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Kew Gardens teen named Intel winner

A Kew Gardens student who developed a simple way to make semiconductors and a Richmond Hill teenager who studied HIV vaccines were among 19 borough residents to be named semifinalists last week in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search.

Anurag Gupta, 17, a Kew Gardens resident who attends Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, was sitting in English class last Wednesday when his science teacher barged into the room with news he was selected as a semifinalist for his project titled “Sonochemical Synthesis of II-VI Semiconductor Nanocrystallites and their Characterization.”

“I was running around the school,” Gupta recalled. “I called my parents. I think my hard work paid off.”

Gupta said semiconductors are traditionally prepared using long arduous processes that require temperatures exceeding 800 degrees Celsius, but his study developed a cheaper, more efficient method. Semiconductors are vital components used in manufacturing computers.

“If a 17-year-old like myself can do it, then it really is not intricate and hazardous,” he said.

Gupta, who was born in India, is waiting to hear from colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore. He has yet to decide whether he will study math and science or business.

Though he was selected class valedictorian, Gupta said he has many interests outside the classroom. He plays tennis and swims, is an aspiring guitarist and has logged more than 800 hours of community service at soup kitchens, Hindu temples and senior centers.

The Richmond Hill winner, Prabjot Mundi, 17, was one of 15 Stuyvesant HS students awarded semifinal slots for their work. His project was titled, “HIV-1 Vaccine Development: The V3-Loop Domain.”

Mundi could not be reached for comment.

Eric Cheung, 17, became the only Queens public school student to receive the coveted award.

The Forest Hills HS senior was honored for his project titled, “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.

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

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