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Mercer science fair winners garner awards at international competition

Charlotte Michaluk, of Hopewell Valley Central High School, had been first runner up at the MSEF with her project Innovative Climate Change Emissions Reduction: Flettner Vortex Scrubber With Active Seakeeping.

The first- and second-place winners of this year’s Mercer Science and Engineering Fair (MSEF) went on to compete in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) where they won third- and second-place awards, respectively.

The ISEF, held on May 12, drew 1,750 entries from 49 states and 63 countries, according to information provided by Jonathan Allen, Ph.D., secretary, Mercer Science & Engineering Club.

This year the international fair was hybrid, with some students entering in person and others appearing virtually.

Satvik Dasariraju from the Lawrenceville School won the MSEF grand prize with RARE: Machine Learning Approach for Binning Rare Variant Features to Detect Association with Disease. The project used machine learning and AI to detect rare variant genetic irregularities associated with a wide range of diseases and disorders, including rejection of transplanted organs. His algorithm which he named RARE (Relevant Association of Rare-Variant-Bin Evolver) improves simplifies the analysis, thus making it more widely available.

At the international fair he received third place with an award of $1,000.

Charlotte Michaluk, of Hopewell Valley Central High School, had been first runner up at the MSEF with her project Innovative Climate Change Emissions Reduction: Flettner Vortex Scrubber With Active Seakeeping. Her project included both theory and experiments with large rotating vertical cylinders mounted on ship models.

Her conclusions were that first, thee rotors can serve as centrifugal scrubbers to remove engine-generated soot from the ship’s exhaust, second, they can assist propulsion and thereby reduce fuel consumption, and finally, they can reduce rolling of the ship in rough seas.

The international fair awarded her second place which carried a monetary prize of $2,000.

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