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Young Australian scientist wins award at Intel fair

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A young Australian scientist is among the prize winners at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) 2007, presented by Agilent Technologies, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States. More than 1,500 young scientists from 51 countries, regions and territories participated in the fair.

Ben Hughes, a 16 year-old Year 11 student at the SHORE School, North Sydney, won second prize in the Plant Sciences category for his project “The Relationship Between the Ecological Niche of Plants and the Factors Affecting the Germination of Their Seeds”. Ben also received US$1,500 cash for the win.

Ben’s project investigates factors affecting seed germination in arid dune areas, such as heat and smoke, and the impact of these factors on revegetation.

His findings, if verified, could have bearing on revegetation practices in Australia’s eroded and disturbed coastal dunes.

Robbie Bishop Taylor, a 17 year-old Year 11 student at Great Lakes College, Forster Campus, also represented Australia at Intel ISEF, competing in the Environment Management category.

Robbie’s research project “The Identification of critical Salinity Thresholds for Upper-estuarine Plants” explored the effects of diminishing river flow, such as salinity intrusion, which can cause damage to reliant species such as freshwater plants.

Robbie’s research could be of value in developing environmental flow restrictions for estuaries.

“All 1,500 Intel ISEF participants represent some of the innovative thinking around the world,” said Intel chairman, Craig Barrett.

“Intel ISEF is part of our company’s commitment to foster young innovators like these who will one day transform the world in ways we can hardly imagine.”

In addition to the top three Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award winners, more than 500 Intel ISEF participants received scholarships and prizes for their groundbreaking work.

Intel awards included the 18 “Best of Category” winners, selected from the categories, who each received a $5,000 Intel scholarship and an Intel Centrino Duo Mobile Technology-based notebook.

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