Siemens Semifinalists

Siemens Semifinalists photo
From left, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tom Rogers and Deputy Superintendent Adele Bovard congratulate Rahul and Jarrad, along with Ms. Ade and Syosset High School Principal Dr. Giovanni Durante.
Siemens Semifinalists photo 2
Congratulations to Syosset High School seniors Jarrad Li and Rahul Parthasarathy for being named 2017 semifinalists in the Siemens Foundation Competition for Math, Science & Technology, the nation’s premier science research contest for high school students. Additional congratulations to Rahul, who advanced to the regional finalist round, one of only 11 from Long Island to reach this level.

Jarrad conducted research on safe, alternative energy at Stony Brook University, teaming with two other students from nearby high schools. They set out to eliminate carbon monoxide poisoning in proton exchange efficiency fuel cells, which drastically decreases the cell efficiency and durability of this otherwise burgeoning source of renewable energy. By synthesizing the optimal ratio of gold-silver alloy nanoparticles and coating the fuel cells with these nanoparticles, Jarrad and his team effectively catalyzed carbon monoxide oxidation and increased fuel cell power output. The end result was making the fuel cells more cost efficient and commercially viable as a source of alternative energy.

According to Jarrad, he gained a great deal of satisfaction from this project, as it allowed him to combine his knowledge of material science and chemical engineering.  

Rahul worked independently at Brookhaven National Laboratory to identify crystals formed from a compound of cadmium, zinc and tellurium that are most ideal for use as radiation detectors. One common problem affecting the widespread use of these detectors is that crystals are prone to defects when grown. By analyzing the properties of cadmium, zinc and tellurium that affect detector performance – including testing 54 crystals – Rahul was able to compare their strengths and weaknesses and characterize and identify those crystals most ideal for use in detectors. This makes detectors more affordable and accessible, opening up a wide range of applications, including in nuclear medicine to help to monitor a patient’s exposure while undergoing treatment, and in national security, by enabling first responders to assess the threat of radiation. Astrophysics is another area in which the detectors can be used prominently. 

Much like Jarrad, Rahul said he enjoyed his project because he was able to overlap two areas of great interest to him as well, medicine and physics
“Rahul and Jarrad are both determined and dedicated young scientists,” said Syosset High School science research facilitator Veronica Ade, who oversees the school’s participation in the Siemens competition. “They both followed their scientific passions to laboratories which could foster their talents and were able to use those experiences to enter the 2017 Siemens competition.”
Every year, students submit innovative individual and team research projects to regional and national levels of the Siemens competition as they vie for college scholarships ranging from $1,000 up to $100,000.

This year out of the more than 1,860 projects submitted, 491 students have been recognized as semifinalists and only 101 as regional finalists. Next up, on Nov. 18 Rahul will present his research via videoconference to judges at Carnegie Mellon University. On the line is a seat at the national finals at The George Washington University this December, where $500,000 in scholarships will be awarded, including two top prizes of $100,000. The Syosset Central School District wishes Rahul the best of luck as he moves on in the competition!