MAILED: June 11, 2001
EAU CLAIRE - The winners of this year’s Wisconsin Science Talent
Search, which is headquartered at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, were
recently announced. Gary Huang of Appleton was awarded first place.
Emily Dalhberg, Siren, and Nicole Aulik, Newton, tied for second
A panel of professors at UW-Eau Claire judged the
entries based on originality, scientific significance, independence,
complexity of techniques, individual comprehension, science potential, data
analysis and writing skills. Each of the winning participants received a gift
certificate for Border’s Books and Music and a certificate of participation.
Four other Wisconsin students, all from Valders High
School, received certificates of participation: Andrea Dugan, Valders,
Theresa Brandl, Cato, Stefanie Meives, Reedsville, and Dawn
Participants also competed nationally in the 2001 Intel
Science Talent Search, America’s oldest and most highly regarded science
contest for high school seniors. Their projects were among a total of 1,592
entries that represented over 500 high schools in 48 states, the District of
Columbia, Puerto Rico, and an American overseas school in France.
Huang was awarded semifinalist standing at the national
level. He was one of the top 300 applicants and received a $1,000 prize. In
addition, his school, Appleton West High School, received $1,000 to be used to
support the school’s science and math education programs.
Huang’s entry, titled “Application of Wavelet
Analysis to Distance Fields,” involved writing computer code to apply
wavelet analysis to distance fields in order to reduce the storage size of
computer graphics. Huang was able to demonstrate a storage size reduction of
80 percent or more without error in the shapes of the images represented by
the distance fields. His mentor was Thouis Jones, a technical staff member of
the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass. Most of his
research was done during the summer of 2000 while he attended the Research
Science Institute at the Cambridge Research Center.
Dahlberg attends Siren High School. For her entry,
titled “A Possible Correlation Between Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and High
Cholesterol,” she assisted in a study of 169 people under the age of 50 to
attempt to determine if a correlation exists between CMV and high cholesterol.
Previous studies have focused only on elderly patients. Her research seemed to
indicate a possible correlation for women but not for men. Future studies on a
larger sample of patients are needed before a strong case for a direct
correlation is made. Dahlberg’s mentors were Dr. Kent Froberg and Nicole
Seacott, both of the pathology department at the University of Minnesota,
School of Medicine, Duluth. Dahlberg also acknowledged the assistance of her
biology teacher, Douglas Bunton.
Aulik attends Valders High School. Her entry, titled
“The Effect of Terbufos on the Common Annelid: Eisenia Fetida,” involved
applying various amounts of terbufos (a widely-used insecticide/nematicide used
by farmers to fight against wireworm, seed corn maggots, white grubs, and corn
root worm larvae) to worm beds containing Eisenia Fetida (red worms). Her study
showing that terbufos did have a definite negative effect on the health of the
red worms may assist low-till farmers with future pesticide choices. Aulik’s
project supervisor was James Evans, her chemistry teacher.
Dugan’s entry, titled “The Study of the Effects of
Carbon Dioxide on Phaseolous Vulgaris Through Transpiration,” involved
studying the amount of water released by plants, a good indicator of plant
health, as the amount of carbon dioxide gas increased. Her project was inspired
by concern over increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere due to
the burning of fossil fuels. Dugan found that as the amount of gas increased,
the amount of transpiration decreased, along with the health of the plants. Her
project supervisors were science teachers Evans and Jeffrey Griffey.
Brandl’s entry, titled: “Decaffeination of Unroasted
Coffee Beans Utilizing Liquid Nitrogen,” attempted to show that coffee beans
could be decaffeinated using liquid nitrogen, a less-expensive process than the
liquid carbon dioxide method currently used in the coffee industry. Her analysis
showed that caffeine may have been in the resulting residue, but further testing
was needed to determine how much caffeine was left in the coffee beans. Evans
supervised her project.
Meives’ entry, titled “Polychlorinated Biphenyls
(PCBs) in the Manitowoc River, Manitowoc, Wisconsin,” involved collecting
river sediment samples and analyzing them for the presence of PCBs. Results did
show some contamination of the river soil sediment. Meives was hoping that by
mapping where the concentration of PCBs was highest, it might be possible in the
future to trace the origin of the contamination. Evans was her project
supervisor. She also acknowledged the assistance of Griffey, agriculture, and
Mr. Kincher, science.
Preston’s entry, titled “Corn Seed,” attempted to
show that corn seed soaked in water for various amounts of time before planting
would sprout sooner than seeds not soaked in water. Preston made creative use of
art farm containers as seedbeds so she could watch the progress of the
sprouting. Evans supervised her project.
The Intel and Wisconsin Science Talent Searches take
place each year. The application for next year’s competition is late November.
More information can be found on the Web at
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: June 11, 2001