DIRECTION SENSE ... Five Palo Alto students will be heading to San Diego on April 1 to compete in the National Geographic Bee, a competition for fourth- through eighth-grade students. The winner of the statewide competition will then proceed to Washington, D.C. for the national competition, which will take place May 22-25 in the National Geographic Society headquarters. Local participants are JLS Middle School eighth-grader Sophie Alexis; Jordan Middle School eighth-grader Leo Marburg; Terman Middle School eighth-grader Andy Yang; and El Carmelo Elementary fifth-grader Lucian Zhao. Each of these students has won the geography competition in his or her school to become eligible for the competition.
CRYPTO DREAM TEAM ... Stanford University cryptography pioneers Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman have been awarded the 2015 A.M. Turing Award, the Association for Computing Machinery announced Tuesday, March 1, at the largest gathering of cryptographers working on Internet security. The award, often referred to as the "Nobel Prize of computing," comes with a $1 million prize funded by Google. Diffie and Hellman are credited with bringing "cryptography from the shadowy realm of classified espionage into the public space," according to Stanford News Service. Their 1976 paper "New Directions in Cryptography" provided a blueprint for a revolutionary new technique, called public-key cryptography, that allows people to communicate over an open channel but keep their information secret from any potential eavesdroppers. They also introduced the concept of digital signatures. The Association for Computing Machinery will present the pair with the annual award at a banquet on June 11 in San Francisco.
POSTER CONTEST ... Young aspiring artists and marketers will have a chance to show their talents through the America's PrepareAthon! Art Poster Contest. The poster contest is the brainchild of Palo Alto student Divakar Saini, who is part of the city's FEMA team. The contest is open to Palo Alto Unified School District students grades 1-8. The topic for the poster is emergency preparedness. The one-page poster should not exceed 24 by 36 inches. Students can use a variety of mediums: colored pencils, crayons, markers or computer-generated electronic art. The poster should showcase how you can accomplish one or more of four steps of emergency preparedness: make a plan, build an emergency kit, know the facts, get involved; or how to act in a specific emergency, such as a fire. Submission deadline is April 11, with drop-off at the student's school office, March 9-April 11. Digital entries can be sent to [email protected] Two winners will be announced for each grade on April 30. Winners will be honored by Mayor Pat Burt with gift certificates and certificates of achievement. The posters will be displayed at the Palo Alto Art Center and City Hall. For more information, visit cityofpaloalto.org.
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