Blood test, 3-D graphics win top prize
by S. Milius
A painless, no-needle way of checking blood hemoglobin and a method of speeding up computer graphics took highest honors among nearly 1,200 entries in the 1998 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
The 49th annual fair opened May 10 in Fort Worth, Texas, with a big bang of festivities, including a rodeo. By the end, on May 15, some 740 students had won $2 million in prizes and scholarships.
The formidable competitors arrived from 34 countries. Eight students have already applied for patents on their work, and more than 100 others report plans to do so.
The noninvasive method of measuring hemoglobin came from 16-year-old Karen Mendelson of Worcester, Mass. She shared the top honor with 17-year-old Geoffrey Schmidt of Little Rock, Ark., who developed a way to hasten computer rendering of large, complicated, three-dimensional images. As the top winners, they will attend the Nobel prize ceremonies in Sweden this December.
Schmidt also won one of the three $40,000 Young Scientist Scholarships awarded by Intel this year. The others went to Jonathan Kelner of Old Westbury, N.Y., for a study of quark behavior and to James Lawler of Greenwich, Conn., for a mathematical model of electric potentials at phase boundaries in a metal. Mendelson won one of the scholarships last year.
U.S. students dominated the awards for best of category, taking 11 of the 15 prizes. More than half of the $5,000 awards went to girls. In life sciences, the award in behavioral science went to Ashley Eden of Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., for work on color visual noise; biochemistry, Adam Bly, Herzliah High School in Montreal, for fusing a gene to green fluorescent protein; botany, Joseph Hastings of North Attleboro, Mass., for a project on the effects of ethylene; environmental science, Natasha Mensch, Tahoka (Texas) High School, for a study of the gasification of biomass; gerontology, Susie Morris, Carbon High School in Price, Utah, for checking aspartame's effects on learning in rats; medicine and health, Claire Heslop, Notre Dame Catholic High School, Carleton Place, Ontario, for a project on spina bifida; microbiology, Linda Arnade, Stone Junior High School, Melbourne, Fla., for looking at seasonal water contamination; and zoology, Andrew Shuman, Lawrence High School, Cedarhurst, N.Y., for comparing compounds involved in inflammation.
Other best of category honors were chemistry, James Lawler, Greenwich (Conn.) High School; computer science, Geoffrey Schmidt, Little Rock (Ark.) Central High School; earth and space sciences, Cristina Beno, Mast Academy, Key Biscayne, Fla., for groundwater studies; engineering, Mary Manning of Notre Dame Academy, Covington, Ky., for modeling bioelectrochemical fuel cells; mathematics, Anna Salamon, San Diego (Calif.) High School, for investigating factors of Fibonacci numbers; physics, Karen Mendelson of the Academy of Mathematics and Science, Worcester, Mass.; and team project, Chad Ganske, Amit Barman, and Jonathan Haines, James Wood High School, Winchester, Va., for an efficient computer operating environment.
Science Service of Washington, D.C., which publishes Science News, administers the fair.
From Science News, Vol. 153, No. 20, May 23, 1998, p. 327.
Copyright Ó 1998 by Science Service.
Additional information can be found at: http://www.intel.com/pressroom/archive/releases/co051598.htm.
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