Intel Semifinalists

Six students from North and South High Schools were named Semifinalists in the 2012 Intel Science Talent Search, a program of Society for Science & the Public. Intel (the former Westinghouse competition) is the country's oldest pre-college science competition and is considered by many to be the most prestigious.

North High's Semifinalists are: Kristine, Claire, and Susan. Kristine's faculty sponsor was Alan Schorn. Faculty sponsor for Claire and Susan was Dr. Marie van Nieuwenhuizen.

South High's Semifinalists are: Emily, Jeong Yun (John), and Patrick. Emily's faculty sponsors were Drs. Carol Hersh and James Truglio. Dr. Hersh was also John's sponsor; Dr. Truglio was also Patrick's.

Semifinalists each receive a $1,000 award. In addition, to recognize excellence in teaching and school support of individual student research, respective schools receive $1,000 per Semifinalist to support their science, math, and/or engineering programs. Semifinalists will also be honored with certificates of accomplishment.

The Semifinalist project descriptions that follow are excerpted from the written abstracts that were a required part of each student's research project.

Kristine's research project was "The Preparation of Nanoparticle-Stablized Antibubbles Optimized for Long Lifetime." Kristine examined the factors involved in the creation of stable antibubbles, which are aqueous cores encapsulated by a thin air film in a surrounding aqueous environment. A revised technique of generating stable antibubbles through the coating of aqueous droplets in water-repellant nanoparticles was thoroughly examined. For factors affecting antibubble stability, Kristine discovered the presence of an antibubble breakdown process that is temperature dependent and utilized experimental data to calculate the activation energy for this process. She also introduced propane into the gaseous layer of the antibubble in place of air, resulting in antibubbles that lasted up to 48 hours. A practical application of this process would be the encapsulation of food ingredients to mask the taste of certain ingredients or delay their release. Although further stabilization mechanisms would likely have to be developed, Kristine's study attempts to lay groundwork for the future.

Claire's project was "The Neuropsychology of Social Instincts: A Behavioral and Information-Theoretic Analysis of the Cues Involved in Trustworthiness Evaluations." Understanding cues leading to trustworthiness judgments can provide insight into communication. Claire's project isolated cues to determine which are most important in trustworthiness and likeability assessments. Videos of tandem-masters (the individuals who lead skydivers on skydives) were edited into audio, video, postural, eyes, intonation, and text categories. Subjects were provided with two clips in one of the categories and choose one man as more trustworthy and one as more likeable. Deciding whom to trust was based on auditory information, while deciding whom to like was based on visual information. These results suggest a disconnect between trustworthiness and likeability.

Susan's project was "Reactive Transport Model of Anthropogenic Carbon Sequestration." Anthropogenic greenhouse gases, due to burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, are a great contributor to global warming. One proposed way to get rid of carbon dioxide (CO2) is to "sequester" it, or inject it underground in such a way that it cannot escape. The Earth's crust is very rich in basalt, a very porous rock, which reacts chemically with CO2 to form solid carbonates. To offer a realistic solution, however, the chemical reaction needs to occur more slowly than the diffusion of the CO2 through a large underground region, otherwise the pores in the basalt would fill up and the reaction would stop. A multi-physics package named COMSOL and a chemical-reactions simulation called PHREEQCi were combined to find that a supersaturated CO2 solution would completely fill a model aquifer after 80 days, while the chemical reaction of CO2 into carbonates occurred over a period of 150 years. It would then take over 1,000 years for the volume of minerals precipitated to equal the amount of pore space available. Hence, decreasing porosity was found not to limit the effectiveness of carbon storage in basalt.

Emily's research project was "Design and Synthesis of a Novel Diphenyl Ether Targeting InhA from Mycobacterium Tuberculosis to Aid Future Drug Discovery." Two million deaths each year from tuberculosis, along with the rise of multi-drug resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, reinforce the need for novel antibiotics to combat this deadly disease. Emily's project focused on targeting a certain enzyme in M. tuberculosis, called InhA, which is involved in the synthesis of components of the cell wall of the pathogen. Although the enzyme inhibitor she synthesized did not turn out to be an improvement over the current inhibitors, it contributes to the understanding of features that are important for effective inhibition.

John's project was "Cytotoxicity of Graphene Oxide Nanoribbons on Human Breast Cancer Cells." The focus of John's research was to study the cytotoxicity of graphene oxide nanoribbons on human breast cancer cells. Graphene oxide nanoribbons are a type of carbon-based nonoparticle that has the potential to revolutionize the field of nanomedicine. These nanoparticles are currently being explored for their potential medical applications, such as for molecular imaging of breast cancer tumors and to improve the accuracy and efficiency of breast cancer treatment.

Patrick's project was "Studies of the Mechanism by which Human Prostate Cancer Cell Death Is Induced by Watercress Extract." In the US, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Chemoprevention is an effective strategy to prevent tumor development, and dietary vegetables appear to contain significant chemopreventive ability. Watercress extract was found to significantly inhibit the growth of human prostate cancer cells. Phenethyl isothiocyanate, a compound richly found in watercress, was confirmed to induce prostate cancer cell death. The results suggest that the compounds in watercress extract including phenethyl isothiocyanate are chemopreventive agents.

What Intel Entails

Intel, begun in 1942, evaluates applicants in many areas of involvement. Students must submit a lengthy written application on an independent science-research project. Their work must elicit evidence of excellence and accomplishments. They frequently revise their work, often beginning a year or more prior to the competition. Projects are evaluated and scored by a committee of over 100 pre-eminent scientific professionals based on the online application questions, the research report, and the overall scientific potential of the student. Research projects cover many disciplines, including behavioral science, biochemistry, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, medicine and health, and physics. "With their dedication and achievement in disciplines ranging from environmental science to bioengineering, the 2012 Semifinalists have distinguished themselves as the nation's top young researchers," said Elizabeth Marincola, president of the Society for Science & the Public. "Together with Intel we congratulate these exceptional students and commend the mentors, teachers, schools, parents, and communities that have contributed to their success." Many Intel alumni hold the world's most prestigious honors, including the Nobel Prize, National Medal of Science, Fields Medal, and MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.


Capital Projects Proposition Vote--Feb. 14

On Tuesday, Feb. 14, qualified voters in the Great Neck Public School District will be asked to authorize the proposed $17,184,085 Capital Projects Proposition. This Proposition will be totally funded from the district's Unassigned Fund Balance and will have no negative impact on taxpayers.

Voting on the Proposed Capital Projects Proposition will be held from 7 a.m.-10 p.m., at the Baker School (69 Baker Hill Rd.) for residents living north of the LIRR, and at South High School (341 Lakeville Rd.), for residents living south of the LIRR.

For further information about the 2012 Proposed Capital Projects Proposition, call the district business office at (516) 441-4020.


What's New: Spring at the Adult Program

The new Great Neck Public Schools Adult Program Spring/Summer Catalog should be in your mailbox soon! The lovely swans gracing the cover invite you to think ahead to spring and take advantage of our extensive array of classes, special events, and trips. Most classes meet at the Cumberland Adult Center, 30 Cumberland Ave. (half block south of Northern Blvd., off Lakeville Road). The Spring/Summer Catalog is current from April&endash;September 2012. Please retain your catalog through summer. You are now able to register online via the Adult Program Web site at View the course options and then follow the registration link. You will receive your registration confirmation by e-mail. Our Early Bird Discount runs through March 16: take $5 off each course over $99 (excludes special events, trips, and computer, driver education, and chess classes). Register for both the Spring and Summer semesters of a course at the same time and take an additional $10 off your registration fee.

Brand new to the Adult Program are Playwriting, Short Story Writing, Theater Workshop, History of Opera, Origins of World War I, Magic 101, Vintage Handwriting, Papermaking, Beaded Jewelry Design, French Book Club, Italian for the Traveler, Yiddish Conversation, Mat Pilates, and Chair Yoga.

We continue to offer courses in the latest technology including iPad and iPad apps, Nook and Kindle, "Cloud" computing, phone & smart phone apps, social networking, blogging, texting, animation and multimedia, digital cameras, eBay, Apple Mail, and iWeb, as well as training in Word, Excel, Quicken, PowerPoint, Picasa, and Photoshop Elements.

Watercolor, painting, drawing, stone sculpture, pottery, handweaving, jewelry design, printmaking, silversmithing, and collage are among the many creative offerings in our Fine Arts and Fine Crafts program.

Learn a new language or revisit one from your past--Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Latin and Greek Roots are taught by dedicated teachers. Play your game of choice--bridge, canasta, chess, and mah jongg are offered for beginners as well as more advanced players. Sing alone, in a group, for fun, in cabaret style; learn piano, armchair conducting, explore jazz, opera, Gilbert & Sullivan, and theater. If you want to get moving--try ballroom, swing, Israeli, or belly dancing. Get fit with Zumba, Nia, yoga, Pilates, aerobics, body workout, hand-weight training, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, water exercise, meditation, and mostly seated exercises for seniors.

Join us for interesting and engaging special events. Margaret Roach, discusses her memoir, A Garden for 365 Days, describing her life from a lucrative publishing career to a return to nature, the garden, and a quieter life. Author Sandra Beasly discusses her well-received book, Don't Kill the Birthday Girl, offering firsthand insight into the world of food allergies. Two culinary-themed events are on the menu: Francine Segan, foodie and cookbook author, brings a discussion and tasting of Dolci, Italy's Sweets. Food maven Arthur Schwartz returns to conduct a cooking class with simple dishes from the Southern Italian diet, sampling included. Sina Kiai entertains us with a piano recital entitled, Impressionism: Piano Music from France. It includes a pre-concert talk.

More than 30 day trips are planned including three excursions Philadelphia: van Gogh at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the New National Museum of American Jewish History, and the new Barnes Foundation. See New York in a different light: Soho Food & Culture Walking Tour, National September 11 Memorial, Madame Alexander Doll Company Tour with lunch at Alice's Teacup, and a unique mozzarella-making demonstration and Italian lunch in Astoria.

Classes for parent/grandparent and children together include crochet, watercolor, collage, pizza and cannoli making, and yoga after school.

Chinese for grades 2&endash;5, chess coaching and playing for grades K&endash;12, and PSAT/SAT preparation for high school students are also offered. Resident high school students may enroll in late afternoon, evening, and weekend classes Adult Program classes, many at a reduced high school rate, as long as space is available.