A high school senior from Oregon won a $100,000 scholarship at one of the nation’s premier high school science competitions on Monday for his research in a new area of mathematics called string topology.
The research conducted by Dmitry Vaintrob, 18, a student at South Eugene High School in Eugene, Ore., could provide knowledge that mathematicians and physicists might apply to understand electricity, magnetism and gravity, judges at the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology said.
“His work is at the Ph.D. level, publishable and already attracting the attention of researchers,” said competition judge Michael Hopkins, a professor of mathematics at Harvard.
Also winning a $100,000 scholarship was the team of Scott Molony, 18, Steven Arcangeli, 17, and Scott Horton, 17, students at Oakridge High School in Oakridge, Tenn., for developing a technique that could one day help scientists engineer biofuel from plants. The three teens will share the prize money.
Five other individuals and five teams won scholarships for their research. Their scholarship awards range from $50,000 to $10,000.
The Siemen competition was launched in 1998 to recognize American’s best math and science students, with 1,660 entering this year.
The award ceremony, attended by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, was held at New York University.
Among the team finalists were Jinju Yi, of Plainview, and Vijay Jain, of New Hyde Park, both on New York’s Long Island, who created a mechanism that could one day help in the early detection of cancer and the identification of bioterrorist agents.
Among the individual finalists was Guannan “Roger” Wang, of the upstate New York village of Horseheads, who studied conductive properties of gold nanoparticle films — a project that could be used in the development of powerful sensors.
The other finalists are from Texas, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Hawaii, Ohio and North Carolina.
Their projects included the discovery of three pulsar stars, research into the evolution of guenon monkeys, and the use of gene silencing techniques in microscopic worms.
The Siemens Foundation distributes nearly $2 million annually in scholarships and awards. The science contest has also been known as the Siemens Westinghouse Competition.