Howard students win top awards

March 31, 1994|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Sun Staff Writer

Howard County students took home three of the four major awards at the 39th Baltimore Science Fair, held this past weekend, and two of them will represent the area in an international science fair in May.

Centennial High School's Amita Shukla, Atholton High School's Catherine Chang and Dunloggin Middle School's Sabyasachi Guharay won first-place awards at the Baltimore-area fair, held at Towson State University.

Miss Shukla and Miss Chang will get an all-expenses paid trip to Birmingham, Ala., to compete in the 45th International Science and Engineering Fair, sponsored by the Washington-based Science Service, Inc. They also will receive a $100 scholarship to the university of their choice.

The international fair draws more than 800 student scientists from the United States and from such countries as Japan, Costa Rica, Belgium and Canada. Prizes include full scholarships, computers, money and trips, including two all-expenses paid trips to Stockholm, Sweden, for next year's Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony.

Miss Shukla won in the biological division for her project, entitled the "Antibacterial Effects of Gall-Nut Quercus Infectoria Oliv on Placque Bacteria as the Basis for its Use in Preventing Periodontal Disease."

The 18-year-old senior worked on the project for about three years and won second place for the same project at the Baltimore fair last year. She studied whether the acid in an East Indian nut her grandmother had used for years as a home remedy can slow down the formation of gingivitis, a gum disease that affects three-quarters of the adult population.

"The results basically indicated this ancient natural remedy is very effective in preventing gum disease," she said.

Her project also made her a semifinalist in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search.

Miss Chang won in the physical division for her project, entitled "Development of a Non-Silver Based Imaging System." The 18-year-old senior found a new way to capture an image on film, the very same research companies such as Eastman Kodak Co. are exploring.

"It's really pushing the state-of-the-arts forward," said her science teacher, Sharon Kramer. "It was very impressive that she tried to do it."

A total of 24 of 145 Baltimore area students won recognition at this year's 39th science fair. More than half of the winners came from Howard County schools.

Dunloggin Middle School's Sabyasachi Guharay was one of two first place winners at the middle school level. His entry, "Renaissance in Music Composition," involved using computer science and physics to characterize musical rhythms through fractal geometry, an expanding and new kind of mathematics.

Hammond Middle School's Rhys Ziemer won second-place for the entry, "Sizing Up Your Lungs."

Two students from Patapsco Middle School won honorable mention. They were Brent Robbins, for "Testing the Structural Strength of Various Bridge Designs," and Greg Lennon, for "Drag Coefficient of Various Boat Hull Designs."

In the high school division, Glenelg's Randolph Mullinix won second place for his entry, "Protein Potent Pork."

High school students who won honorable mention included Centennial's C.P. Krishnamurthy, for "Study of Erucic and Very Long Chain Fatty Acid Levels in Adrenoleukodystrophy -- Patients Treated with Lorenzo's Oil Diet," and James Hsiao, for "Characterization of a Microdissected Library Clone Mapping Near the Usher's Disease Locus and Carrying a Polymorphic Tetranucleotide Repeat."

James' project involved identifying clones as an intermediate step to determining the gene responsible for Usher's syndrome, the leading cause of deaf-blindness among Americans. The project had earned him a spot as a semifinalist in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search.

Three Atholton High School students also won honorable mention. They were Matthew Salganik, for "RBI Efficiency in Baseball"; Jack Lu, for "Utilizing a Polyether Polyisocyanate to Produce a Hydrophilor Foal for the Absorption of Perspiration on Tennis Racket Handles"; and Shampa Gosh, for "Remediation of Heavy Metals from Waste Waters by Algae."

Oakland Mills High School's Steven Cook also took home an honorable mention for his project, "Digital Signatures of Documents."

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