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OHS Senior Named Semifinalist in Prestigious Siemens Competition


Congratulations to Orange High School senior Isabel Sands who was recently named a semifinalist in this year’s prestigious Siemens Competition, the nation’s premier competition in math, science, and technology for high school students. She was selected from more than 1600 students who submitted innovative individual and team research projects. Isabel was mentored by Dr. B Alex Brown of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory/ Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at Michigan State University. 

Isabel summarized her project: "My project was in theoretical nuclear physics. I made predictions about the nuclear properties of rare, neutron-rich isotopes of calcium using Skyrme forces, approximations of the interactions between particles in the atomic nucleus. These results were then used to predict the upper limit to neutron star mass. Neutron stars are small, very dense remnants of massive stars that have undergone gravitational collapse after a supernova. Neutron stars are mostly composed of tightly-packed neutrons, so they can be modeled with the same neutron equation of state as the calcium nucleus. I predicted that neutron stars can have twice the mass of the sun, which is exciting because it agrees with astrophysical observation, and previous theoretical models have not been able to agree with observation."

Launched by the Siemens Foundation in 1999, the Siemens Competition promotes excellence in math, science, and technology and is recognized by colleges and universities as the premier math and science research competition in the United States. More than $600,000 in college scholarships are awarded to students annually through the Siemens Competition during regional and national events administered by Discovery Education. The Siemens Competition honors the best and brightest students for their accomplishments in math and science – students who are changing the world for the better. 

“These semi-finalists should be extremely proud of this high-level academic accomplishment,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “Their projects represent some of the most noteworthy and exceptional of those submitted and reflected an advanced level of STEM research.”

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