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UNT Insider | February 2008 Issue | Vinay Ramasesh

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Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science student named finalist in Intel Science Talent Search

From a UNT News Service press release


Vinay Ramasesh of Fort Worth, a student at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, is one of 40 students in the nation selected as a finalist in the 2008 Intel Science Talent Search. He is the ninth TAMS student to be named a finalist since 1993, and the third since 2006.


Ramasesh and the other finalists will attend the Intel Science Talent Search Institute March 6-11 in Washington, D.C., to compete for 10 scholarships ranging from $20,000 to $100,000. Finalists will present their research to a panel of judges and meet distinguished scientists and representatives from Congress. Scholarship winners will be announced at a March 11 dinner.


For his Intel project, Ramasesh worked in the laboratory of Angela Wilson, associate professor of chemistry. He examined a class of quantum mechanical methods called local methods, which are used to calculate the potential energy of molecular systems. Wilson says Ramasesh's work "has been critical in our development of new methodology to study large molecules."


"Vinay has exceptional talent and research potential, and it has been a true joy to have Vinay be a part of my research group," she says.


As a finalist, Ramasesh is guaranteed at least a $5,000 scholarship, after receiving $1,000 for being named a semifinalist. He also received an Intel Centrino mobile technology-based notebook computer.


The son of Ranga and Nalini Ramasesh of Fort Worth and a former student at North Crowley High School, Ramasesh is a second-year student at TAMS, a two-year residential program at UNT that allows talented students to complete their freshman and sophomore years of college while earning high school diplomas.


Students enroll in the academy following their sophomore year in high school, live in a UNT residence hall and attend UNT classes with college students. After two years, they enroll at UNT or another university to finish their bachelor's degrees.


Ramasesh is one of three finalists in this year's Intel Science Talent Search from a Texas school. He was first selected Jan. 16 as one of 300 semifinalists, chosen from more than 1,700 applicants. He was one of seven semifinalists from TAMS, which has a long history of students being named semifinalists and finalists in the competition. This year, TAMS had the largest number semifinalists from a Texas school and the fourth-largest number of any high school in the United States.


The Intel Science Talent Search is the nation's premier program to recognize high school student research in science, mathematics and engineering. Since it began in 1942, the competition has produced winners of the world's most prestigious academic honors. Six former finalists have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, and finalists have also been awarded the Fields Medal, the National Medal of Science and MacArthur Foundation Fellowships.


Ramasesh previously was recognized for his research last October, when he was named a semifinalist in the 2007 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology. The competition, established in 1999, honors both individual research projects in the mathematics and sciences conducted by high school students and projects that students conduct with one or two other students. He then became one of 15 Texas students chosen as regional finalists in the competition for their individual projects, and presented his research before a panel of judges.


At TAMS, Ramasesh is president of Mu Alpha Theta, a mathematics honor society. Under Ramasesh's direction, the organization sponsored a math tournament for TAMS students last semester to raise money for charity, and plans to host a statewide math tournament for high school students this semester. Ramasesh also qualified for the USA Mathematical Olympiad, a prestigious annual mathematics competition that consists of a six-question, nine-hour mathematical proof examination spread out over two days.


In addition, Ramasesh has been a member of the TAMS Science Bowl Team, which placed in the top 16 in national competition, and the TAMS chapter of the Junior Engineering Technical Society, or JETS. As a JETS member, Ramasesh is part of a team of TAMS students participating in the annual National Engineering Design Challenge, which challenges students to design assistive technology devices that people with disabilities can use to succeed in the workplace and in their lives. The TAMS team designed an Ergonomic Spool Assembly System, an adjustable table that combines adjustable height and incline to allow workers in wheelchairs to manufacture spools easily.


After graduating from TAMS in May, Ramasesh will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston to major in mathematics and physics. He plans to become a researcher in theoretical physics or nanotechnology.


UNT News Service Press Release
Nancy Kolsti can be reached at nkolsti@unt.edu.

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February 2008

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