Manual students compete at Intel ISEF


Amanda Tu

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Photo courtesy of Ms. Heidi Anderson from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Last weekend, Manual students competed at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in Los Angeles, California, where high school students from over 70 countries presented the science projects that they had researched this school year.

Manual sent a total of 11 students to ISEF, who all qualified either directly from the regional level or from the state competition.

Before and after the presentation judging sessions, competitors had ample opportunity to sightsee and relax at various Los Angeles landmarks such as Hollywood, Venice Beach, Disneyland, and Universal Studios.

“My best memory of ISEF was going to Venice Beach on Monday afternoon,” said Madan Subheeswar (10, MST). “At that point, we had only started to get to know each other and we all became more accepting of openly socializing after the antics that we did there.”

Madan, Matthew Raj (9, MST), and Richard Gunasena (10, MST) worked together on their project which won a third place grand award in the category of Engineering. “During preliminary research, we that discovered common Lithium-Sulfur batteries possess a high theoretical energy capacity, or battery life, but also possess a problematic issue which prevents recharging of these batteries,” said Matthew. “The purpose of our experimentation was to overcome this issue to create a revolutionary new type of battery technology, with an energy capacity four times greater than the current market standard.”

Other competitors most enjoyed the opportunity to interact with students from across the globe. “I really enjoyed the ISEF pin exchange because I was able to meet other students from around the world who have the same interests as I do,” said Sarah Schwartz (10, MST). “Also I now have pins to remember all of my new friends.”

Sarah competed in the category of computer science. “I wrote a program to evaluate the effectiveness of various pseudorandom number generators,” she said. “This was done with the use of some tests from a published battery of tests and some others, such as 3D graphing.”

A complete list of ISEF grand award winners can be found here.