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Young research scientists win scholarships.

Young research scientists win scholarships

Carrying on the tradition of ancient Greek mathematician Diophantus, 16-year-old Christopher McLean Skinner won first prize in the 48th annual Science Talent Search this week. Skinner studied a general diophantine equation and found methods for determining the upper bounds on its integral solutions. First in his senior class at Hall H.S. in Little Rock, Ark., Skinner received a $20,000 scholarship.

Jordan S. Ellenberg, 17, captured second prize in the competition, which is administered by Science Service, Inc., and sponsored by Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Ellenberg's mathematics project identifies sets of positive integers satisfying certain symmetric systems of congruence. He won a $15,000 scholarship and ranks at the top of his class at Winston Churchill H.S. in Potomac, Md.

Third place went to Richard Hawkins Christie, 15, who also won a $15,000 scholarship. A senior at Penfield (N.Y.) H.S., Christie studied the interaction between the immune and nervous systems by looking at the distribution of nerve fibers in rat spleen. Christie says his interest in science was piqued at age 10, when he took a college course on the brain.

Other awards announced this week include $10,000 scholarships for fourth-place winner Stacy Elisabeth Benjamin of Francis Lewis H.S. in Flushing, N.Y., who studied the influence of race on the perception of crime severity; fifth-place winner Sharon Celeste Posey of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, who developed a method of mapping restriction sites on DNA; and sixth-place winner Allene Marie Whitney of Capital H.S. in Helena, Mont., who found a faster method of detecting toxic algae in water.

Scholarships of $7,500 went to seventh-place winner Kevin Nelson Heller of Hall Hollow Hills H.S. West in Dix Hills, N.Y., who investigated the effects of temperature on a particular "jumping" gene; eighth-place winner Andrew William Jackson of Roxbury Latin School in West Roxbury, Mass., who made a new kind of spectrograph; ninth-place winner Andrew James Gerber of Midwood H.S. in Brooklyn, who studied the properties of certain psychoactive drugs; and tenth-place winner Divya Chander of Pascack Valley H.S. in Hillsdale, N.J., who proposed a new mechanism by which bacteria invade tissue.

The remaining 30 finalists each received a $1,000 scholarship. First and second alternates to the top 10 were Daniel Allen Sherman of Hickman H.S. in Columbia, Mo., and Simon Robert Zuckerbraun of the Bronx (N.Y.) H.S. of Science.

The 40 seniors spent five days in Washington, D.C., where they met members of Congress and leading researchers. They also met President George Bush, who urged them to continue their work. "I hope that each student in this room gets a doctorate, or pursues a career of one kind or another in science and technology," Bush told finalists in a March 3 speech at the National Academy of Sciences.
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Title Annotation:Science Talent Search
Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 11, 1989
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