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TAMS student one of 40 finalists in national Intel science contest

Kurtis Carsch, 2012 Intel Science Talent Search finalistKurtis Carsch, left, a Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science student, has been named one of 40 finalists in the 2012 Intel Science Talent Search.

Carsch will present his work on developing a way to more efficiently convert methane gas into methanol, in Washington, D.C., March 8-13. He will compete for $630,000 in awards, including a top prize of $100,000.

In addition to the rigorous judging process, Carsch and the other finalists also will have the opportunity to meet with national leaders and display their research at the National Geographic Society.

The 40 finalists were selected from a pool of 300 semifinalists, which included nine TAMS students. TAMS tied for fourth among all schools in the nation for the most semifinalists from a single school. More than 1,800 high-school aged students submitted projects to the prestigious competition this year.

Carsch has been working on his project DFT Modeling of a Methane-to-Methanol Oxy-Insertion Catalytic Cycle via Group 6 Organometallics: A Computational Analysis in UNT’s Center for Advanced Scientific Computing and Modeling since 2010.

Thomas Cundari, Regents Professor of ChemistryUnder the direction of Thomas Cundari, right, Regents Professor of Chemistry, Carsch has been developing and testing catalyst molecules that would allow methane gas to be converted into methanol in a more efficient manner, which would allow the fuel to be burned and transported more easily. His work is part of a larger project that is funded by the United States Department of Energy’s Center for Catalytic Hydrocarbon Functionalization.

Carsch hopes to study nuclear chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

TAMS is a two-year residential program that allows exceptionally talented students to complete their freshman and sophomore years of college while receiving the equivalent of high school diplomas.

Students enroll in the academy following their sophomore year in high school, live in a UNT residence hall and attend UNT classes with college students. After two years, they enroll at UNT or another university to finish their bachelor's degrees.

 - Alyssa Yancey, News Promotions

Posted on: Wed 25 January 2012

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