Sugar Land high school student wins $100K in science competition

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A Sugar Land high school senior came in fourth place and took home $100,000 for his research. (KTRK)

Move over Bill Nye. High school senior Byron Xu, 17, in Sugar Land took fourth place and $100,000 in the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search.

The talent search is the nation's oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.

Xu, was selected as one of the top 10 winners out of a pool of 1,700 entrants.

According to the Society for Science organization, the founder and producer of the event, finalists were selected based on the scientific rigor and world-changing potential of their research projects.

For the competition, Xu examined marine seismic data, the reflections of sound waves, with the goal of calculating ocean water temperatures in more detail than current techniques allow.

To put it simply, Xu's project was on determining ocean temperatures by using sound waves. Xu said his work shows that the temperature of water will slightly change the speed of sound traveling through it, by using this, researchers would be able to get highly detailed ocean temperature profiles.

Xu's work was acknowledged by President and CEO of Society for Science and publisher of Science News Maya Ajemera.

"Congratulations to Byron on being named a top winner in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2017. As climate science continues to grow in importance, research like Byron's will be vital to advancing our understanding of this global challenge," said Ajemera.

Now Xu joins the rank of other science talent search alumni who have gone on to receive more than 100 of the world's most esteemed science and math honors, including the Nobel Prize and the National Medal of Science.


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