APS News

World's Top Science Students Gathered in Dallas for 1998 ISEF

Charina Cameron
First place APS/AAPT award winner Charina Cameron of Nova Scotia assembles her "Sonic Bee Detector" for the 1998 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Photos courtesy of Intel Corporation

The APS contributed to the more than $2 million in scholarships and prizes that were awarded to some of the world's brightest high school students at the 1998 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). ISEF was held 13-15 May in Fort Worth, Texas. Each year, the Intel ISEF brings together over 1,000 students from all 50 states and 40 nations to compete for scholarships, tuition grants, internships, scientific field trips and the grand prize: a trip to attend the Nobel Prize Ceremonies in Stockholm, Sweden.

Science Services, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the understanding and appreciation of science among people of all ages through publications and annual programs, founded the event in 1950. The organization describes ISEF as "the Olympics, the World Cup and the World Series of science competition." Although Intel and other corporate sponsors support most of the prizes awarded at the fair, a large number of non-profit scientific organizations and universities also participate by sponsoring their own awards in specific disciplines, including the APS, the American Chemical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).

An active participant in the fair since 1985, the AAPT was joined this year for the first time by the APS. The two societies jointly sponsored three top prizes in physics, and three honorable mentions. In addition to the monetary awards, all winners received a one-year AAPT membership, a one-year APS student membership, a certificate from both AAPT and APS, as well as an AAPT coffee mug and APS book bag. The 1998 judges who volunteered to judge exhibits for the two societies were Andrew Cordell, Fort Worthy Country Day School; William Graham, Texas Christian University; Norman Schaeffer of Fort Worth, Texas; and Ransom Stephens of the University of Texas in Arlington.

The first place APS/AAPT award of $1,000 went to Charina Terranova Cameron of Horton District High School in Greenwich, Nova Scotia, Canada, for her development of a sonic bee detector. Second place, and an award of $400, went to 16-year-old Karen Mendelson of Worcester, MA, for her project entitled, "Noninvasive Optical Method for Measuring Hemoglobin in a Fingertip." A junior at Massachusetts Academy of Math and Sciences who plans to pursue a career in medicine, Mendelson developed a device that measures blood hemoglobin quickly and painlessly, eliminating the risk of infection currently associated with blood-handling. She believes the new device could be used in blood donation centers, rural-area physician offices, and third world countries.

Karen Mendelson
Karen Mendelson, a returning Intel ISEF participant and second place APS/AAPT winner, won a Pinnacle Award for her project, "A Noninvasive Optical Method for Measuring Hemoglobin in a Fingertip." Last year, Karen went home with a $40,000 scholarship.

The third place award of $300 went to Natalie Shaubie Lui of Saint Edward's School in Vero Beach, Florida, for her work on elucidating the mechanics of binary systems. Three students also received honorable mentions: Jeremiah Daniel Brown of Covenant Christian Academy in Huntsville, Alabama, for his project, "Single Element Anamorphic Lens for Correcting Laser Diodes"; Amul Dinesh Tevar of Macomb High School in Illinois, for his project, "Effect of Coachella Doping on an YBa2Cu3O7-x Superconductor;" and Justin Ryan Traunero of Riverside High School in Greeg, South Carolina, for his project, "Potassium Sodium Tartrate Crystals as Piezoelectric Resonators."

A 1997 recipient of a $40,000 Intel Young Scientist Scholarship for her project last year, Mendelson was one of the winners of this year's Glenn T. Seaborg Nobel Trip Award, along with Geoffrey Schmidt of Little Rock, Arkansas. Schmidt's project, entitled "3-D computer graphics Visible-Surface Determination Using Heirarchical Beam Tree Clipping," makes it possible for computer graphics imaging software to render larger, more complex 3-D models in less time than with current applications available on the market. Mendelson and Schmidt were also honored with $5,000 awards for having the highest score in their respective categories of physics and computer science, and Schmidt received a $40,000 Intel Young Scientist Scholarship. As the top all-around competitors at the event, the two students will attend the Nobel Prize ceremonies in Stockholm, Sweden in December.

For a complete list of the awards presented at the 1998 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, go to http://www.intel.com/education/isef. For more information about the ISEF program itself, see the Science Services Web site at http://www.sciserv.org.

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin