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Horace Mann School Senior Brian Wu '20 is named a Top 40 Regeneron Science Scholar
Horace Mann School Senior Brian Wu '20 is named a Top 40 Regeneron Science Scholar
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Horace Mann School senior Brian Wu '20 was named one of 40 top scholars in the 79th Regeneron Science Talent Search, the Society for Science and the Public announced on January 22, 2020. Wu was selected from among the 300 top science students nationwide announced by Regeneron on January 8, 2020. This list was narrowed down from an original 1,993 highly qualified entrants from 659 high schools across 49 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and eight countries. Each submitted an original research project for the nation's oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.

Horace Mann School senior Brian Wu '20 was named one of 40 top scholars in the 79th Regeneron Science Talent Search, the Society for Science and the Public announced on January 22, 2020. Wu was selected from among the 300 top science students nationwide announced by Regeneron on January 8, 2020. This list was narrowed down from an original 1,993 highly qualified entrants from 659 high schools across 49 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and eight countries. Each submitted an original research project for the nation's oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.

Wu was recognized for his project "Tatooine Found! Discovery, Confirmation, and Characterization of the First-Ever Circumbinary Planet Detected Using Doppler Spectroscopy Applied in Conjunction with a Novel Synthetic Spectra-based Confirmation System and Machine Learning." This work expands upon research Wu began at age 14 that resulted in the discovery of nine giant planets, one brown dwarf, two binary stars, as well as the first-ever circumbinary planet (a planet that orbits two stars instead of one) to be detected using radial spectoscropy.

Wu's research previously earned him top honors in the SIEMENS competition in Math, Science and Technology (2017), and as an Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Finalist (2018 and 2019). In September 2019, Wu was also selected one of 20 students nationwide as a recipient of a Davidson Fellows Scholarship, which recognizes, nurtures and supports profoundly intelligent young people, and provides opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive impact.

The Regeneron Science Talent Search, a program of Society for Science & the Public since 1942, is the nation's oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors Wu is the fifth Horace Mann School student in the Regeneron competition's 79-year history to be named a finalist. The last Regeneron finalist from HM was Ella Feiner '18.

"Horace Mann School wholeheartedly congratulates Brian for being recognized as one of the top 40 scholars nationwide in this latest step of the Regeneron Science Talent Search," said HM Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly. "This honor is so well-deserved. It recognizes the incredibly hard work and brilliant creativity Brian has put into his research, while also excelling in all of his academics – humanities as well as science studies, and also being engaged in HM activities and student life. The ultimate goal of Brian's research is to find a way to aid humanity. Brian's enthusiastic approach to balancing his independent science studies with a meaningful school experience truly embodies HM's mission and core values. He inspires us all."

Since making the planetary discoveries that Wu hopes might provide alternatives should our Earth become uninhabitable, the HM senior subsequently developed an innovative confirmation system to prove that the planet is real. His system pioneers the use of synthetic spectra using novel software, and importantly advances the field of Radial Velocity astronomy. By using Wu's methods our potential to discover many more stellar companions is greatly increased.

Each of the 40 Regeneron STS Scholars are awarded at least $25,000. In the final step of the competition the 40 students will travel to Washington, D.C. from March 5-11, 2020, where they will undergo a rigorous judging process and compete for more than $1.8 million in awards. They will also have an opportunity to interact with leading scientists, meet with Members of Congress and display their projects to the public on March 8. The top 10 young scientists will then be selected for awards ranging from $40,000 to $250,000, announced at a black-tie gala ceremony at the National Building Museum on March 10, 2020.

Each year, some 2,000 student entrants submit original research in critically important scientific fields of study and are judged by leading experts in their fields. Unique among high school competitions in the U.S. and around the world, the Regeneron Science Talent Search focuses on identifying, inspiring and engaging the nation's most promising young scientists who are creating the ideas that could solve society's most urgent challenges. Scholars are chosen based on their exceptional research skills, commitment to academics, innovative thinking and promise as scientists. "This year's finalists are part of the next generation of brilliant minds who – through the pursuit of science and innovation – can address many of society's most urgent challenges and help improve our world," said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron and a Science Talent Search top winner (1976).

"The Regeneron Science Talent Search finalists are the stewards of our future," said Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of Society for Science and the Public, Publisher of Science News and 1985 Science Talent Search alum. "These finalists are the top young scientists of our country today and they give me great hope for what lies ahead."