Montgomery Blair High School senior Alan Mark Dunn was awarded fourth prize in the Intel Science Talent Search March 12 for his computer science project on encryption.
Finishing in 11th place, just below the top 10 winners, was another Blair student,
The two were the only Maryland students among the 40 national finalists in the prestigious competition, often considered the "junior Nobel Prize," which celebrated its 60th anniversary this year.
Dunn, 17, received a $25,000 scholarship for his computer science project titled "Optimization of Advanced Encryption Standard Candidate Algorithms for the Macintosh G4." Encryption is a critical tool for maintaining the privacy and anonymity of electronic communications.
Dunn is co-author of a paper for the 15th European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research. He is also an activist in a grassroots superhighway campaign and believes that "as a scientist, one has a civic duty to be involved in the public decision-making process." Dunn is considering attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology next year.
Pastor and other finalists not in the top 10 received $5,000 scholarships. Pastor took 11th place for his biochemistry project, "Synthesis and Computer Modeling of BETA-Amyloid Fibrils Associated with Alzheimer's Disease." In the Washington, D.C., area, one student from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax, Va., placed 12th. In addition to the scholarship, each finalist received a mobile computer.
The research projects cover all disciplines of science, including chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, social science and biology. Intel STS entries were reviewed and judged by top scientists from various disciplines.
The Science Talent Search is sponsored by the Intel Corporation in partnership with Science Service, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization. Since 1942, the competition, formerly known as the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, has recognized 2,400 finalists with more than $5 million in scholarships. MCPS has had 110 semifinalists, 18 of whom went on to be named finalists.