Board of Education and Superintendent honor Smithtown 2014 Intel Semifinalists

The Smithtown Board of Education and Superintendent, Judith Elias, honor HS East Senior, Yongpeng Tang, and HS West Senior, Catherine Feldman as Intel Science Talent Search Semi-Finalists.

Yongpeng’s paper titled, “Data Sonification of the Seismic Signature of Ocean Surf,” mentored by Stony Brook University Professor Dr. Henry Bokuniewicz, investigated the conversion of seismic data into acoustic signals. According to HS East’s science research teacher, Ms. Maria Zeitlin, “Yongpeng sought to answer the question as to how to best convert Big Data into recognizable pieces of information. There is an enormous amount of information that is contained within seismic recordings near ocean surf.  Somewhere buried within the values are pertinent telling events that could be predictive of surf conditions such as dangerous riptides.”

Yongpeng Tang spent countless hours using Fourier Transform to process the seismic data and sonify it for listening.  By doing so, he was able to “hear” the surf for both pitch and amplitude.  Ms. Zeitlin continues, “Yongpeng has a keen mind which was able to combine two of his passions, namely music and swimming.  His ability to work within mathematical concepts offers a possible solution to an emergent question of our time…how can we best analyze the enormous amount of Big Data that is being generated?”

Catherine’s paper titled, “Phylogenetic and Dietary Signals in the Dentition and Mandible of Carnivora:  A Geometric Morphometric Approach.”  Catherine has been a student in the Science Research Program at HS West for the last three years where she has worked closely with research teacher Dr. Joanne Figueiredo.  Catherine conducted her Intel research project in the Department of Anatomical Sciences at Stony Brook University under the direction of graduate student, Matthew Borths, and Dr. Erik Seiffert.  For this study, she analyzed 27,000 specimens from the teeth and jaws of 101 different species of Carnivora with markedly different dietary preferences.  Her study is aimed at determining whether phylogeny or type of diet plays a more significant role in the structure of the teeth and the jaws of animals.  Catherine’s work will be published in the Journal of Mammalian Evolution and she will be the first author on the manuscript.

Catherine is passionate about science and has become a leader and a role model among the science research students in the high school.  The most amazing thing about her is that she maintains a child-like joy for all of her scientific discoveries.   In addition to her academic talents, Catherine is a valued member of West’s Academic Quiz Bowl Team and a very active part of the Math Honor Society and Hobby Club.

The Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) is the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. Since 1942, first in partnership with Westinghouse and beginning in 1998 with Intel, SSP has provided a national stage for the country’s best and brightest young scientists to present original research to nationally recognized professional scientists.

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