Carmel student wins $10,000 scholarship

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Producing highly-qualified professionals, including scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs is critical to maintaining economic productivity in the United States. Public discourse on our nation’s competitiveness tends to focus on the needs of low-performing students. As important to our country’s future success are the most capable of students, who are reaching high levels of academic excellence and deserve support. Among these high achievers, 18 bright young people named as 2011 Davidson Fellows exemplify the extraordinary work that can be accomplished by U.S. students who are given opportunities to excel.

One of these gifted students is Rebecca Chen of Carmel, who studied a generalized version of the Yang-Baxter equation. In recognition of their accomplishments, Rebecca will be honored as 2011 Davidson Fellows. Ranging in age from 14 to 17, this year’s Davidson Fellows will receive $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 scholarships from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Reno, Nev. that supports profoundly gifted youth.

“The Davidson Institute is built on the belief that individuals, who have extraordinary intelligence and talents, when encouraged and supported, can improve the quality of life for us all,” said Bob Davidson, co-founder of the Davidson Institute. “We are delighted to recognize a group of resourceful and distinguished young people for their fascinating projects – projects that have the potential to benefit society.”

Rebecca Chen, age 16, classified three families of 8×8 matrix solutions to the generalized Yang-Baxter equation using algebraic computations and computer numerical checking. These solutions provide a way to generate braiding quantum gates needed in quantum computing, and contribute to the ongoing effort to build a large-scale quantum computer, bringing advances in fields as far-ranging as materials sciences and cryptography.

While Rebecca has made significant strides in the field of mathematics, the 2011 Davidson Fellows can claim important accomplishments that are quite diverse:

  • ·         Creating an economically efficient and functional humanoid robot,
  • ·         Examining the progression of musical performance preparation,
  • ·         Designing a seismo-acoustic method for detecting landmines, and
  • ·         Developing a predictive model to detect adolescent depression.

“Davidson Fellows, who are on the cutting edge of science, mathematics and technology, and at the forefront of music and literature, demonstrate the potential of America’s next generation of innovative leaders,” said Jan Davidson, Ph.D., co-founder of the Davidson Institute. “We applaud the tenacity of these gifted youth who embrace the challenge to succeed.”


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