MATHLETES ... Palo Alto High School's BC Calculus Team was one of four teams at the first annual International Mathematical Modeling Challenge (IMMC) that took home top honors and will be heading to Hong Kong to celebrate. Students Eric Foster, Kathryn Li, Allison Zhang and Andrew Lee and adviser Radu Toma outwitted 16 other teams from 10 different countries during the multi-day competition. The math team was given a math problem and spent five days — even sleeping in the classroom — to craft a solution. This year's problem asked the students to design a model for the effective filming and production of a motion picture. The judges were impressed with the winning teams' "creativity and ingenuity in mathematical modeling and in their ability to explain their strategies and problem-solving techniques in clear terms," according to the IMMC website. This is the highest award Paly students have ever received in math, Toma said.
LATE REGISTRATION ... When Palo Alto officials unveiled in March the city's new Business Registry, they marked a milestone in what has been a long and frustrating effort to gather data about local employees. Now, the city is preparing for its next long and frustrating effort: getting businesses to participate. The online registry, which comes with a fee to cover the administrative cost, aims to shed light on commuting patterns and help the city with its various transportation and land-use planning initiatives. Yet despite an outreach campaign that included fliers, emails, social media and in-person contacts, most businesses have either not received the memo or have chosen to ignore it. As of the June 1 registration deadline, only 1,469 businesses have registered, a compliance rate of about 30 percent, by the city's estimate. The remaining 70 percent are now late and subject to additional fees. But because the program is new, staff isn't prepared to crack the whip just yet. Under a new proposal from the office of City Manager James Keene, city staff (along with two summer interns) will be visiting every single commercial property in the next two months to make sure all local employers know about the registration requirement. Every company will be verified and matched against the registry. If they still fail to register, they will be hit with a "final, direct communication" requesting that they do so, a report from Keene's office states. The process of knocking and verifying is expected to conclude in August.
PIONEER IN NEURAL DEVELOPMENT ... Stanford University biology and neurobiology professor Carla Shatz was awarded Tuesday Yale University's 2015 Gruber Foundation Neuroscience Prize for her work, which has contributed to the understanding of such disorders as autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's. Shatz, who will share the $500,000 prize for the award with Harvard University neurobiology professor Michael Greenberg, was honored for advancing understanding of how neural-circuit function and brain signaling controls wiring, plasticity and development in the brain and how dysfunction can lead to certain disorders, according to the Gruber Foundation. Officials with the foundation said Shatz's research "significantly helps scientists' understanding of neuropsychiatric disorders ... and could eventually lead to finding better treatments. Her study maps how the brain merges two separate visual signals from each eye to form a single image and which brain connections are strengthened or pruned back during and after early development. The research ... highlighted an unprecedented connection between the nervous system and the immune proteins." Schatz holds the Sapp Family Provostial Professorship in Stanford's Department of Neurobiology and is the David Starr Jordan director of Stanford Bio-X, Stanford's biomedical and bioscience department.
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