3 winners named at CMU science competition

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Three young New York scientists have claimed first prizes in the Middle States Regional Finals of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the nation's premier high-school science competition.

The winners will head to New York City to compete Dec. 1-4 for $100,000 grand prizes in the national finals.

In the regional finals held Saturday at Carnegie Mellon University, nanotechnology proved to be big.

Guannan "Roger" Wang, a senior at Horseheads High School in Horseheads, N.Y., won the individual category and a $3,000 college scholarship for a materials science project on the conductive properties of gold nanoparticle films.

Applications for his findings could include sensing technology used in health, homeland security and information storage.

Jinju Yi, a senior at Plainview Old-Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School in Plainview, N.Y., and Vijay Jain, a senior at Herricks High School in New Hyde Park, N.Y., won the team category and will share $6,000 in scholarship money for their bioengineering project that someday could aid in detecting viruses, cancer and bioterrorist agents.

"My partner and I were sitting there five or 10 seconds and saying, 'Did they really call our names?'" Miss Yi said.

She said she hopes their research can be used to detect cancer at the earliest stages and as a universal system to detect any molecule, including those used in terrorist devices.

"We've researched that Homeland Security is spending $6 billion in detection, and hopefully our technology can help them reduce the spending and aid in development of new detection systems," Miss Yi said.

A scholarly CMU panel judged 10 individual and team projects and announced the regional winners Saturday.

"These young science stars are a shining example of American ingenuity at its most inspiring," said Tom McCausland, Siemens Foundation board chairman.

"They have more than upheld the exceptionally high standards set by their predecessors in this Super Bowl of science competitions."

David Templeton can be reached at dtempleton@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1578.


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