Students at Palo Alto High School continue to rack up national honors in science and mathematics this spring -- including placing second in a national math contest, announced Monday.
In Washington, D.C., earlier this month, students Lynnelle Ye, Michael Yuan, Rui Shu, Albert Lin and Kevin Hu tied for seventh place in the National Science Bowl, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Paly competed against 68 regional-champion teams representing 42 states and 20,000 students in thousands of high schools.
Of the three Bay Area high schools represented in the finals, Paly finished first, besting Lynbrook High School of San Jose and Mission San Jose High School of Fremont.
The team earned $1,000 for the Paly Science Department, and a personal congratulations from U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning former Stanford University physics professor and director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Paly's Science Bowl team was coached by Science Teacher Shawn Leonard.
A math contest organization announced Monday that a Paly team placed second in the 2010 Collaborative Problem-Solving Contest sponsored by National Assessment and Testing.
While most math competitions encourage rote memorization, familiar problems and quick mental reflexes, the problem-solving contest presented schools with 15 "unique, intricate problems to be solved over the course of a week," the organization said.
Coached by Paly's Mathematics Instructional Supervisor Suz Antink, students used brainstorming, collaboration, research and technology to solve the problems.
Antink said the core members of the math team are John Boyle, Mark Nishimura, Jeffrey Ling, Jeffrey Yan, Allen Zheng, Justin Krasner-Karpen, Kiho Alvin Kim, Avi Arfin, Lynnelle Ye, Ben Sklaroff, Matt Miller, Grace Fang, Sophie Wang, Stephen Hu, Pierre Bourbannais, Nassim Fedel, Nikhil Bhargava and Scott Zhuge.
Besides placing second, Paly was commended for having the highest score on eight of the 15 problems, including the open-ended problem, for which the team submitted a problem involving an encrypted Rubic's Cube.
For Paly senior Lynnelle Ye, the Science Bowl competition represented at least her third trip to the east coast in recent months.
In March, Ye was in the capital to claim honors in the Intel Science Talent Search, in which she placed fourth in the nation for her project on game theory. Ye also placed second in the nation in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology.
Ye also participated in Paly's prize-winning Science Olympiad, a national organization that runs K-12 science competitions, which it describes as similar to "academic track meets."
Advised by Leonard as well as teachers Ron Bowditch, Michelle Steingart and Janet Shyr, Science Olympiad members include students Erika Ji, Kathy Woo, Ruby Maa, Stella Chen, Albert Lin, Chris Liu, Jenny Hong, Kevin Hu, Michelle Chung, Michael Yuan, Rui Shu, Dan Shan, Karine Hsu and Ye.