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What is New with Doc Vs Physics Classes?

2017-18 School Year:

Another year of fun times and wonderful accomplishments by so many students!

Based on rankings in the COMAP Math Modeling Contest, we have 5 teams that have been invited to take on a challenge to be the national representative in the International Math Modeling Challenge. COMAP offers this to teams that are ranked Outstanding, Finalist, and Meritorious. Teams would have up to 5 days to work on this math modeling power.

The students are
Seniors: Andrew Borland, Ben Brewster, Daniel Frederick, Eytan Kaplan; Oliver Brady, Noah Guale, Nathan Shankar, and Oscar Michel
Juniors: Ben Keown, Nikesh Mehrotra, Liam O'Carroll, Owen Travis; Anna Clemson, Abby Osterlund, and Polina Cherepanova; Zach Andalman, Jon Hauser, Ben Timmins.

Great job!!

Congratulations go out to two teams that were ranked in the top 7% of all submitted papers in the COMAP High School Math Modeling Contest, better known as the 36-hour problem! This level is called the Finalist ranking in this international competition. There were over 940 teams, with hundreds being from overseas, especially China and Singapore.

Math modeling contests like this provide complex, real-world problems to teams of four students, and their job is to develop a viable solution and paper that explains it. Because there is no single solution to these problems, students start off by making a number of assumptions they must justify, then use them to develop a mathematical model that can be tested with data, and used to make predictions. Students use math, science, computer science, and computational thinking skills to develop these models, and must then write it up clearly and in detail. 

The two problems students could choose between were: develop a drone light-show using dozens of drones, which would need to form a series of formations in the sky; or identify North American properties that could be developed into ski slopes that would be of Olympic quality. 
For this contest, students work for up to 36 consecutive hours to produce their paper. 

The members of the two Finalist teams are:
Seniors Andrew Borland, Ben Brewster, Daniel Frederick, Eytan Kaplan;
Juniors Ben Keown, Nikesh Mehrotra, Liam O'Carroll, and Owen Travis.

Both teams have also qualified to compete in the International Math Modeling Contest because of their high placement. This select group of teams will have the option of trying to develop solutions to another problem, and the top two U.S. teams will then go against the top two papers from over 30 other countries. Next up, a chance to represent ETHS in the MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge (formerly Moody's Mega Math Challenge)! 

Note that there were 17 teams participating this year, tying our record high. Three of these other teams gained Meritorious ratings (top 20%) and six more teams were Honorable Mention, placing in the top half of all submissions. 

Good news: Our Chem-Phys classrooms will be completely renovated in the summer of 2018! These classrooms were last worked on around 1966, so some 50+ years ago. We will simultaneously be constructing a research center with the Theory Center, which will allow any student to take on research that does not require professional labs, as well as develop project ideas and research questions for 'basement science' that we will share with the world as part of our CABS project. This is exciting, as ETHS will continue to be a leader of high school independent research and academic achievement in the physical sciences. The school is putting in a relatively small amount of funding for these projects - the large majority of funds is coming from donations through the ETHS Educational Foundation. THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed to these projects!! This will make a difference for our students for the next few decades!!

Over the past 1.5 years, ETHS students and teachers have helped raise funds for friends in Malawi and Kenyan schools. ETHS sent $6400 to Malawi schools that are working with star teacher Andrews Nchessie, where land was purchased by the schools for their own crops. In addition, seed, fertilizer, materials for chicken coups, and funding to drill wells and put in irrigation systems were purchased so the schools can be self-sustaining during future droughts, and avoid the rampant famine from the past three years in that part of Africa.

For Kenya, $400 was wired in order for Makonjamare Primary School to purchase sporting equipment. This school is in rural Kenya, and they do not have any real balls or other equipment to play with. This school has another star teacher, Jacqueline Jumba-Kehura, who is our contact. Jacque founded the Lifting the Barriers Program in Kenya, and has helped teachers develop new teaching methods for rural, poor schools across the country. She has gained international recognition for this work!

We hope to develop some other collaborative classroom projects with these schools in the near future, which should be great fun!

We had 17 teams compete in the COMAP High School Math Modeling Contest this year!! That ties our record for most teams, and had 68 students spending nearly a full weekend geeking out with math modeling problems! These are open-ended, complex, real-world problems that require students to make any number of assumptions, justify those assumptions, and then develop a mathematically based, viable solution for their problem. They also identify strengths and weaknesses, and do sensitivity testing of their math models, putting together a solutions paper for submission. We will have results in late January.

Congratulations to this year's 33 seniors have been named Commended Students in the National Merit Scholarship competition! Those in bold are in my classes.

The following ETHS students have been recognized for the 2017-18 school year:
Jordi Amaral, Richard Bahmandeji, Andrew Borland, Julia Borland, Posey Cohen, Lauren Collins, Jacob Cvetas, Theodore Dove, Paulina Durham, Benjamin Ellman, Emma Estberg, Joseph Fitzgerald, Naama Friedman, Clio Hancock, Joshua James, Samantha Kaiser, Tessa Kashner, Theodore Lambert, Simon Lequar, Leo Loubieres, Kip Macsai-Goren, Chirasree Mandal, Adam Marquardt, Oscar Michel, Jacob Nagle, Gianni Pinna, Joshua Prager, Benjamin Silverman, Leila Sinclair, Neha Singh, Gavrielle Welbel, Remi Welbel, and Mathew Young.

Doc V was invited to the Society for Science and the Public (SSP) Research Teacher Conference in Washington, DC, on October 13-15. Two hundred high school teachers and research advisers came out and had all costs covered by SSP and Regeneron, which is a biotech company that sponsors the Science Talent Search, also known as the Nobel Prize for high school. Doc V co-presented on Doing Research with Limited Resources, and provided hundreds of research questions and topics to dozens of teachers new to high school research. The site with these resources is at

Congratulations go out to senior Chirasree Mandal, who was named a Siemens Science Competition national semifinalist! Chirasree is one of just nine students from Illinois to make the list, and was selected because of work done on ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, which are the proteins in all cells that help transport molecules in and out of cells. Classifying these types of proteins, and understanding a variety of properties is quite difficult to do in the lab, and requires time-consuming lab processes. Chirasree was able to develop a novel computer-based method to sort through these and determine a variety of properties of the proteins that bypasses the long experimental protocols. Included in this new method are eye-catching 3-D graphical representations of the proteins. We will soon find out if this work qualifies as a Regional Finalist (top 30 in nation). This work was done in the lab of Prof. Pinkett at Northwestern. She has worked in this lab the past two years.

The Siemens Science Competition, which started in 2000, has a $100,000 top prize for the winning student. If selected as a Regional Finalist, Chirasree would need to prepare a presentation and poster for the Midwest site, which is the University of Notre Dame.  Chirasree is the 17th national semifinalist for ETHS, and up to now there have been 8 Regional Finalists and 2 National Finalists. 

Congratulations also go out to senior Oliver Brady, who also submitted a paper on using high-energy X-rays at Argonne National Lab's Advanced Photon Source (APS) to study the behavior of lithium ions near the interface of battery electrodes and ionic liquids. The goal is to ultimately use this new information to improve battery efficiency and energy storage for cars and many other devices. He worked with Prof. Dutta's group at Northwestern.

Congratulations to our latest National Merit Semifinalists! These seniors are in the running to become finalists in a couple months, and hopefully some will receive a National Merit scholarship for college. This year we celebrate Ben Ballmer, Anika Blitzstein, AJ Brown, Mallen Clifton, Judson Kuhrman, James Porter, and Nathan (JJ) Shankar. In addition, congratulations to three not in my classes: Meredith Byrnes, Jasper Davidoff, and Sophia Hachten.

Over the summer, special thanks go to Ben Silverman, Noah Guale, Posey Cohen, Elizabeth Sperti, and Noni Shelton, who put together a GoFundMe site for our friends in Malawi, Africa. The donations are going to help complete the drilling of water wells and irrigation systems for the crops that were planted with last year's donations. To date, $5100 have been raised and wired to Malawi, which has paid for 8 acres of land, seed and fertilizer for the crops of maize and corn, and enough food for some 1500 children for the year in the schools. The site is:

2016-17 School Year:

Another year of fun times and wonderful accomplishments!

Our big senior award winners:
Award in Chemistry - Ellie Finkel and Jakob Reinke
Robert Horton Award in Physics - Abby Stein and Nate Tracy-Amoroso
Society of Women Engineers - Allison Grimsted and Allison Neggers
Congratulations to each of these talented students!

Senior Allison Neggers was selected as a semifinalist in the Presidential Scholars Program! Amazing job!

Congratulations to junior Chirasree Mandal, who is a National Center for Women and Information Technology honorable mention for their Aspirations in Computing award!

Congratulations to the seniors who got National Merit Scholarships:
Joey Chafetz, Holly Cunningham, Ellie Finkel, Gabe Hull, Alec Jacobson, and Allison Neggers. Awesome!

Congrats to one of our COMAP Math Modeling teams, that qualified and participated in the International Math Modeling Competition. Their paper will be considered to represent the U.S. in international competition. The team members are juniors Nicholas Fiete, Matt Ho, Simon Lequar, and Leo Loubieres.

Turns out all 6 of our TSA TEAMS teams qualified for the national finals. We will almost certainly not attend, but a great job for every team to score above the cutoff score!

Congratulations go out to some of our TSA TEAMS teams, which did well in state competition. 

TEAMS stands for Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science, and is a collaborative experience for teams of 8 students. They work on different engineering topics and problems, in the form of a multiple choice section, a team essay, and a design challenge. ETHS had six teams compete at Illinois Tech (formerly Illinois Institute of Technology) in early March. 

Three of our teams ended up in the top ten in Illinois, as ETHS is the only school to do this in the final, overall state rankings. 

These teams consisted of the following students:

4th in state were seniors Ilana Baker, Conrad Burghardt, Michael Faibishanko, Adrian Fullmer, Alfredo Gomez, Isabella Green, and Caitlin Sweeney.

9th in state were juniors Mattias Amezquita-Fox, Oliver Brady, Mallen Clifton, Posey Cohen, Emma Estberg, Simon Lequar, Leo Loubieres, and Ben Silverman.

10th in state were seniors Jeff Abraham, Megan Chambers, Molly Conover, Emma Dzwierzynski, Nadia Goldberg, Alec Jacobson, Drew Kersnar, Peter Kishler, and Bundev Sawhney.

This year's theme was Engineering the Environment, with topics that included biomimetics, climate change, energy efficient homes, geothermal energy, water treatment, and smart cars, and self-contained ecosystems. Students must use their science, math, writing, problem solving, and engineering skills to work their way through this wide variety of topics, all in a collaborative manner just as professional engineers do on a daily basis. The design challenge had the teams design, build and test a 'robotic arm' that needed to optimize cost of materials and the time needed to lift and move water bottles to specific landing spots. It was truly enjoyable watching the hundreds of students, including our 48, get into these challenges!

Kudos to seniors Ilana Baker and Alec Jacobson, who taught a 5th grade class in Pennsylvania about cells. This was done via Skype, and was arranged with Pennsylvania's Teacher of the Year, Michael Soskil, class. We look forward to hopefully many more Skype partnerships with many other schools in the months and years to come!

Congratulations go to the many colleagues and students who helped raise another $1400 in cash donations for schools in Malawi, Africa. These funds, along with $1600 sent earlier in the school year, are helping three schools plant, raise and harvest crops to fight the severe famine that has ravaged that part of Africa for the past year. The schools will use the new funds to help raise chickens, and to build windmills that will pump water to the crops in a irrigation system. The combined total converts to over 2 million kwachas! We are also expecting some donations from Warren Township High School, through the efforts of Joshua Vondracek. Our students are literally saving lives, and are becoming global citizens!

Doc V was proud to represent U.S. teachers at the Varkey Foundation's Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF) and the Varkey Teacher Ambassador (VTA) Summit in Dubai, from March 16-19, 2017. Being one of five on the VTA Advisory Board, he helped advise on the summit agenda and helped write and present the objectives and guiding principles of the VTA Program, defining its direction in the years to come.

Congratulations go out to one of our (six) teams in the TSA TEAMS Competition, which was held at Illinois Tech (formerly IIT). 

A junior team took 3rd place on the first portion of the contest, and this will place them at least in the top ten teams in the state once we have results from other sites. 
This is an engineering contest where teams of eight students work collaboratively on real engineering and science problems. The theme this year was Engineering the Environment, which included working on issues in biomimetics, smart homes, climate change, geothermal energy systems, metro transportation systems, and others. The placement so far involves a testing portion of the contest, where each student learned about one of eight topics within the theme, and then worked on ten questions for their topic. Students then worked together to help each other and complete the questions. 
There are two other parts of the competition that will lead to national rankings. Students completed a team essay on an energy source relevant to their state (our teams all chose wind energy production systems), and there is also a design/build challenge that was done at Illinois Tech. The task was to use a required set of materials to design and build a 'robotic arm' that could move water bottles to a target, in a minimized amount of time. Teams had to be clever and use as little of the materials to keep the 'cost' as low as possible, while still being able to do the task in a short time period. All of the couple hundred students on site really had a good time with this challenge! And having watched the testing of the devices the teams built, all six of our teams were successful and had significantly shorter times than almost all of the other teams from other schools. The essay and design portions will be graded at a national office, and we will report results later. 

The team consists of juniors Mattias Amezquita-Fox, Oliver Brady, Mallen Clifton, Posey Cohen, Emma Estberg, Simon Lequar, Leo Loubieres, and Ben Silverman.

We are hoping that this team, and possibly a couple others (we had six teams total, with 48 students participating), will have strong national placements!

Congratulations go out to senior Allison Grimsted, who is a member of a research group at NU that has produced a new particle detector that will provide a new channel in trying to detect dark matter and neutrino interactions. Allison is a co-author on a newly published article on the Arxiv journal system, as well as on the Fermilab publication pipeline. 

Allison has helped in the construction and testing of the new detector, which uses xenon in something called a bubble chamber - certain particles that move through the chamber leave a trail of bubbles due to ionization and other effects, so one can literally see evidence for the particle. In this case they are looking for signatures of so-called WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles. This is the name given to a new, hypothetical type of particle that may only interact gravitationally with other matter, and not through electromagnetic interactions. Most astronomers and physicists believe about one-quarter of the universe consists of 'dark matter,' which we cannot directly observe but provides the gravity needed to hold together the observed galaxies in the universe. Observable matter, the stuff we are made from, is only about 4% of the universe according to these models. This detector will assist in the search for new forms of matter! Oh, the other ~70% of the universe is presumably in the form of something referred to as 'dark energy.' Pretty cool stuff, even though we don't know what dark energy is yet! This is the term used for whatever is causing the universe to have an accelerating expansion rate being observed by outer galaxies. 

It is a significant accomplishment and rarity for a high school student to do the high-level work necessary to be put on an author's list for a professional article, so we are really proud of Allison! The title is: First Demonstration of a Scintillating Xenon Bubble Chamber for Dark Matter and CEvNS Detection.

If you'd like to check out the article, it is at

Congratulations to senior Thomas Fies, who is going to be a co-author on a paper describing research and field work he did with a Harvard group over the summer. The paper is entitled, 'The Curious Case of the Left-sided Dewlap: Directional Asymmetry in the Curacao Anole Anolis Lineatus.' The work revealed a directional bias of dewlaps of anolis lizards having their left sides being certain colors. This is to be published in Breviora - Museum of Comparative Biology.
Congratulations go out to Chirasree Mandal, a junior, was named a finalist in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS), which is hosted by Loyola University. As a finalist, she will be able to present her work with other finalists from northern Illinois before a panel of judges (who are all professors). The students have twelve minutes to present their research, and then answer a round of questions from judges and audience members. The top three presenters will win scholarship money ($2000, $1500, and $1000 for the top three), and the top five will earn a trip to the national symposium. The top two students get to present at nationals, where they can win up to another $12,000 in scholarships, and winners at the nationals then move on to an international event in London. ETHS has had two students make it to London. 
Congratulations to the National Merit Finalists:
Sam Bergman, Joey Chafetz, Paul Clarke, Holly Cunningham, Ellie Finkel, Nadia Goldman, Isabella Green, Gabe Hull, Alec Jacobson, Allison Neggers, Abby Stein. Also named are Evan Franshere and Hayley Latko. Well done!!

Congratulations to two students who are among only three nominated for the prestigious Presidential Scholar Award. Congratulations to seniors Allison Neggers and Claire Wootton, who along with Julia Budde, are up for one of the most competitive high school awards in the country. Nominees are among the most well-rounded and talented seniors one can find, so congratulations to these three young ladies!

While the WYSE team will not be moving on from a very tough regional, three students won individual medals in the competition. These students are:
- Hailey Stern, 3rd place in Biology
- Ellie Finkel, 3rd place in Chemistry
- Sophie Hachten, 2nd place in English

Congratulations go out to two teams that were ranked in the top 10% of all submitted papers in the COMAP High School Math Modeling Contest, better known as the 36-hour problem. This level is called the Finalist ranking. 
Math modeling contests like this provide complex, real-world problems to teams of four students, and their job is to develop a viable solution and paper that explains it. Because there is no single solution to these problems, students start off by making a number of assumptions they must justify, then use them to develop a mathematical model that can be tested with data, and used to make predictions. Students use math, science, computer science, and computational thinking skills to develop these models, and must then write it up clearly and in detail. 

The two problems students could choose between were: develop a plan for a town to host a world-class triathlon and optimize the logistics of the event; or find the optimal placement of warehouses for a large distribution company in order to minimize the time for delivery of packages to customers. 

For this contest, students work for up to 36 consecutive hours to produce their paper. 

The members of the two Finalist teams are:
Seniors Megan Chambers, Molly Conover, Emma Dzwierzynski, and Nadia Goldberg;
Juniors Nick Fiete, Matt Ho, Simon Lequar, and Leo Loubieres.

ETHS and IMSA were the only Illinois schools to have teams ranked at or above the Finalist level.

Both teams have also qualified to compete in the International Math Modeling Contest because of their high placement. This select group of teams will have the option of trying to develop solutions to another problem, and the top two U.S. teams will then go against the top two papers from over 30 other countries.  Last year, one of our teams was in the final ten to decide which were submitted internationally.

We have started working with another grant through Northwestern University, which involves developing lessons and curricula based on using Arduino boards and microprocessors to build scientific instrumentation. The eventual lessons will be piloted next year, and ultimately be made available to the country as we get going with NGSS in science classrooms. These lessons will include standards in engineering, design, constructions, scientific method, collaborative work, and technology standards. Students who are in our core group are Ben Drape, Jakob Reinke, Matt Ho, Leo Loubieres, Alfredo Gomez, and Peter Kishler. We will be expanding the club once this core group has some initial lessons designed, next semester.

Our Chem-Phys classes are main participants in the CT-STEM effort, which is trying to create and pilot a number of science lessons that focus on computational thinking skills. Doc V and Ms. Gatchell are the lead teachers in this grant, run through Northwestern University. We will have our classes work on the lessons, and researchers will begin to use data to figure out the effectiveness of such lessons.

I am SO proud of students and colleagues who helped raise $1600 for a teacher in Malawi, Africa. My colleague and friend, Andrews Nchessie, is trying to raise funds to purchase land, fertilizer and seed for crops for his schools. Malawi, one of the poorest nations on earth, and where 90% of its people live on $1-$2 per day, are in the midst of a drought and severe famine. Our money alone is being used to purchase 6 acres of land for two schools, which will soon be used for subsistence crops to feed a couple thousand children! This also shows our students how to help those who have it much worse than we do, and how we are in an age of global citizenry.

Congratulations to senior Holly Cunningham, who has submitted a paper to the Regeneron Science Talent Search! Only a fraction of a percent of seniors are able to get high-level, independent research done and written up for the top science contest in the U.S. for high schools. We will find out in January what the results are, but this is a wonderful accomplishment.

A new Science Club has begun, where three NU graduate students in astrophysics will work with dozens of ETHS seniors, juniors and sophomores so they learn some Python programming throughout the first semester. Later in the year, students will learn how to apply those programming skills to accessing and analyzing online datasets from all the major astronomical experiments. So by summer, juniors and sophomores would be able to begin real, original research projects.

Congratulations to senior Holly Cunningham, who was named a national semifinalist in the Siemens Science and Technology Competition. Her work involved looking at certain chaperone proteins that, under various stresses and overexpression, cause changes in starch cell growth and can lead to various defects in the cells. Some of these effects in other types of cells can be related to cancers and other diseases. Well done! Her paper can be viewed here.

Doc V was fortunate enough to be invited to NYC and the Clinton Global Initiative, for a special celebration of teachers that is hosted by the Varkey Foundation (U.K.) in September, 2016. Also, Doc V was interviewed by Physics Today, a leading physics journal with circulation of 135,000. The online interview is here.

Congratulations to National Merit Commended students! They are seniors Emma Dzwierzynski, Thomas Fies, Adrian Fullmer, Allison Grimsted, Chapin Low, Abi Otwell, Freddy Pardoe, Jakob Reinke, Dylan TerMolen, and Nate Tracy-Amoroso.

Congratulations to this year's National Merit Semifinalists! They are seniors Libby Apley, Sam Bergman, Joey Chafetz, Paul Clarke, Holly Cunningham, Ellie Finkel, Nadia Goldberg, Isabella Green, Gabe Hull, Alec Jacobson, Allison Neggers, and Abby Stein. Awesome job!!

2015-16 School Year:

Another year, and many more wonderful, amazing students to report on!

Congratulations to junior Abby Stein, who was accepted into the prestigious Summer Science Program, a competitive program that looks for top science talent and potential, and gives these students an immersion in the science process, with an emphasis on astrophysics topics and data. Great job!!

Seniors Adrian Lafont-Mueller and Seth Paternostro are National Merit Scholarship winners!! Awesome job!!

Congratulations go out to one of our math modeling teams for their placement in the International Mathematical Modeling Challenge (IM2C). This competition is similar to the COMAP Math Modeling Contest, better known as the '36 hour problem,' only the teams that were invited had a maximum of five days to work on a viable solution to a complex, open-ended problem. These are problems with no single right answer, and are based largely on assumptions made by the team. 

Top teams from the COMAP contest were invited to try the IM2C, and only two papers were selected that are then submitted in competition against the top papers from 35 other countries. ETHS had four of the 70 invited teams, and three were able to attempt a solution paper. 

The team of seniors Ella Brady, Katherine Brady, Adam Masters, and Nick O'Brien was named a Finalist team, meaning they were in the top 10 papers considered to represent the U.S. Illinois was well represented, with three other teams in the top 10: one from Walter Payton College Prep, and two from IMSA. 

The other two teams that participated were:
Seniors Nathan Holzmueller, Curtis Lowder, Nick Shankar, and Harry Zhang;
Juniors Holly Cunningham and Abby Stein

Congratulations to Mitchell Estberg and Alex Paternostro, who have advanced to the State Finals of WYSE! Mitchell for chemistry, and Alex for biology. Unfortunately, the team did not advance from a very loaded sectional...we'll get them next year!

Curtis Lowder did a wonderful job at the JSHS finals at Loyola University. He was not in the top 5, but just missed and is the alternate to go to nationals should a top-five student be unable to attend. Great job! It is always so difficult to compare something like astrophysics to microbiology to biochemistry...all the students are to be commended!

Here is an update on the Moody's teams:
Both teams earned Honorable Mention status. This means they were in the last group of the top papers in the country being considered for the top six national finals slots. Both teams, although not moving on to the national finals, have won $1000 scholarships to be split evenly among the five members of each team. ETHS is one of only six schools that had both teams rated at this level or higher! 

The teams are:
- Senior Zane Kashner and juniors Holly Cunningham, Alec Jacboson, Bundev Sawhney, and Abby Stein;
- Seniors Mitchell Estberg, Colby Lewis, Nora Linzer, Daniel Meyer, and Caitlin Westerfield.

Congratulations to these students!

Both Moody's Mega Math Challenge teams made it through the 'triage'  judging round and are in the top 15% of papers in this national math modeling competition. The teams are now in the running to make it to the national finals, and/or other scholarships. 

The teams are:
Juniors Holly Cunningham, Alec Jacobson, Bundev Sawhney, Abby Stein, and senior Zane Kashner;
Seniors Mitchell Estberg, Colby Lewis, Nora Linzer, Daniel Meyer, and Caitlin Westerfield.

Several ETHS TEAMS teams did well in our regional competition. We had teams take 3rd, 4th and 5th place at the Illinois Tech (formerly Illinois Institute of Technology) Chicago campus. We finished behind strong teams from Fenwick and Stevenson.

TEAMS, which stands for Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science, is a national competition in STEM areas, where teams of up to eight students work collaboratively on engineering and science based problems. The theme this year was Engineering the Tools of Innovation, with topics including genomics, space exploration, six-sigma high precision measuring devices, optical equipment including microscopes and telescopes, and energy efficiency. 

In 3rd place were seniors Matteo DiBernardo, Zane Kashner, Colby Lewis, Nora Linzer, Peter Sparks, Abigail Steman, Sam Weidner, and Caitlin Westerfield;

In 4th place were juniors Sam Bergman, Megan Chambers, Holly Cunningham, Emma Dzwierzynski, Ellie Finkel, Nate Tracy-Amorosa, Chapin Low, and Allison Neggers;

In 5th place were seniors Kira Favakeh, Julia Fiorino, Christian Landis, Liora London, Curtis Lowder, Dan Meyer, Henry Peters, and Lucy Sattler.

We are hopeful that all three teams will finish in the top ten in the state, and that one or more will qualify for national rankings. National rankings will come out in early May. 

Congratulations to senior Curtis Lowder, who was named a finalist in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. He was recognized for his independent research into the gravitational effects of the asteroid belt on the LISA experiment satellites. Recently, the LIGO experiment produced the first direct evidence for gravitational waves, and the LISA experiment was planned to look in a difference frequency realm for gravitational radiation (first predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago).

Curtis wrote a detailed computer simulation to read in data from hundreds of thousands of asteroids, and computed the vector sum on LISA satellites. LISA is a space-based satellite experiment designed to detect gravitational waves. Prof. Shane Larson at NU worked with Curtis to get started on this research.

Junior Holly Cunningham's paper was selected as an alternate. Her paper was entitled, "The Identification of a Protein Involved in Cell Cycle Control," and she is working in the lab of Prof. Richard Morimoto at NU.

Congratulations to seniors Matteo DiBernardo, Murielle Dunand, Nora Linzer, and Seth Paternostro, who are nominated for the Presidential Scholars Award!

CONGRATULATIONS to our COMAP Finalist and National Finalist teams from the 2015 contest who are invited to compete in the International Mathematical Modeling Challenge. This is only the second year of this international contest, and only 62 U.S. teams have been invited.

From the teams that participate in this new challenge, COMAP will select the top 2 teams, which will then represent the U.S. internationally by having their papers judged by an international panel against two teams from any other country that participates.

This challenge allows for a 5-day period to work on a problem, and develop up to a 20-page solutions paper. It is the same process as the 36-hour problem, only on steroids! 

Our invited teams are:
5791 Holly, Alec, Bundev, Abby
5788 Mitchell, Colby, Nora, Danny
5792 Nathan, Curtis, Nick, Harry
5832 Ella, Katherine, Adam, Nick

The website for the International contest is

Congratulations go to 64 students who spent the better part of a full weekend working on the COMAP High School Math Modeling Contest (HiMCM). Over 700 papers were submitted from around the country, as well as overseas with dozens of papers from China. Teams selected one of two problems: 
- When there is road construction and lane reductions, develop a fresh analysis and recommendation for minimizing road rage among drivers;
- More of a 'big data' problem, students were given numerous data and statistics for a long list of crimes in a major city, and had to develop a math model that produces a numerical assessment of the safeness of the city.

We had several teams that did quite well. 
One team (of juniors) earned National Finalist status, which puts it in the top 3% internationally. The students are Holly Cunningham, Alec Jacobson, Bundev Sawhney, and Abby Stein.

Three senior teams earned Finalist status, which is the top 10%. 
- Mitchell Estberg, Colby Lewis, Nora Linzer, and Daniel Meyer
- Nathan Holzmueller, Curtis Lowder, Nick Shankhar, and Harry Zhang
- Ella Brady, Katherine Brady, Adam Masters, and Nick Obrien

Three teams earned Meritorious status, which is in the top third:
- Seniors Matteo DiBernardo, Zane Kashner, Adrian Lafont-Mueller, and Anu Raife
- Juniors Megan Chambers, Molly Conover, Emma Dzwierzynski, and Nadia Goldberg
- Juniors Jeff Abraham, Jesse Bernstein, Michael Faibishenko, Gabe Hull

Remaining teams earned status of Honorable Mention (6 teams) or Successful Participant (2 teams). The COMAP site is
Great job!!!

Congratulations to senior Zane Kashner, who is now an Intel Science Talent Search National Semifinalist, recognized for his work in the development of a new analysis for hot Jupiter exoplanets and their climatic properties, using phase shifts in how heat flows and is transferred within those atmospheres. Significant differences in temperature distributions are found using Zane's methods. He will receive a $1000 scholarship (for Stanford), and is in the running to become a finalist. Finalists in the STS compete for top prizes of three $150,000 scholarships. The school also receives $1000, which will go into our research account.

I am so proud of seniors Lucy Sattler and Caitlin Westerfield, and junior Allison Neggers, for their outstanding leadership and commitment to WiSTEM, or Women in STEM! You are wonderful role models for young girls who will follow you on this journey!

Congratulations to senior Caitlin Westerfield, for being accepted into the Women's Health Mentoring Program, where she will work with the research group of Dr. Erik Andersen at NU. Caitlin will, in turn, mentor junior Molly Conover in this research.

Congratulations to several students who were awarded the Cook County Sheriff's Youth Service Medal of Honor, for at least 100 hours of community service. Senior Mitchell Estberg and juniors Michelle Milazzo and Laurianne Pene-Njine!

Congratulations to the dozens of students who made up 17 teams that participated in the COMAP HiMCM contest. This is the famous '36-hour contest' where students need to develop a mathematical model for real-world, complex open-ended problems. We'll see in January how they are rated, with our top two being the teams to be invited to represent ETHS in the Moody's Mega Math Challenge.

Congrats to those students who submitted papers to the Intel Science Talent Search: seniors Matteo Di Bernardo, Murielle Dunand, Zane Kashner, and Sam Weidner. Not many seniors do this level of original research to begin with, let alone write it up and submit to the biggest science contest of them all. Matteo worked on new ways of treating parasitic worms; Murielle looked at the trends of participation in Hollywood films as a function of gender; Zane helped develop a new analysis of data to more accurately determine the albedo and climate characteristics of hot Jupiter exoplanets; and Sam identified the effect an oscillating surface on hydraulic jump.

Congratulations to those in my classes who are named National Merit Semi-Finalists! Seniors Katherine Brady, Matteo Di Bernardo, Murielle Dunand, Zane Kashner, Adrian Lafont-Mueller, Nora Linzer, Seth Paternostro, Henry Peters, and Caitlin Westerfield.  Awesome!!

Congratulations to senior Sam Weidner, who submitted a paper to the Siemens Science Competition. His research has a focus on a fluid phenomenon called hydraulic jump, and he looked at the effect an oscillating surface has on the jump. With significant differences observed and measured, he suggests empirical additions to the mathematical models governing the jump. It is a big accomplishment getting something submitted to one of the major high school science competitions!

2014-15 School Year:

Big Senior Award winners
Horton Award for Physics: Benedict Brady and Rachel Kornbluh
Hall Award for Chemistry: Ben Foutty
Society of Women Engineers: Micaela Homer and Millie Rosen

Class awards
3 Chem-Phys Juniors: Adrian Lefont-Mueller, Zane Kashner, Nora Linzer, Miranda Metz, Caitlin Westerfield
4 Chem-Phys Seniors: Ben Foutty, Micaela Homer, Rachel Kornbluh, Graham Straus, Nate Umbanhowar
AP Physics C: Josie Thomas (junior)

Awesome job the past two years...I will miss you!!

The WYSE team finished 7th in state!

*** For the TSA TEAMS competition, it looks like our top team took 2nd in state, and our next two teams tied for 5th in state. Great job, having 3 of the top 6 teams in Illinois! For national rankings within our division, based on Part 1 scores, our top senior team is 3rd in the nation, and the next two are tied for 10th in the nation...awesome!  I am fairly sure we are the only school with three teams in the top ten at this point. We will wait for the Part 2 scores to be added in for the final national rankings - the top team is in the running for a national title!

Congratulations to seniors Graham Straus and Kevin Klyman, who are state champions in Public Forum debate! Awesome!

Congratulations to the WYSE team, which won its Sectional and now moves on to the State Finals at UIUC on April 13! The team has members:
Benedict Brady, Maddie Carr, Emma Chanen, Loudon Cohen, Ben Foutty, Micalea Homer, John Hruska, Zane Kashner, Rachel Kornbluh, Nikolai Lenney, Justin Liao, Emma Maxwell, Henry McDonald, Nate Umbanhowar.

Congratulations to four students who made the cut for the Chemistry Olympiad, to qualify for the national exam: seniors Ben Foutty, Henry McDonald, Maciej Olzsewski, and Jordan Rosen-Kaplan.

Congratulations to strong showings on the Physics Olympiad preliminary exam. Had it not been for a 50% increase in the scoring threshold, 6 students surpassed the cut score used in previous years for national semifinalist status. Two students just missed the new cutoff by one point: Ben Foutty and Rachel Kornbluh. What can you do?!

The two Moody's teams earned national recognition by making the 15% of solutions papers in the country!

Congratulations to our two teams who are representing ETHS in the Moody's Mega Math Challenge this year. They worked on March 1, and submitted their proposed solutions to an open-ended, complex problem that requires a mathematical model for a possible solution. The teams are:
Seniors Rebecca Conover, Ben Foutty, Micaela Homer, Rachel Kornbluh, and Jordan Rosen-Kaplan and
seniors Benedict Brady, Sean Finn-Samuels, Graham Straus, and Nate Umbanhowar, and junior Zane Kashner. These were our top two COMAP teams this year. We will have results in a few weeks!

Congratulations go out to senior Benedict Brady, who was named a finalist in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS), which is run at Loyola University. He will present his research findings in front of all other finalists and judges, who are university professors who are experts in the fields. The judges will then determine the top three papers/presentations, and those students will move on to a national JSHS competition. In addition, the top three students will receive scholarships of $2000, $1500, and $1000, respectively. At nationals, students present against other national finalists from other states, and top winners will receive more scholarship money as well as a trip to London for an international event. Benedict is the 26th finalist since 2000 from ETHS. Two have gone on to London.

Benedict's work is in planetary dynamics, where he has run and analyzed complex computer simulations with advanced, professional software to determine the stability of our solar system's inner planets' orbits as a function of Jupiter's mass. Four other papers were 
submitted by ETHS students (Atul Kumar, John Hruska, Ben Foutty, and Jordan Rosen-Kaplan), each of which described interesting, strong research projects ranging from swarm robotics to fractal analysis of Antarctica's coastline, a network theory analysis of mentorship, as well as looking at combined effects of nanoparticle contaminants on biological systems, respectively.

Congratulations go out to several TSA TEAMS teams that competed at one of the regional sites today. TEAMS is an engineering contest run through the Technology Student Association, a national organization that sponsors a number of STEM activities and contests. Groups of up to 8 students work collaboratively on taking large amounts of information and data to develop solutions to real-world engineering problems. This year's theme is Engineering in Energy, where topics include nuclear waste, solar and wind energy being put on the grid, smart homes and energy efficiencies, as well as environmental concerns for different energy sources. 

ETHS had three of the top four teams at the event, with a team from the University of Chicago Lab School edging our top team by a single point. 

Our top team, finishing 2nd, has seniors:
Benedict Brady, Rebecca Conover, Ben Foutty, Micaela Homer, Rachel Kornbluh, Justin Liao, Aly Singleton, and Nate Umbanhowar. 
   Note that this team finished 4th in state and 8th nationally last year as juniors.

Two teams tied for 3rd. 
Emma Chanen, Loudon Cohen, Sean Finn-Samuels, John Hruska, Ryan Landis, Jordan Rosen-Kaplan, Graham Straus, and Camilla Zecker.
   Note that this team finished 3rd in state and 12th nationally last year as juniors.

Matteo DiBernardo, Zane Kashner, Colby Lewis, Nora Linzer, Nick Shankar, Peter Sparks, Abby Steman, and Sam Weidner. 

The next team was the top team from Stevenson.

We had three other teams compete, and are proud of their efforts, as well, making a total of 46 students doing some serious STEM work! We'll get state and national rankings over the next few weeks, but hopefully the top three teams will qualify for national rankings!

Congratulations to the National Achievement Finalists and National Merit Finalists in my classes:
National Achievement 2015 Finalists: Matthew G. Auston, Larenz R. Brown, Austin J. Klopfer, and Logan Z. Stuart.
National Merit 2015 Finalists: Benedict Q. Brady, Luke T. Calian, Emma F. Chanen, Benjamin A. Foutty, Ezra C. Garfield, Conrad E. Gordon, Noah J. Kanter, Rachel S. Kornbluh, Justin Liao, Emma H. Maxwell, John C. Muyres, Mildred J. Rosen, Logan Z. Stuart, Nathan E. Umbanhowar

Congratulations to the WYSE team for advancing to their sectional. The team won the regional, topping New Trier and Niles North! Individual medals go to:
Biology: Maddie Carr and Henry McDonald tied for 1st; Micaela Homer was 3rd
Chemistry: Ben Foutty took 1st; Maciej Olzsewski and Nate Umbanhowar tied for 3rd
English: Emma Maxwell took 1st, and Emma Chanen took 3rd
Math: Benedict Brady took 2nd
Physics: Ben Foutty took 2nd; Rachel Kornbluh and Nate Umbanhowar tied for 3rd

Others on the team are Loudon Cohen, John Hruska, Zane Kashner, Nikolai Lenney, and Justin Liao.

Way to go!

Congratulations go out to a number of students for outstanding work and performance in the COMAP High School Math Modeling Contest. This is better known among students as the ’36-Hour Problem.’ This is an international contest, where students take on one of two complex, open-ended problems that require the development of a mathematical model for a possible solution to the problem. This type of work requires students, who work in teams of four, to use the skills and knowledge from math, science and computer classes to develop possible solutions for problems that have no single, correct answer.

The team of seniors Sean Finn-Samuels, Graham Straus, and Nate Umbanhowar, and junior Zane Kashner, was selected as one of only nine top papers, which is the Outstanding level of recognition. This team will have its solution paper published in one or more of COMAP’s professional journals. Several of the other nine Outstanding papers were from academies/magnet schools (including one team from IMSA), and two from schools in China.

We had five other teams rank in the top 25% of solution papers, which is a Meritorious ranking:
Seniors Rebecca Conover, Micaela Homer, Rachel Kornbluh, and Jordan Rosen-Kaplan;
Seniors Benedict Brady, Emma Chanen, Justin Liao, and Henry McDonald;
Seniors Ben Foutty, Kevin Klyman, Mille Rosen, and Aly Singleton;
Juniors Christian Landis, Alex and Seth Paternostro, and Andrew Simon;
Juniors Alex Brooke, Paul Clarke, and Spencer Eanes.

The two problems teams could choose were: i. Optimizing the rate of unloading passengers from subway trains and having them exit the station, or ii. Develop measures that can best contain the spread of a disease, such as Ebola, in a small village in Indonesia.

We had eleven other teams of students who earned Honorable Mention and Successful Participant status; this is a total of seventeen teams (66 students) who voluntarily spent most of a weekend back in November doing intense STEM work.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in this year’s contest!
Congratulations to seniors Sean Finn-Samuels, Graham Straus, Nate Umbanhowar, and junior Zane Kashner, who have been selected as one of just 9 Outstanding papers in the COMAP High School Math Modeling Contest. Their paper will be published in one or more of COMAP's journals, as it is in the top 1% of papers in this international contest. IMSA also had one of the Outstanding papers. Two schools from China are among this set of papers. This contest has students take up to 36 hours to develop a math model and solution to open-ended, complex problems. Well done!
Teacher Mark Vondracek is among the top 50 teachers, representing 26 countries, who are in the running for the inaugural Global Teacher prize. One of these teachers will ultimately win $1 million, from the Varkey GEMS Foundation, stationed in the United Kingdom. This is worth mentioning because this whole process is to place teaching and education front and center with all other major professions around the world - putting it on the same level as those professions represented by the Nobel Prizes, for instance. Let's get more talented, compassionate, and passionate people into teaching!
Numerous students I have worked with have been recognized as Commended Students in the National Merit Program.
National Merit Commended Students: Larenz R. Brown, Katherine M. Budde, Jack G. Caplan, Joseph J. Erwin, Sean A. Finn-Samuels, Samuel H. Frolichstein-Appel, Micaela K. Homer, John S. Hruska, Ryan W. Landis, Sarah W. Latimer, Peter V. Regan, Jordan A. Rosen-Kaplan, Anastasia Shylnov, Graham P. Straus, James Williamson.
National Achievement Outstanding Participants: Andre J. Wallace
Three teams of students submitted papers to the Siemens Science Competition. Loudon Cohen and John Hruska wrote computer simulations to use fractal analysis of the Antarctic coastline to determine the fractal dimension. They hypothesize that by repeating this over time, using satellite data, they may find trends and correlations that could help predict future patterns of sea ice. Atul Kumar was part of a team that built robots and tested swarm tactics in an outdoor neighborhood. Jordan Rosen-Kaplan and Eric Weine looked at the combined effects of silver and titanium nanoparticles on E. coli, which is the first extended study of the combined, rather than individual, effects of these particles on an environment

Congratulations to the following students who are in or have been in my classes - they are National Merit Semifinalists!
Benedict Brady, Luke Calian, Emma Chanen, Ben Foutty, Ezra Garfield, Conrad Gordan, Noah Kanter, Rachel Kornbluh, Justin Liao, Emma Maxwell, Henry McDonald, John Muyres, Millie Rosen, Logan Stewart, and Nate Umbanhowar. Good luck in the next rounds!!

Congratulations to seniors Emma Chanen, Ben Foutty, and Hannah Kaplan, who were recognized by the Kiwanis Club for their work in YAMO.

2013-14 School Year:

Adam Frim, Taylor Sims and Talia Weiss were three of the ten winners at the Northwestern High School Showcase, where any high school students from Chicagoland could come and do a poster presentation on school science projects or independent science research projects.  They presented their work on mechanical oscillator synchronization (Adam) and XBONGs, which are rare, high x-ray emitting galaxies (Taylor and Talia).  Another great job!

Seniors, Class of 2014, are done!  CONGRATULATIONS!  Top awards go to: Talia Weiss, Society of Women Engineers; Manny Dallas and Aaron Stone, Hall Chemistry Award; Adam Frim, Robert Horton Award for Physics.

Congratulations to Manny Dallas, who has now been named a national semifinalist in the Presidential Scholars Program. Later in May he will find out if he is one of the scholars!  Great news!

The TSA TEAMS state rankings are in, and are based on both the Part 1 and Part 2 scores.  In our division, our team D was 3rd, team E was 5th, and team C was 12th!  Overall, D was 5th, E was 8th, and C 17th.  The overall rankings include all divisions, including a special division for magnet and state academies, such as IMSA.  The D and E teams, both of which consist of juniors, qualify for the national meeting in Washington, DC, for the Best in Nation contest. This is another fantastic showing for our collaborative work in engineering and science problem solving!!

At the WYSE state finals, junior Maddie Carr took 6th place in Biology, and senior Adam Frim took 3rd in Chemistry and 6th in Physics!  Congratulations!

We will have three teams qualified for national rankings in the TSA TEAMS contest.  Teams needed to score a 60 (out of 80) on Part 1 of the contest - our E, D and C teams accomplished this.  More to come once we get the national rankings.

Update on Moody's: The team of Rebecca Conover, Micaela Homer, Rachel Kornbluh, Jordan Rosen-Kaplan, and Taylor Sims are an Honorable Mention team, meaning they were rated high enough nationally to receive a $1000 scholarship from the Moody's Foundation!  This only happens for the top 5% of papers nationally - well done!

ETHS is one of just a couple schools in the country to have both its teams in the Moody's Mega Math Challenge make the first cut and stay in the running for scholarships.  Congratulations to Rebecca Conover, Micaela Homer, Rachel Kornbluh, Jordan Rosen-Kaplan, and Taylor Sims; and Benedict Brady, Emma Chanen, Justin Liao, Nikolai Lenney, and Henry McDonald.  These teams are part of the top 200 in the country, with nearly 1200 submitted papers this year.  Good luck!

Congratulations to those individuals who qualified for the state finals for WYSE (unfortunately the team fell just short of advancing): Maddie Carr and Oliver Vickman in biology, and Manny Dallas, Adam Frim and Aaron Stone in chemistry.  Good luck in Chambana!

Congratulations to Talia Weiss, who took 3rd place at the JSHS at Loyola University for her research into XBONGs.  She advances to the national symposium in Washington, DC, where she will present a poster of her work.  She had teamed with Taylor Sims this past year. Adam Frim was also a finalist at Loyola, and did a wonderful job.  Zach Favakeh was an alternate for the finals.

Congratulations to Aaron Stone and Manny Dallas, who made the first cut in the Chemistry Olympiad and will take the national exam!!  Good luck with the next round!

A strong performance by one of our TSA TEAMS teams.  The junior team of Emma Chanen, Loudon Cohen, Sean Finn-Samuels, John Hruska, Ryan Landis, Jordan Rosen-Kaplan, Nate Umbanhowar, and Camilla Zecker took 2nd at our IIT regional!  We will find out where this puts them in state rankings, and later how our 6 teams did in national rankings.  The theme this year is Engineering Tomorrow's Cities. Great job!

Congratulations to the 4 students who scored the highest score of 36 on their ACTs: juniors Ben Foutty, Ezra Garfield, Rachel Kornbluh, and Nate Umbanhowar!  Amazing job, and a rarity for a school to have multiple students who accomplish this!

Congratulations to two students who are state finalists for this year's Presidential Scholars Program: seniors Manny Dallas and Anna Winter, who was in ETHS and Chem-Phys last year.  Awesome job!

Congratulations to this year's group who are National Merit Finalists!  This is a difficult thing to do, and quite an accomplishment.  Kudos go to Chem-Phys students Zach Favakeh, Henry Magnuson, Rebecca Posner, Nathan Shelly, and Talia Weiss.  Joshua Davidoff is also a finalist. One of our National Achievement finalists is Taylor Sims.

Also, named as National Merit Commended students are (students in my classes): Josh Abraham, Isabel Avery, Ben Butler, James Carthew, Adam Frim, Ian McMurray, Paul Philbrick, Taylor Sims, Luke Spalding, and Aaron Stone.  There are several others who need to be commended, as well, and can be found here.

*****Congratulations to the WYSE team, which moves on to Sectional competition in March.  The team took 3rd in a tough Regional (Niles North was 1st, New Trier 2nd, so congrats to them).  Individual medals went to Benedict Brady (2nd, math), Shai Markovich (3rd, chem), Manny Dallas (2nd, chem), and Adam Frim (1st, physics).  Other members of the 14-person team are Andrew Bempah, Maddie Carr, Nick Easton, Zach Favakeh (will join us for Sectionals), Micaela Homer, Justin Liao, Aaron Stone, Dan Thomas, Oliver Vickman, and Liam Walsh.

Congratulations to 3 COMAP High School Math Modeling teams, who participated in this contest (the famous 36-hour problem) and did quite well.  Juniors Rebecca Conover, Micaela Homer, Rachel Kornbluh and Jordan Rosen-Kaplan and juniors Benedict Brady, Emma Chanen, Justin Liao and Henry McDonald had teams that were rated as Finalists, which is one of the higher rankings in this contest.  This puts their solution papers to complex, open-ended problems in the top 4-10% of all papers submitted in this international contest.  Also rated highly was a team of seniors, Manny Dallas, Zach Favakeh, Henry Magnuson and Aaron Stone, who were in the top third, which is a Meritorious ranking.  ETHS had 9 other teams rated as Honorable Mentions.  The only Illinois high school to have any teams rated ahead of ETHS was IMSA.  Well done!

Chem-Phys was highlighted in articles in South Korea's second most read newspaper and a magazine about South Korean debates on how to modify their national science curriculum for high school level students.  A reporter visited one of our junior classes in November, as we were working on a lab that had a focus on multiple ways of timing and using computational thinking skills to develop an empirical mathematical rule for the period of a pendulum using data.
Benedict Brady won the school bridge building contest, and will now go to IIT to try and make the nationals - great job!

***** Congratulations to senior Ben Moberly, and former student and senior Noah Eisfelder, who took 1st place in their topics at the Hoffman Estates Speech Contest!

***** Congratulations to seniors Zach Favakeh and Adam Frim for submitting papers to the Intel Science Talent Search.  Good luck as we wait for January to see if either is selected as a national semifinalist in the most prestigious high school science contest there is.

Congratulations to the 13 teams that participated in this year's COMAP High School Math Modeling Contest in November.  We will find out results in January!

Talia Weiss and Taylor Sims did ETHS proud at the Siemens Regional Finals, held at the Univeristy of Notre Dame in November!  While not the national finalist team, they did a wonderful presentation and developed a professional poster, which we will put up once we find enough wall space.  What an experience!

BIG NEWS - Taylor and Talia are the only two Regional Finalists in Illinois for the Siemens Science Competition!!  They will be getting ready to present their work in both a talk and poster session at the University of Notre Dame in early November...Congratulations!

Congratulations to the students in my classes who are National Merit Semifinalists: Manny Dallas, Zach Favakeh, Henry Magnuson, Rebecca Posner, Nate Shelly, Talia Weiss, and Anna Winter.  Taylor Sims is a National Achievement Semifinalist.  Way to go!!

Congratulations to seniors Zach Favakeh, Adam Frim, Taylor Sims and Talia Weiss for submitting papers to the Siemens Science Competition!  Zach did simulation research into how the location of wide binary star systems affect planetary evolution; Adam experimentally looked at the synchronization of multiple mechanical oscillators; and Taylor and Talia teamed up to investigate observational evidence for how XBONGs (a relatively rare type of X-ray emitting galaxy) work.

2012-13 School Year:

Dina Sinclair and I will write up her work on Faraday waves on oscillating water droplets and try to get it published in The Physics Teacher journal.

Congratulations to the senior science award winners: Katie Latimer and Dina Sinclair were the Horton Award winners for Physics; Lena Eskin won the Society of Women Engineers Award; Katie was also the Bugelas Award winner in Chemistry; and Gabe Stern the Hall Award winner in Chemistry.

Update on Moody's Mega Math Challenge:  The ladies ended up taking 5th in the nation!  What an amazing day and a half trip to Manhattan for the national finals.  We got to cruise around the city, do the contest, and even met Mayor Bloomberg.

Congrats to Katie Latimer, who brought home a 5th place medal in physics from the WYSE State Finals!  Way to go!

Update on Moody's Mega Math Challenge:  Our team of Maggie, Caroline, Laura, Katie and Dina are one of the six national finalist teams!!!!  They go to New York City in late April to present their paper, and are now in the running for up to $20,000 to split!  WAY TO GO, LADIES!

If you enjoyed the movie Flatland, check out Flatland 2: Sphereland, which is in the AV Center.  Mr. Benson and Doc V were consultants on the movie, and it has some good lessons and visuals dealing with multiple dimensions, and even curved space.

Congratulations go to 4 of our twelve teams that participated in the 2012 COMAP High School Mathematical Modeling Contest. The four teams reached Meritorious status in this contest, which represents the top third of papers that present solutions to open ended problems that require high-level math, science and computational thinking skills. Teams have 36 consecutive hours to develop a solutions and submit a paper to COMAP, the sponsoring company of the contest. Professional mathematicians and computer scientists then judge the solutions teams develop. This is now an international contest, with many dozens of teams from math and science academies from China, South Korea, Hong Kong, and all throughout the United States.  Over 500 papers were submitted this year.The teams are:
- seniors Maggie Davis, Katie Latimer, and Dina Sinclair
- sophomores Benedict Brady, Emma Chanen, Justin Liao, and Henry McDonald
- juniors Rebecca Posner, Emma Sonder, Kyla Steman, and Talia Weiss
- juniors Nick Easton, Quinn Foley, Adam Frim, and Alex Novak

The full problems are at

Congratulations go to the students on three of our five teams participating in the TSA TEAMS state and national competition. Formerly run by JETS (Junior Engineering and Technical Society), the Technology Student Association has taken over TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science). 

One of our teams took 1st in state in our division, and 2nd overall in state.  Nationally, this team tied for 6th place in our division and is 9th overall, which is the 'big school' and typically the most competitive division. The team had senior members:
Miles Dong, Jackie Gibbons, Lukas Gladic, Elise Gray-Gaillard, Jay Honnold, Kyle Lueptow, and Erin McKearnan.

A second team took 2nd place in state in our division and 3rd overall in state. Nationally, this team tied for 7th place in our division and is 13th overall. The team had senior members:
Lena Eskin, Katie Latimer, David McDonald, Sam Miller, Maddy Savage, Austin Schilling, Dina Sinclair, and Gabe Stern.

These two teams placed the highest in the nation of any other Illinois schools in our division.

A third team of juniors tied for 4th in state, and 9th overall.  Nationally they tied for 10th place and were 25th overall.  This team had members:
Manny Dallas, Nick Easton, Lewis Herman, Henry Magnuson, Shai Markovich, Paul Philbrick, Aaron Stone

Teams of up to eight students work collaboratively on engineering based problems.  The theme for this year was Engineering a Secure Cyberspace.  Students worked together to answer questions about cybersecurity, and develop plans for protecting computer networks.  The contest tries to simulate how engineers need to work collaboratively and create practical solutions to real-world problems.  ETHS has traditionally done well in this contest, including the overall national championship in 2005 and several other top ten placements in national rankings.

Congratulations to one of our Moody's Mega Math Challenge teams, who have moved on to the second round of judging.  Only 175 out of over 1050 teams made the second round, and are still in the running for up to $20,000 in scholarships.  This is similar to the COMAP math modeling contest, but instead of 36 hours to work on a math-based solution to an open-ended, real world problem, teams of up to 5 students have 14 hours.  This year the problem involved looking for solutions to recycling that cities can use.  The team included seniors Maggie Davies, Caroline Duke, Laura Goetz, Katie Latimer and Dina Sinclair.
Schools are only allowed two teams, and our second team that took on the challenge had seniors Marc Bouchet, Jay Honnold, David McDonald, Sam Miller, and Austin Schilling.

Four seniors, Marc Bouchet, Laura Goetz, David McDonald, and Dina Sinclair were named among the 13 finalists in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, which is held at Loyola University.  Laura took 2nd, David took 3rd, Dina took 4th, and Marc took 6th.  Laura and David won scholarships ($1500 and $1000, respectively), and earned a trip to nationals where Laura will present with a chance to win as much as $12,000.  Dina is the alternate for northern Illinois.
      Marc's research involved making new types of multi-layer organic solar cells.  Laura's work involved identifying genetic modifiers that are related to Huntington's disease, using C. elegans (microscopic worms).  David's research involved stratification and segregation of granular solids in heap formation.  Dina's research investigated properties of oscillating water droplets at high frequencies, and the patterns of Faraday waves that resulted.

Congratulations to seniors Katie Latimer and Sam Miller, who advanced to the WYSE sectionals.  Katie took chemistry and physics, and Sam took computer science and math.  Katie then advanced to the state finals in April in physics and will also take chemistry.  Good luck!

CONGRATULATIONS to senior Laura Goetz, who is named a national semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search!!  This is a wonderful recognition for her research, and she receives a $1000 scholarship at this level. ETHS also receives a $1000 award to be used for future students.  We will wait to learn who the 40 finalists are in late January, and those students will compete for a top prize of $100,000.  Well done, Laura!

We had a dozen teams work on this year's COMAP High School Math Modeling Contest, better known as the 36-hour problem!  We will find results in February of 2013.

Congratulations to Laura Goetz for submitting a paper and long application to the Intel Science Talent Search!  Results begin coming out in January, 2013.

BIG NEWS (10/19/12): Laura Goetz was named a national semifinalist in the Siemens Science and Technology Competition, and Sarah Posner and Marc Bouchet are Regional Finalists!!  This is amazing recognition for their research efforts (see below).  Sarah and Marc each win $1000 scholarships, and now can present at the University of Notre Dame in November for more scholarship money and advancement to the national finals.  The top team will split a $100,000 scholarship later in December.  Great job to these three students!!

Congratulations to seniors Laura Goetz, Marc Bouchet, Sarah Posner and David McDonald for submitting papers to the Siemens Science and Technology Competition, one of the bigest science contests for high schools with prizes of up to $100,000 for the overall winners.  Laura worked on genetics research relevant to Huntington's disease, Sara adn Marc worked on tandem organic solar cells and improving their efficiencies, and David worked on properties of mixed, different sized granular materials.

Congratulations to former Chem-Physser Sarah Peters ('10), who co-authored a paper with me in the September issue of The Physics Teacher journal, which is the top journal for high school and introductory physics instructors.  The paper is based on Sarah's research while at ETHS, and is entitled, "Counterintuitive Behavior in Mechanical Networks."  Sarah is now at Williams College studying physics.

2011-12 School Year:

Congratulations to one of our TSA TEAMS teams (formerly called JETS), which took 2nd in Illinois and 19th in the nation! Seniors Fiona West, Erin Roth, Margaret Omori, Gabi Dallas, Erik Baker, Sammy Straus, Elliot Chanen, and Sam Sagan made up this team, which worked on biomedical engineering problems.
Congratulations to senior Julia Crowley-Farenga, who won the Loyola regional of the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium!  She won $2000 and will present at nationals late in April, which will be held in Bethesda, MD.  Sam Straus also presented and did a wonderful job with his research presentation.

At the WYSE state finals, Sophie Kornbluh finished 5th in state for Biology, and Sam Straus finished 5th in state for Computer Science!

Congratulations to senior Fiona West, who also qualified for the National Chemistry Olympiad semifinal exam! She is the first ETHS student to qualify for both the National Physics Olympiad and the National Chemistry semifinal tests!


Congratulations to the following individuals, who qualified for the WYSE state finals in Champaign-Urbana. While the team fell a few points short of the finals, seniors Sophie Kornbluh (English and Biology), Erik Baker (English), James Hanford (Physics), Sammy Straus (Physics) and junior Isabel Strula (Biology) will compete for state titles.
Good luck to Randy Ollie, Chris Rudnicki and the rest of the boys basketball team, who are in the Elite Eight in the state playoffs!!

Congratulations to our top senior JETS team, which tied for second at its local event, and also 2nd for state rankings! They finished 1 point away from IMSA. In our Division, the team is the state champion!  The team had members Erik Baker, Elliot Chanen, Gabi Dallas, Margaret Omori, Erin Roth, Sam Sagan, Sammy Straus, and Fiona West.

Our WYSE team won its regional competition at OCC, and is getting ready for the sectional. If the team does well, it will advance to the state finals once again. Good luck!

Congratulations to seniors James Hanford and Fiona West, who are named national senifinalists for the Physics Olympiad! They will take a tough test to see if they can make the national physics team. ETHS has had 26 semifinalists in the past decade, with one student making the national team.

Congratulations go out to seniors Julia Crowley Farenga, Sammy Straus, and Fiona West, who were named finalists in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, to be held in late March at Loyola University in Chicago. Their papers outlining their independent science research were selected for presentation. The overall winner receives $2000, 2nd place $1500, and 3rd place $1000. The top three students will also receive a trip to the national symposium in Bethesda, MD, in April, and winners there will go to an international exhibition in London. We have had 37 semifinalists, 19 finalists, 6 winners, and 2 students make it to London in the past dozen years.

Congratulations go out to several teams that participated in the 2011 COMAP High School Math Modeling Contest, also known by students as the 36-hour problem. Teams of up to 4 students work on one of two problems that are open-ended, and require a combination of mathematics, science, and computer modeling skills to develop possible solutions. Teams have up to 36 consecutive hours over one of three weekends in November to work on their problem. The following teams then had to submit a strong written report in this international contest (there were dozens of teams from Hong Kong, China, South Korea). ETHS had 13 teams (50 students) compete this year.

We had three teams rated as Regional Outstanding, which were the top 15% of papers. The teams were:
Aja Klevs
Lauren Nortz
Alex Nierlich
Sammy Straus

Laura Goetz
Caroline Duke
Xena Becker
Dina Sinclair

Lloyd Shatkin
Zach Favakeh
Manny Dallas
Henry Magnuson

One problem was to develop a 10-year plan for NASA for maintaining the International Space Station, now that the US has grounded the space shuttle fleet. Students had to include costs (both current and projected), payloads and flight schedules using information they had to research online, including figuring out the capabilities of the Russian space program, which is now being used to transport missions to the ISS.

The other problem option was a search and find problem. It was:
"Consider the following scenario: you have lost a small object, such as a class ring, in a small park see map 1. It is getting dark and you have your pen light flashlight available. If your light shines on the ring, you assume that you see it. You cannot possibly search 100% of the region. Determine how you will search the park in minimum time. An average person walks approximately 4 mph. You have about 2 hours to search. Determine the chance you will find the lost object. Using map 2, assume, a jogger is lost who was going on a 5 mile run. Determine how you search the region to have a good chance of finding the lost jogger (who might be unconscious). Assume it is night and you only have your pen light as a light source."

Final word on the Siemens National Finals: Julia and Patrick finished 3rd in the nation in the team competition!! Congratulations!! This earns them a $40,000 scholarship that they will share.

Julia and Patrick won their Siemens Regional Final at MIT, and now go to the National Finals in Washington, DC!!! They have a 1 in 6 chance of getting the $100,000 scholarship. WOW!

Congratulations to Fiona West and Sammy Straus for submitting papers to the Intel Science Talent Search! Fiona's work was on the development of an analysis algorithm for a structural health monitoring system for bridges. The system was developed by Northwestern civil engineers, and Fiona's work provides a new way to get necessary information on the weights of heavy trucks, so the health of a bridge can be monitored and predicted into the future.

We have 14 teams in the process of doing the COMAP High School Math Modeling Contest! Good luck to all.

Congratulations to Julia Crowley-Farenga, Patrick Loftus and Sammy Straus, as they submitted papers to the Siemens Science and Technology Competition. This is a wonderful achievement, as it is quite a lot of work to do independent research and write up a technical paper about it. Julia and Patrick worked together and developed a new morphological classification scheme for post-starburst galaxies, and Sammy investigated how to optimize results in genetic programming algorithms.

ETHS welcomes three GK-12 fellows from Northwestern University. These three, who are graduate research students, will serve as resident scientists in three classrooms at ETHS throughout the entire school year. We welcome Jason Hwang, Meagan Morscher, and Daniel Sinkovits, who are paired up with GK-12 Teacher Fellows Dan DuBrow, Andy Miner, and Mark Vondracek, respectively. The main focus is on the role and use of computational science.

August, 2011:
The summary paper for the High School Math Modeling Contest team of David Lenz, Paul Barnes, and Oliver Manheim has been published in COMAP's journal. This is a wonderful honor for a team that was rated as National Outstanding, meaning it was one of the top 10 papers in the international contest.

May, 2011:

Congratulations to one of the ETHS Junior Engineering and Technical Society (JETS) teams, which finished 5th in the nation in its division, just 2 points from tying for first place! JETS is a national organization that sponsors a team competition, where up to eight students work collaboratively on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related questions and problems. This year, the theme was energy, and its vital role in the modern global society.

The team consisted of seniors: Adam Birnbaum, David Lenz, Zach Levine, Nathan Port, Danny Rothschild, Judah Schvimer, Will Sparks, and Sam Sprague.


April, 2011:

The WYSE team went to Champaign for the state finals, and finished 10th in the state! Team members are:
Ileana Becker, Adam Birnbaum, Elliot Chanen, Leah Chernoff, Gabriel Dallas, Josh Isenstein, David Lenz, Judah Schvimer, Sam Sprague, Nathan Port, Judah Schvimer, Will Sparks, Sam Straus, Sora Tannenbaum, Regan Via

March, 2011:

Congratulations to one of the ETHS Junior Engineering and Technical Society (JETS) teams, which finished 2nd in the state in its division. JETS is a national organization that sponsors a team competition, where up to eight students work collaboratively on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related questions and problems. This year, the theme was energy, and its vital role in the modern global society.

The team consisted of seniors: Adam Birnbaum, David Lenz, Zach Levine, Nathan Port, Danny Rothschild, Judah Schvimer, Will Sparks, and Sam Sprague.

The first place team was from Libertyville. The ETHS team beat out multiple teams from area schools.

ETHS had two other teams finish 12th and 13th in state. The 12th place team consisted of juniors: Erik Baker, Elliot Chanen, Gabriel Dallas, Joshua Isenstein, Nathan Livingston, Aaron Mann, Sam Sagan, and Sam Straus.

The 13th place team consisted of seniors: Paul Barnes, Matthew Foster, Alex Gilbert, Adam Gwilliam, George Sereika, Jessica Shatkin, Allison Slaughter, and Regan Via.

February 11, 2011:

A group at Northwestern won a $10,000 grant from the American Physical Society (APS) called 'Flip for Physics.' High School students will have a chance to connect with physics research groups at NU, Argonne and Fermilab, and produce videos about the research taking place. A contest will be developed for the students, and the videos will be put on YouTube, teacher and professor web sites,and used for recruitment for the group as well as for inspiring young students to major in STEM subjects. In addition, students will network with professors and grad students, be exposed to cutting edge research, and perhaps work in the lab. Doc V is helping with this grant and you'll hear more about it in Fall of 2011!

February 4, 2011:

Congratulations go out to our Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) team, which won their regional competition today and advanced to a tough sectional competition in March. WYSE allows for a team of up to 14 students to test in biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, mathematics, and English, and individuals as well as the team can win awards and advance in the statewide competition.

Individually, medals were won by the following students:
Biology: 1st place, Sora Tannenbaum; 3rd place, Ileana Becker
Computer Science: 3rd place, Sam Straus
English: 1st place, Ileana Becker; 3rd place, Leah Chernoff
Math: 1st place, Zach Levine

Other team members are:
Adam Birnbaum, Elliot Chanen, Gabriel Dallas, David Lenz, Judah Schvimer, Sam Sprague, Nathan Port, , Will Sparks, Regan Via

Now on to Sectionals, and hopefully back to State!
January 25, 2011

Congratulations go out to 4 teams of students who did very well in the 2010 COMAP High School Math Modeling Competition.

This contest allows teams of 4 students to work on challenging, open-ended problems that require mathematical reasoning, models and solutions, often which are generated using computer algorithms the students develop. Teams are allowed 36 consecutive hours to work on the problem they select. Teams worked over one of three weekends back in November.

Receiving a top ranking of National Outstanding is a team with members Paul Barnes, Alex Dangel, David Lenz, and Oliver Manheim, all seniors. They are one of only 9 teams selected, which is the top 3% of entries from an international field (mostly US, but numerous papers came from multiple schools in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Any school can enter, including magnet schools (such as IMSA). These 9 papers will now be published in professional journals that are distributed from COMAP, a national math organization.

Two ETHS teams were ranked as Regional Outstanding papers. This puts them in the top 10%. The teams have members:
- Elliot Chanen, Gabriel Dallas, Josh Isenstein, and Sam Sagan, all juniors.
- Matthew Foster, Adam Gwilliam, Carie Tybout, and Seesha Takagishi, all seniors.

One team was rated Meritorious, which is the top third:
Erik Baker, Elias Friedman, Judah Schvimer, and Sam Straus. Judah is a senior, the others are juniors.

January 4, 2011

ETHS the 1st Public High School Chapter (in the world!) to be asked to join the Triple Helix.

The Triple Helix is one of the largest student-run non-profits in the world. The dozens of college chapters organize, maintain, and publish both printed and electronic journals concerning science-related issues and their greater, integrated effects on global societies. ETHS students will soon have the chance to submit articles for E-publication, and will run it themselves with as little feedback or interference from Doc V as possible. This will be a great way for students to have their own voices and opinions heard, by doing the research and writing on any topic they are interested in. This is a unique opportunity for students, and I hope this will only grow over time!