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Sigma Xi Award winners at the 2008 Intel International Science Fair are shown here (left to right): Back row, Second Place winners Manapas Hararak, Tanavorakit Bangkeaw and Pheemadej Prasitwarawej from Thailand; and First Place winners Elie Bochner and Shai Chester from the United States. Front row, Third Place winners Ye Zhao and Weichao Zhai from Singapore, with Sigma Xi President James W. Porter.

May 22, 2008

Students Win Sigma Xi Awards at Intel International Science Fair

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - Along with the excellence of the student projects, what characterized this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta, Georgia, was an increase in the percentage of winners from developing countries previously less well-represented in the winner's circle.

Both the judges and presenters commented that the "internationalization" of science was now beginning to see its full expression in successful youth science programs worldwide.

Even for Sigma Xi's top prize winners this trend was clear. Sigma Xi President James W. Porter, who presented the Sigma Xi Awards and had the privilege of meeting with the students and some of their parents following the ceremony, views this as a confirmation of Sigma Xi's emphasis on international growth in the Society.

The Sigma Xi Awards recognize team projects that best exemplify the interdisciplinary aspects of scientific and engineering research. Cash awards of $1,000, $600 and $300 were presented to the first-, second- and third-place teams.

Judging took place over a four-day period. Sigma Xi's evaluation team was led by Norm Thomson, president of the University of Georgia Chapter of Sigma Xi.

First Place winners were Elie J. Bochner and Shai M. Chester from the Yeshiva University High School for Boys in New York, New York. Their research project was titled "Improving the Feasibility of Avalanche Gain X-Ray Detectors."

Second Place winners were Manapas Hararak, Tanavorakit Bangkeaw and Pheemadej Prasitwarawej from the Montfort College Chiangmai of Thailand. Their project was titled "A Novel Particle Board Using Wood Wastes."

Third Place winners were Ye Zhao and Weichao Zhai from NUS High School of Mathematics and Science in Singapore. Their project was titled "Nanofabrication with Focused Sunlight."

Each member of the team received a certificate of recognition and a one-year subscription to American Scientist, Sigma Xi's award-winning magazine of science and technology. The school library of each winning team also received a year's subscription to the magazine.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world's largest international pre-college science competition, annually provides a forum for more than 1,500 high school students from 40 countries to showcase their independent research.

Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi is the international honor society of research scientists and engineers, with more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities, government laboratories and industry research centers. Membership is by invitation, in recognition of research potential or achievement. Over the years, more than 200 Sigma Xi members have received the Nobel Prize. In addition to publishing American Scientist, the non-profit Society awards hundreds of grants annually to student researchers and sponsors a variety of programs that support science and engineering.


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