Three Hewlett High School students, two from Lawrence High and their group partner from the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway were named semifinalists in the 2014 Siemens Competition in Match, Science and Technology on Oct. 16. Arthur Chen and Lee Blackburn are the Lawrence students, and Justin Lish is from HAFTR. Their project is “Optimization of Catalytic Activity in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells Utilizing Functionalized Graphene Oxide/Partially Reduced Graphene Oxide Coatings.” They found way to reduce carbon monoxide levels that poison the fuel cells to increase efficiency and reduce the cost of producing those cells.
Senior Meghan Bialt-DeCelie and juniors Benjamin Golbin and Levy Sominsky worked together under the guidance of Dr. Terence Bissoondial, who oversees the high school’s research program, and developed their project at Hewlett High and completed the project this summer at Stony Brook University.
“I am quite delighted with the results, considering the changes that occurred to the research program,” said Bissondial, referring to the staff reductions that have him teaching more classes and doing less with research. “It is good to have the support of the Hewlett-Woodmere administration, the parents and of course, devoted students who followed me to Stony Brook University for the summer to finish their research project.”
Their research project, “Investigating the phytotoxcity of ZnO nanoparticles and the mechanism of transports in the prothallial cells of Ceratoperis richardii, focused on the toxicity of zinc oxide nanoparicles, which are widely used in many consumer products like cosmetics, textile and skin lotions. Nanoparticles are particles between one and 100 nanometers in size. Studies on the phytotoxity (toxic damage) of nanoparticles are uncommon, especially in regards to how they work and their relationship and impact within the food chain.