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Nation's Brightest Young Scientists and Mathematicians Win Top Prizes In Prestigious Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science & Technology; Steven Byrnes of Lexington, MA, is Individual Winner of $100,000 Scholarship; Juliet Girard and Roshan Prabhu of Jersey City, NJ, are Team Winners Of $100,000 Prize.

WASHINGTON -- America's most brilliant teenagers were honored today for their remarkable achievements in math and science. Three exceptional high school students were named winners of the 2002-03 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology, the nation's leading research-based science and mathematics competition for high school students. The winners of the national finals were announced this morning at an awards ceremony held at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC.

Steven J. Byrnes, a senior at Roxbury Latin School in West Roxbury, MA, won the top prize in the individual category and a $100,000 scholarship for his mathematics project, "Poset-Game Periodicity." Juliet R. Girard and Roshan D. Prabhu, seniors at William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City, NJ, won the top prize in the team category and will share a $100,000 scholarship for their project, "Identification and High Resolution Mapping of Flowering Time Genes in Rice."

"These students are some of the most brilliant young people in America," said Albert Hoser, chairman and CEO of the Siemens Foundation, which awards more than $1 million annually in scholarships and grants through the Siemens Westinghouse Competition and other programs. "It is inspiring to see these extraordinary high school students working at the highest levels in science, mathematics and technology at such an early age."

National finalists presented their original scientific research, technological inventions and mathematical theories on Sunday to a distinguished panel of judges made up of prominent scientists. Seventeen students competed in the national finals, including five individuals and six teams. The students had advanced to the national competition having previously won top prizes at a series of six regional competitions held at leading research universities this November.

Mr. Byrnes' winning math project analyzes a class of two-player games known as poset games. Games such as these are important to a growing field known as discrete mathematics for their potential applications in artificial intelligence, error correcting, and a wide range of computer network issues, such as the use of secure codes. Mr. Byrnes created and proved a new theorem, the Poset Game Periodicity Theorem, which represents the first significant breakthrough in a famous poset game called Chomp since the game was invented in the 1970s. Games are a hot topic today as models of social and economic interaction.

"What impressed us the most was the sheer brain power and originality of thought that Mr. Byrnes displayed to prove a theorem -- without using computers -- that many mathematicians suspected but had never been able to prove," said judge Joel Spencer, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University.

Mr. Byrnes, a senior, was the only student in the country in 2002 to win both the US Math Olympiad and the US Physics Olympiad. He is a member of Latonics, an a cappella group, as well as glee club, jazz band, Varsity cross- country, and Mad Puzzlers (math club). He plans to study mathematics in college in hopes of becoming a professor and researcher.

Juliet Girard and Roshan Prabhu's winning project can potentially help increase yearly rice production to meet the growing demand for this important food staple. The team identified genes that contribute to early flowering time in rice, a discovery that could lead to increased crop production through earlier and more frequent harvests per year, as well as allow for the growth of rice in regions with shorter growing seasons. Their project, which combined the disciplines of experimental biology and computational biology, successfully mapped two chromosomal segments and three candidate genes that control early flowering.

"Ms. Girard and Mr. Prabhu have made a significant advance in an important area of genetic research that could have great societal importance," said judge Victor R. Ambros, Professor of Genetics, Dartmouth Medical School. "The team has a sophisticated grasp of the scientific issues involved and they exercised excellent judgment on what to focus on in their research."

The two seniors conducted their research during an internship in the NASA Sharp Plus Program at the Cornell University Department of Plant Breeding. Ms. Girard, who conducted the experimental genetics aspects of the project, plans to study biochemistry, molecular biology and environmental science in college. She is a member of National Honor Society, Science Research Club, Key Club International, Drama Club and editor-in-chief of her school newspaper.

Mr. Prabhu, who conducted the computational work, plans to study design and graphic arts, biomedical engineering or computer engineering in college. He is also a member of National Honor Society, Science Research Club, Key Club, Chess Club, Tae Kwon Do and Multicultural Club. He volunteers at Christ Hospital.

"All of the national finalists have done exceptional work," said lead judge George Nelson, Director, Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, Western Washington University. "Choosing the winners was an extraordinarily difficult decision."

The other national winners of the 2002-03 Siemens Westinghouse Competition were:
 -- $50,000 scholarship - Wei Gan of North Potomac, MD (Thomas S. Wootton
 High School)
 -- $40,000 scholarship - Allan Chu of Saratoga, CA (Saratoga High School)
 -- $30,000 scholarship - Vlad Codrea of Austin, TX (Lyndon B. Johnson
 Science Academy)
 -- $20,000 scholarship - Michael G. Constantinides of Chicago, IL (The
 University of Chicago Laboratory School)
 -- $50,000 scholarship - Madelyn M. Ho of Sugar Land, TX (William P.
 Clements High School) and Lenny Slutsky of Stony Brook, NY (Ward
 Melville High School)
 -- $40,000 scholarship - Ann Chi of Terre Haute, IN (Terre Haute South
 Vigo High School) and Irene Sun of Indianapolis, IN (Ben Davis High
 -- $30,000 scholarship - Ashley E. Morganstern and Leslie K. Taylor of
 Portland, OR (Oregon Episcopal School)
 -- $20,000 scholarship - Elysa Wan of Chapel Hill, NC and Nigel K. Mesta
 of Statesville, NC (North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics)
 -- $10,000 scholarship - Michelle T. Simpser of Plainview, NY and Rikki
 J. Frenkel of Cedarhurst, NY (Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls)

1,142 students entered the 2002-03 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology, including 836 individual competitors and 306 teams. The competition is administered by the College Board and its partner Educational Testing Service. Entries are judged at the regional and national levels by prominent scientists and faculty from six leading research universities, which also host the regional competitions: Carnegie Mellon University (Mid-States), University of Notre Dame (Midwest), University of California, Berkeley (West), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (New England), Georgia Institute of Technology (South), and the University of Texas at Austin (Southwest).


The New Jersey-based Siemens Foundation is dedicated to providing scholarships and increasing access to higher education for students in science, mathematics and technology-related disciplines. Established in 1998 to promote and support educational activities, the Siemens Foundation recognizes and supports America's most promising science and mathematics students and teachers, as well as schools that are doing the most to promote education in the core sciences. The Foundation's mission is based on the culture of innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens' U.S. operating companies and its parent company, Siemens AG. For more information, please visit .
 CONTACT: Marie Gentile
 Siemens Foundation
 NJ: 732-603-5886
 NYC: 212-258-4246
 Sarah Walpole
 Dentsu Communications Inc.
 Tel: 212-261-2633
 James Miller
 Dentsu Communications Inc.
 Tel: 201-886-8469


CONTACT: Marie Gentile of Siemens Foundation, NJ, +1-732-603-5886, or NYC, +1-212-258-4246, or ; or Sarah Walpole, +1-212-261-2633, or , or James Miller, +1-201-886-8469, or, both of Dentsu Communications Inc., for Siemens Foundation

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Date:Dec 9, 2002
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