Friday, 22 January 2010 00:00
“It was a total surprise,” a smiling Manhasset senior Bernard Liu commented. The high school senior’s humble response was regarding the announcement that his science research project was selected a semifinalist in the INTEL Science Competition. Bernard was one of 61 Long Island high school students, and 300 students nationwide selected for the honor.
His topic, “A Possible New Approach to Positron Emission Tomography using Time of Flight from Multi-Gap Resistive Plate Chambers to Replace or Enhance the use of Inorganic Crystals,” investigated improvement in medical testing, in this case PET scans.
PET scans are used to measure brain activity and to detect early stages of cancer. PET scans require inorganic crystals that take time to grow, are small and are costly to produce, and only cover specific areas.
Bernard created a computer model that predicted the likelihood that variables such as glass type, thickness and gas gaps can improve the efficiency of PET scans. Glass plates, replacing the inorganic crystals, his research concluded, are much cheaper to produce and as a result can be used for larger, full body PET scans.
Theresa Curry, district coordinator for Science in Manhasset congratulated Bernie: “We are so proud of Bernie and his accomplishments. His fortitude, dedication, and intelligence are most admirable. He has truly developed and thrived as a science research student over the past three years and we are thrilled to witness the accolades bestowed upon him. Accolades he truly deserves. The Science Research Program, under the direction of Mr. Peter Guastella continues, year-after-year, to cultivate an amazing group of dedicated young scientists. I am so proud that the efforts of our students, teachers, and the science research program, are also being recognized by such prestigious programs as INTEL. It is a proud day for the Manhasset community.”
Liu developed the project while at a summer internship at the STAR Group, Brookhaven National Laboratory. Bernard and his mentor, Lijuan Ruan, discussed high energy physics and collaborated on the research.
Bernard has attended Manhasset Public Schools since fifth grade and has been in the science research program since ninth grade. He is unsure of which college he will attend in the fall, but he said a major in physics is likely.