Student adds to scientific gains
Philip Mocz has capped his high school senior year with one of the top awards in America's most prestigious science research competition.
The Mililani 18-year-old won eighth place and a $20,000 scholarship in the 2008 Intel Science Talent Search in Washington, D.C.
He was one of 40 finalists selected from more than more than 1,600 high school seniors who entered the competition.
Science Talent Search says its winners over the past 67 years have gone on to claim some of world's highest science and math honors, including six Nobel Prizes, three national Medals of Science, 10 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships and two Fields Medals.
This year's top award, a $100,000 scholarship from the Intel Foundation, went to 17-year-old Durham, N.C., student Shivani Sud.
She developed a model that analyzed the "molecular signatures" of tumors from patients with colon cancer and used the information to identify those at higher risk for recurring tumors and propose potential effective drugs for treatment.
Mocz received his scholarship award and a new laptop for designing and using a statistical algorithm to discover hidden patterns among nearby stars.
The title: "Dissecting the Nearby Universe: Monothetic Divisive Analysis Based on Voronoi Tessellations Reveals New Star Associations."
He also was a semifinalist in the 2007-2008 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology.
Philip and his sister, Lucia, a junior this year, have won numerous science awards in state and national competition.
Lucia won second place and Philip third place in the senior research category last year at the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair.
He also won the Best in Space Science Category Award in Astronomy and received a one-year scholarship to the University of Hawaii, a trip to Haleakala Observatory on Maui and several other prizes.
Lucia won four awards at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair last year in Albuquerque with her project, "Robot Vision: A Mutual Entropy-based Algorithm Through Scene Recognition from Image Sequences for Terrestrial and Planetary Exploration."
She won a $1,000 award in computer science, the top award of $1,000 from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence; $300 from the Association for Computing Machinery and $350 from the IEEE Computer Society.
In 2006, the siblings took top honors at the state science fair and led Hawaii's delegation to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Indianapolis.
Philip is graduating this year from Mililani High School and plans to study physics and math. He wants to go into astrophysics "as a professor or something," he said. "Hawaii has a great astrophysical facility at Mauna Kea."
He said he has been accepted at Stanford University and was offered a full scholarship at the California Institute of Technology, but hasn't decided where he will go.