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Four Long Island Finalists In Intel Science Talent Search Mentored By Stony Brook University Faculty

Four Long Island Finalists In Intel Science Talent Search Mentored By Stony Brook University Faculty

Yuval Calev, Ruoyi Jiang, Paul Masih Das and Joshua Pfeffer Among 40 National Finalists

STONY BROOK, N.Y., February 1, 2010 – Four of the Long Island finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search, the prestigious nationwide research competition, worked with scientists at Stony Brook University and in Stony Brook laboratories. The four high school seniors were among nine finalists from Long Island and represent 10 percent of all the national finalists.

The students are:

Ruoyi Jiang, Ward Melville High School, East Setauket, “Targeting Loop Dynamics in BetaI/BetaIII Isotype Turbulin: The Application of In Silico Techniques in Combating Chemotherapy Drug Resistance,” mentored by Chemistry Professor Dr. Carlos Simmerling;

Yuval Calev, Ward Melville High School, East Setauket, “Language Perception, Production and Memory: A Comparison of Older and Younger Adults”, mentored by Psychology Professor Dr. Arthur Samuel;

Paul Masih Das, Lawrence High School, Cedarhurst, “A Novel Chemical Synthesis for >1 Mu2 Graphene Sheets”, mentored by Materials Science and Engineering Professor Dr. Miriam Rafailovich; 

Joshua Pfeffer, North Shore Hebrew Academy, Great Neck, “Super Kahler-Ricci Flow”, mentored by Physics Professor Dr. Martin Rocek.

The students were among 40 high school seniors nationwide named as finalists yesterday. They will make their presentations in Washington, D.C. March 11-16, 2010 and will compete for more than $630,000 in prizes. The top winner will receive $100,000 from the Intel Foundation.

Mr. Jiang was also named the individual Grand Prize winner in the prestigious nationwide 2009 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. He conducted his research at Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory. “I’m excited for him,” Dr, Simmerling said of Mr. Jiang. “For a high school student he has an amazing knowledge.”  

Dr. Samuel said of Mr. Calev, “He’s bright, he has a great attitude. I think that the thing I found most intriguing about him is he seemed really interested in learning. He worked extremely hard. This was a very time intensive project and he put in a huge amount of effort and was always upbeat.” “It’s exciting that my project was recognized as one of the best. That means a lot,” said Mr. Calev, who will attend Cornell University in the fall. “I get to go to Washington in March to present the research, which is also really exciting.”

Dr. Rocek said Mr. Pfeffer’s work grew out of the same ideas used in the solution to what is known as the Poincare Conjecture by Grigori Perelman, who had spent time as a visiting mathematician at Stony Brook. It deals with a conjecture in topology about the shape of mathematical spaces known as manifolds. “I was thrilled to hear that I was chosen as an Intel finalist; it’s really encouraging to hear that a judging panel of scientists and mathematicians is impressed by the research I’ve worked so hard on for the past year and thinks I possess scientific ‘talent,’” said Mr. Pfeffer. “But the award is not nearly as important to me as the experience of researching the ‘Super Kahler-Ricci Flow’, a geometric flow on supermanifolds that I invented this past summer, under the guidance of my mentor, Martin Rocek, a professor at Stony Brook University’s C.N. Yang Institute of Theoretical Physics. Professor Rocek was always willing to spare time from his very busy schedule to discuss my findings and offer his suggestions; his approval and encouragement inspired me to work ever harder to develop my ideas. I am also grateful to the Simons Foundation for sponsoring my research through the Simons Summer Research Program at Stony Brook.”

Dr. Rafailovich said Mr. Masih Das worked in collaboration with his high school science coordinator Rebecca Isseroff and other scientists and institutions to help him with his project. “He performed as a mature scientist, putting together the appropriate group to help him solve this particular problem,” she said. She noted that while the recognition high school students receive through the Intel contest is wonderful, “At the end of the day, Stony Brook has more than 100 students doing first-rate research with great scientists all across campus. The people who do the Intel contest are representative of this larger group of kids who had the honor and unique experience of working with scientists at Stony Brook.”

Of the 300 Intel STS semifinalists announced on January 13, 2010, 34 did their research under the mentorship of Stony Brook faculty from the departments of Anesthesiology, Biochemistry & Cell Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, the Dental School-Oral Biology, Ecology & Evolution, Geosciences, Materials Science & Engineering, Medicine, Neurobiology & Behavior, Pharmacological Sciences, Physics & Astronomy, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Psychology, the School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences, and/or the C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics. 

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