University of Rochester

Two Local Teens Make Semi-Finals in National Science Competition

January 20, 2005

Two local teens have earned recognition in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search for research projects they carried out last summer at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). Intel announced today that Bruce Brewington of Fairport High School, and Jeremy Chang of Penfield High School are among the 300 semifinalists nationwide chosen from the 1,600 who entered the competition, which is often regarded as a “Junior Nobel Prize.”

In recognition of their scientific achievements, the students will each receive $1,000, and each school will receive $1,000 to support their science and math programs. The students, both seniors, will learn on Jan. 26 whether they will be included among the 40 finalists chosen to attend the Science Talent Institute in Washington, D.C. in March to compete for college scholarships totaling over $500,000.

Brewington worked on the characterization of cryogenic targets used for fusion experiments on the 60-beam Omega laser at LLE, currently the world’s most powerful laser of its type. Chang modeled the grating compressor system of the new Omega EP laser being built at LLE.

LLE’s primary mission is to study the conditions necessary to create and sustain fusion using the Omega laser. Involving young adults in state-of-the-art science, however, is another important goal that LLE’s scientists and engineers take very seriously.

“Our program provides a unique educational opportunity for talented high-school students. They’re amazingly motivated, and it’s exciting to see them recognized as among the best in the nation,” said Stephen Craxton, LLE physicist and high-school program director. Students working at the laboratory have made up the large majority of Rochester-area Intel semifinalists honored during the past decade.

Applications for LLE’s summer program are sent to area high schools in February or can be obtained directly by calling Jean Steve at (585) 275-9517. For more information about the program itself, please contact Craxton at (585) 275-5467.