleader, Jessica wanted to determine if one style of music could produce more expressive and freer movement than others. She believes the answer could have applications in dance/movement therapy for emotional as well as physical problems. For example, closed postures reveal a desire to be withdrawn, anxiety can cause massive muscle contraction, and open eyes and an outward gaze indicate a desire to interact with others. Jessica developed an original method for quantifying such body movements, something no previous researcher had achieved, then found one musical piece that was available in classical, rock, jazz, dance and reggae styles -- Beethoven's 5th Symphony. The most liberating style -- reggae. The daughter of Ira and Jayne Stahl, Jessica hopes to attend Harvard to prepare for a career in biological sciences.
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