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Valley students claim top spots in international science and engineering competition
Cedarcrest High School science students and honors science researchers Thorsen Wehr, a sophomore, and Isaac Harper, a freshman, each earned third place in their respective competitions in the 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), and a place on the Grand Award Stage of the competition, held last month in Phoenix.
Wehr entered the physics and astronomy category with his research, "Focusing Sound Waves Using a Two-Dimensional Non-Linear System." In dry air, sound waves travel l8 times slower than in more dense materials, such as steel. Focusing sound, or the acoustic lens effect, was governed by this principle. His research was considered a success because the non-linear acoustic lens he created to focus sound, produced a considerable increase in relative amplitude at specific focal points.
Harper entered his research, "Enhancing Maturation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem-celled Derived Cardiomyocytes by Triiodothyronine and Nanopatterned Substrate," in the cellular and molecular biology category. Recent advances in stem cell research have introduced new options for scientists to investigate potential treatments for regenerating damaged cardiac tissue and avoiding high-risk and high-cost treatments such as open heart surgery or cardiac transplantation.
Both students were called to the Grand Award Stage, an honor that only 25 percent of finalists in the event earn.
Former CHS science teacher Bruce Murdock attended ISEF and noted the boys' successes mark the first time Cedarcrest High School has ever earned a Grand Award at ISEF. After the Grand Award Ceremony both Wehr and Harper were interviewed for a Japanese television documentary regarding their award-winning science research.
Nearly 1,700 high school finalists from 70 countries, regions, and territories displayed their independent research at the fair.