Young Talent on Display: Tomorrow’s scientists and engineers win recognition, rewards

In an impressive display of intellectual might, 1,429 high school students from across the country and around the globe gathered in Portland, Ore., last week to exhibit projects in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. More than three-dozen countries and territories fielded entries, and the fair’s three top winners hail from different continents.

TRIUMPHANT TRIUMVIRATE. Yuanchen Zhu of Shanghai, Sarah Rose Langberg of Fort Myers, Fla., and Uwe Treske of Grafenhainichen, Germany, (left to right) were the top scholarship winners in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. B. Goldberg

Sarah Rose Langberg of Canterbury School in Fort Myers, Fla., Uwe Treske of Paul Gerhardt Gymnasium in Grafenhainichen, Germany, and Yuanchen Zhu of Shanghai Foreign Language School in China each received a $50,000 scholarship.

Langberg, 17, studied seafloor rock samples and video images of geological features along a volcanic ridge in the Pacific Ocean.

Treske, 18, built a microscope that scans objects by running a minute probe across them. While such microscopes typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, Treske created his from materials costing only about $50.

Zhu, 19, developed a method for rapidly generating computer graphics that depict moving objects in great detail.

Some of the high-ranking contestants will go on to additional international events. Treske and Zhu won all-expenses-paid trips to a seminar for youth scientists to be held during the Nobel Prize ceremonies in Stockholm this December. Also awarded a trip to Stockholm was Henny Admoni of John L. Miller–Great Neck North High School in New York. Admoni, 18, studied how people process visual information to identify objects.

From College Regina Assumpta in Montreal, Si Yue Guo and Raphael Gervais, both 16, were awarded a trip to a July youth-science exhibition in Dresden, Germany. The pair studied the electrical conductivity of metal filaments just a few atoms thick.

Christopher Michael Alexander Verlinden and Philip Alejandro Muñoz, both 17 and from the School of Science and Technology in Beaverton, Ore., designed a prototype fiber-optic telecommunications system to carry more channels than current systems do. That garnered them a trip to the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Dublin this September and a separate prize for having the best team project.

Verlinden, Muñoz, and other winners of best-in-category awards—including Admoni in behavioral and social sciences, Langberg in earth and space sciences, Treske in physics, and Zhu in computer science—each received an Intel notebook computer and a $5,000 scholarship. Other best-in-category winners were Vladislav Igorevich Lavrovsky, 17, of Queen Elizabeth Senior High School in Calgary, Alberta, in biochemistry; Lauren Marie Smith, 17, of Rampart High School in Colorado Springs, Colo., in botany; Arun Poothatta Thottumkara, 18, of Macomb High School in Illinois, in chemistry; Joline Marie Fan, 16, of Upper Arlington High School in Ohio, in engineering; Kiana Laieikawai Frank, 17, of Kamehameha Secondary School in Honolulu, in environmental sciences; Allison Bailey Hewlett, 17, of Christian Academy of Louisville in Kentucky, in gerontology; Brian Todd Rice, 17, of Marion Senior High School in Virginia, in mathematics; YunXiang Chu, 18, of Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, in medicine and health; Leslie Yee Ming Beh, 18, of Raffles Junior College in Singapore, in microbiology; and Russell Thomas Burrows, 15, of Health Careers High School in San Antonio, in zoology.

“As these students complete their education and move into the workforce, I hope they will collaborate across national boundaries,” said Craig Barrett, chief executive of Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif. Intel and numerous other corporations, universities, and government agencies—including, for the first time, the Department of Homeland Security—sponsored the annual competition.

Science Service, which publishes Science News, has organized the fair for 55 years.

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