University of Rochester

Two Local Teens Make Semi-Finals in 'Junior Nobel Prize'

January 25, 2008

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 that Katherine Manfred of Fairport High School and Alan She of Pittsford Mendon 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."

Each student will be awarded $1,000, and each school will receive $1,000 to support their science and math programs. The students, both seniors, have a chance to be included among the 40 finalists chosen to attend the Science Talent Institute in March in Washington, D.C. to compete for college scholarships totaling over $500,000. The finalists will be announced Jan 31.

Katherine performed hydrodynamic computer simulations to study a new concept for an energy-producing fusion reactor driven by laser beams. Alan wrote a computer program to model an LLE experiment designed to make more accurate measurements of the properties of cryogenic deuterium, a material used in fusion experiments carried out on the 60-beam Omega laser at LLE.

LLE's primary mission is to study the conditions necessary to create and sustain fusion. The scientists and engineers of LLE also strive to involve young adults in state-of-the-art science.

"Our program provides a unique educational opportunity for talented high-school students," says Stephen Craxton, LLE physicist and high-school program director. "They're amazingly motivated, and it's exciting to see them recognized as among the best in the nation."

Students working at the laboratory have made up the large majority of Rochester-area Intel semifinalists honored during the past two decades.

Application materials for LLE's summer program are sent to area high schools and placed on the LLE Web site,, in early February or can be obtained directly by calling Jean Steve at 275-9517. For more information about the program itself, please contact Steve Craxton at 275-5467.