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SHS Seniors Recognized Among The Science Community

SHS Seniors Recognized Among The Science Community

Summit High School has a unique science research program. The curriculum starts with guided projects. Students then continue with independent research projects performed in school that are entered in science fair competitions.

This fall, Summit High School seniors Kate Griffith and Max Model, entered results from their research project into a photo contest. The contest is run by the Optical Society of America (OSA) yearly, and is scientifically geared. Entrants are required to demonstrate interesting optical effects. The entries of both Ms. Griffith and Mr. Model gained acclaim! Most entries are from professional and university scientists, which makes their accomplishments even more outstanding.

This particular project began when SHS science teacher Dr. Benjamin Greene wrote a SEF grant proposal for the purchase of hyperspectral imaging equipment. The proposal was funded, and two high quality consumer digital cameras were purchased. Consumer cameras have built-in filters to block infrared light. Dr. Greene subsequently had the filters removed, rendering the cameras sensitive to near-infrared light.

Both Ms. Griffith and Mr. Model took photographs in a darkened room. A red laser was used to illuminate various cross sections of common fruits: Model choosing a lemon and Griffith selecting an apple. Subtly green- colored molecular pigments in the flesh of the fruit are associated with the anatomy of the core and other features. These pigments absorb the red laser light and re-emit light in the infrared part of the spectrum. Viewing only the infrared light reveals striking images where anatomical features are decorated.

"It is highly special for high school level students to be able to participate and be highlighted within a professional science community such as this" said Dr. Greene. "Of the individuals whose work was recognized in the 'Optics and Photonics News', a publication of the Optical Society of America, no others were high school students, except those from Summit."

Special thanks to Dr. Benjamin Greene and Ms. Christine Stelmach with whom he teaches. To see more, visit...