Sunday, May 15, 2011

Asian young scientists win top awards in ISEF 2011

ASIANS IN THE THREE 'BEST OF THE BESTS' IN ISEF 2011.  Matthew Feddersen and Blake Marggraff of Lafayette, Calif (left) received the Gordon E. Moore Award of $75,000.  Taylor Wilson of Reno, Nev. (third from left) and the team from Thailand (Pornwasu Pongtheerawan, Arada Sungkanit and Tanpitcha Phongchaipaiboon, right) each received the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of $50,000. 

Not one among the more than 1,500 finalists in the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) would know if he/she/the team is a winner until their name gets called during the Special Awards night or Grand Awards ceremony at the closing of the 5-day youth event.

Everyone of course dreams of bringing home a Grand Award in his/her category (there are 17 of them). Usually, about 25% of the finalists would get rewarded for their excellent research project since plenty would get a fourth ($500), or third ($1,000), or second ($1,500) grand awards.   

Sometimes there would be 2 or 3 recipients of the first grand award ($3,000) but one has to be "Best of the Category" ($5,000) to qualify for the Gordon E Moore and the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards.

Four Asians--two individual and two team finalists--were in the running for the three 'Best of the Bests' this year:   

  • The team from Thailand--Pornwasu Pongtheerawan, 16, Tanpitcha Phongchaipaiboon, 17, and Arada Sungkanit, 17--was best in the environmental management category for showing the potential of the gelatin in fish scales as tbio-based food packaging plastics. They received the Intel Foundation Young Scientists Award for this work. 
  • The South Korea team was the best in the environmental sciences category.  Jinyoung Seo, 18, and Dongju Shin, 18, mimicked the wetting behavior of spider silk in the study of its water-harvesting efficiency. This work gained for them the Dudley R. Herschbach SIYSS Award, which entitles them to an all-expense-paid trip to the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar (SIYSS) and attendance at the Nobel Prize ceremonies, in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • The best in the computer science category is from China.  Lai Xue, 18, studied the "efficient implementation of tilt compensated compass and depth camera in interactive augmented reality."  This work earned him an all-expense-paid trip to attend the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, the host city, which changes every year, still to be announced.
  • The project of Raghavendra Ramachanderan, 16, of India was the best in the chemistry category. Her work dealt with "braving legendary challenges in drug synthesis."
This is not the first time that Asians were in the top three winners of the Intel ISEF.  Until 2009, all three 'best of the bests' received the same Young Scientists Award.  Yuanchen Zhu of China and Yi-Han Su of Chinese Taipei were among the recipients of the top prize in 2004 and 2008, respectively.

It's a dream prize for all who participate in the ISEF-affiliated fairs throughout the world.

The names of the above winners and others below who got first and second grand awards will be submitted to the International Astronomical Union (IAU)  for the naming of minor planets in the Ceres Connection.  These planets have been discovered by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program, operated by MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory.  The Laboratory partnered with the Society for Science & the Public (SSP)and the Intel ISEF "to promote science education through the Ceres Connection."  

Here are Asian grand awardees this year in Los Angeles, California, by country: 

CHINA (9).
  • Lai Xue, 18. First Award and Intel ISEF Best of Category (Computer Science) Award for Efficient Implementation of Tilt Compensated Compass and Depth Camera in Interactive Augmented Reality.
  • Yizheng He, 18, Haoyan Kang, 18, and Jiayi Wang, 17.  Second Award in Computer Science for The Research on the Space Interactive 3D Mapping Method.
  • Jiaqi Duan, 16, Zihan Zhang, 18, and Sihan Jiang, 17. Fourth Award in Behavioral Sciences for Is Nephila clavata a New Species of Social Spiders? A Preliminary Study on Behaviors of Nephila clavata.
  • Fubin Li, 17, Yakang Li, 18, and Zhongning Hao, 15. Second Award in Biochemistry for Research on Functional Dietary Fibre of Wheat Bran.
  • Zehong Weng, 18.  Third Award in Engineering (Electrical and Mechanical) for Assistant of Walking Aid: Walking Aid Facility for the Old and the Relevant Patients.
  • Ka Chon Leong, 18 of Macau. Fourth Award in Engineering (Electrical and Mechanical) for TongueMove: Barrier Tree Tongue Controller.
  • Io Tong Chan, 18, Chi Kit Cheong, 17, and Ka Hong Lao, 17 of Macau. Fourth Award in Engineering (Electrical and Mechanical) forEnhanced Navigation System for Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle.
  • Yixin Zhang, 17,Yumeng Li, 16, and Anqi Wang, 17.  Fourth Award in Environmental Sciences for Research on Effect of Urban Rainfall Runoff Pollution on Water Environment and Amount Accounting.
  • Yimeng Shi, 18.  First Award in Physics and Astronomy for The Flow Feature around Insects and Bionic Wing Based on Wind Tunnel Test.
  • Kevin Sean Chen, 17.  Third award in Animal Sciences for hisSeeing What You Want to See: Visual Experience and Top-down Processing in Honeybee.
  • Yun-Chen Chien, 17. Third Award in Chemistry for Lighting Insulin with Gold Nanodots.
  • Yu-Jung Chen, 18.  Third Award in Computer Science for Maintaining Viewing Quality with Lower Number of LEDs
  • Janet Yun-Chen Sung, 18, and Nai-Wen Hu, 16.  Second Award in Physics and Astronomy for Studies of Cell Elasticity by Nonlinear Damping.
  • Raghavendra Ramachanderan, 16. First Award and Intel ISEF Best of Category (Chemistry) for Drug Synthesis: Braving Legendary Challenges.
  • Akansha Verma, 16, and Abhishek Khanna, 17.  Fourth Award in Animal Sciences.  Acmella oleracea: A Naturally Growing Weed as Effective Pest Controller.
  • Hetal Kanjibhai Vaishnav, 18, and Ankur Kanjibhai Vaishnav, 16.  Second Awrd in Environmental Management for Recycling Rexine Waste--A Novel and Economical Approach.
  • Pramoda Nekkare Vishnumurthy, 15, and Bhargava Chakrakodii Subbanna, 14.  Third Award in Environmental Management for Eco-friendly Ink from Terminalia chebula.
  • Manosij G Dastidar, 18.  Second Award in Mathematical Sciences for Integer Partitions and Sequences.
JAPAN (2).
  • Riou Tanaka, 16.  Third Award in Earth & Planetary Sciences for Gap in the Deep Sea?: Reconstruction of Sedimentary Environment of the Kurotaki Unconformity, Central Japan Based on Foraminifers. 
  • Nobutada Kawazoe, 17, Taiki Maehata, 17, and Rushia Kanai, 17,  Fourth Award in Earth & Planetary Sciences for Characterization of Volcanic Lightning and Modeling How Volcanic Lightning Occurs at Sakurajima Volcano in Kagoshima, Japan.
  • Haleeda Hilmi, 17, Tunku and Nurul Amira Salehin, 17.  Fourth Award in Environmental Management for A Fishy Detector. 
  • Zawin Najah Binti Zulkefli, 17. Third Award in Environmental Sciences for Green Based Conductive Polymer Sensor.
  • Mehwish Ghafoor, 15, and Ambreen Bibi, 15.  Third Award in Environmental Sciences for Degradation of Environmental Pollutants with Nanocomposites.

Angeli meets the press at her ISEF booth.
Miguel Reyes during a pre-ISEF project presentation.
  • Angeli Joyce Yap Dy, 16.  Fourth Award in Chemistry for Milkfish (Chanos chanos Forsskal) Serum as an Alternative Media Supplement for Culture of A549 (Human Lung) and HCT 116 (Colon) Carcinomas.
  • Miguel Arnold Silverio Reyes, 16.  Second Award in Engineering-Materials and Bioengineering for Synthesis and Characterization of Composite Plastics from Thermoplastic Starch and Nano-sized Calcium Phosphate for Film Packaging.

    SINGAPORE (3).
    • Herng Yi Cheng, 18.  First Award in Computer Science for Composing Frusta to Fold Polyhedral Origami.
    • Qin Xiang Ng, 18, and Wei Liang Matthew Lee, 18.  Second Award in Environmental Management for To Investigate the Adsorption Potential of Orange Peel Biosorbents for the Removal of Copper(II) Ions.
    • Yuan Jin Tan, 17.  Second Award in Microbiology for Identification and Characterization of Bacterial Endophytes as Novel Bio-inoculants for Jatropha.
    SOUTH KOREA (4).
    • Jinyoung Seo, 18, and Dongju Shin, 18.  First Award and Intel ISEF Best of Category (Environmental Sciences) Award for Mimicking Wetting Behavior of Spider Silk: Studies on Water-Harvesting Efficiency According to the Fabrication of the Pattern of Wettability Gradient.
    • An Ji Hun, 17, and Junha Park, 17. Fourth Award in Animal Sciences for The Mechanism of Lysophosphatidic Acid-induced Procoagulation in HumanErythrocytes.
    • Tae Young Roh, 16, Ju Yeop High School, Yeon Ji Kim, 17, Paik Yang High School, and Beom Kwan Kim, 16.  Fourth Award in Engineering (Materials and Bioengineering) for Hatch an Egg with Insulation and Hot Pack Instead of Electricity.
    • Woongui Hwang, 18, and Doyeon Baek, 17.  Fourth Award in Environmental Sciences for The Way of CO2 Storage Using Formation of Carbonate Minerals by Aboriginal Microbes.
    THAILAND (2).
    • Pornwasu Pongtheerawan, 16, Tanpitcha Phongchaipaiboon, 17, and Arada Sungkanit, 17.  First Award and Intel ISEF Best of Category (Environmental Management) Award for Bio-based Packaging Plastics from Fish Scale. 

    • Thanasup Gonmanee, 18, Worrada Junmook, 18, and Narintadeach Charoensombut, 18.  Fourth Award in Engineering (Materials and Bioengineering) for Utilization of Mucilage Derived from Lemon Basil Seeds as Coating Substance for Fruit Preservation.

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