Friday, February 1, 2008

NRI 'Shravani Mikkilineni' in hunt for Intel's “Junior Nobel”

Sohan Mikkilineni, Shravani Mikkilineni, 2nd and 3rd from left

WASHINGTON: It's called the “Junior Nobel”, and eight Indian American high school students - five of them girls - are among 40 named finalists for this year's Intel Science Talent Search, America's most prestigious high school science competition now in its 67th year.

Selected from among several thousand applicants from across the US, the finalists will travel to Washington DC in March for a gruelling week-long finale. The winner will get a USD 100,000 scholarship, while each of the 40 finalists gets USD 5,000.

The Indian American finalists are: Shravani Mikkilineni (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan), Hamsa Sridhar (Kings Park, New York), Ashok Chandran (Nesconset, New York), Shivani Sud (Durham, North Carolina), Isha Jain (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania), Ayon Sen (Austin, Texas) and Vinay Venkatesh Ramasesh (Fort Worth, Texas), Avanthi Raghavan (Orlando, Florida),

“Intel STS showcases the incredible advancements made by students across the nation when we get the system right and demonstrates the capabilities of the next generation,” Intel CEO Craig Barrett said.

Over the past 67 years, the Science Talent Search alumni have received more than 100 of the world's most coveted science and math honours including six Nobel Prizes, three National Medals of Science and 10 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, says Intel.

Shravani Mikkilineni 17, studied the computation of continued fraction expansions of the square roots of positive integers for her Intel Science Talent Search project in mathematics. Continued fractions provide approximations to the square roots of non-square integers, but are not easily computed. Let d be the largest integer less than the square root of k. Shravani found an accessible computation in the case where 2d / (k - d 2) is a half integer.

At Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, Shravani is captain of the varsity tennis team and senior editor of the yearbook. Originally the only female on the team, she has emerged as a leader on her school's F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Team. Shravani played violin in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Sinfonia, and enjoys performing classical Indian dance. Her work in both biology and math has earned numerous national awards, and she co-founded a nonprofit charitable organization which benefits children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Ghana, raising both money and school supplies. The daughter of Prasad and Jhansi Mikkilineni, she hopes to continue her math and biology research at Harvard, MIT or Stanford.

In 2007, Sohan Venkat Mikkilineni, brother of Shravani Mikkilineni (Detroit Country Day school) was also the finalist along with 3 other Indians in the Intel Science Talent Search.
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