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Forest Hills HS lauds its Intel winner

A Forest Hills HS student last week became the only Queens public school student named a semifinalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search.

Eric Cheung, 17, a senior at the 110th Street school, was honored for his project called “Bayesian Estimation of Levy Process Volatility in Black-Scholes Model for Option Pricing.”

Cheung, who declined to be interviewed, in a written statement credited the “free learning atmosphere, supportive teachers and effective administration” at Forest Hills HS with contributing to his success.

He said an AP statistics class was instrumental in providing a foundation for his award-winning economics study.

Forest Hills HS Principal Felicia Hirata said the school had many winners back when the competition was sponsored by Westinghouse, but Cheung stood out as one of the special students she has encountered.

“It’s an honor to educate such a kid,” she said.

Several students who live in central Queens but attend public schools in other boroughs, were also selected as semifinalists.

Suhan Li, a Bronx HS of Science senior from Rego Park, was eating lunch last Wednesday when his science teacher rushed toward him in the school’s cafeteria. “You’re a winner,” Li recalled being told.

The native of Shanghai, China, who came to the United States in 1991, was chosen for his physics project titled, “Surface-induced Coherence in Atomic Fluorescence Decay Rates.”

The 18-year-old said he is anxious to test his results in a laboratory setting.

Li developed an interest in physical science in an AP Physics class and began work on his project in September 2000 with the assistance of Professor Duo Liang Lin of the State University of New York at Buffalo.

His work has already been published in the academic journal, Physics Letters A.

Li is waiting to hear from 10 colleges, including his top choices of Stanford, Princeton and MIT. He originally thought of studying medicine, but said the Intel project awakened within him an interest in physical science that he plans to pursue academically.

“I’m just glad all the hard work paid off,” he said.

Stuyvesant High School boasted 15 semifinalists, the second most in the nation, including winners from Rego Park and Forest Hills. The students were able to complete their projects despite the fact that the school next to the World Trade Center had to be evacuated after Sept. 11.

David Blackman, 17, of Rego Park was chosen for his project called “Design Pattern Analysis in Web Development: A Database Content Description Language Using XML and Perf.” Yan Xiang Liang, 17, was selected for a study titled “Readers Beware! Effects of Noise on the Channel for Reading;”

Forest Hills’ Albert Lin, 17, of St. Francis Prep, was also awarded a semi-final slot. His project, “A Survey of the Public Chandra Data Archive (CDA) in Search of Serendipitous X-ray Pulsars,” made him one of two winners in the Fresh Meadows school.

Lin searched through an archive of events observed through a telescope and discovered four previously unknown stars. He credited his mentors at both the Fresh Meadows School and Columbia University with guiding the project.

But an even bigger influence was his father, who gave him a telescope when he turned 10. Lin, who said he hopes to one day work for NASA, has been hooked on astronomy ever since.

Reach reporter Daniel Massey by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

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