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Information embargoed until 21 April 2001 @ 11 am

Press Release

A NATIONAL EFFORT TO PROMOTE AN INTEREST IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AMONG THE YOUNG - CLOSE TO 50 AWARDS CONFERRED TO STUDENTS FOR EXCELLENCE IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

21 April 2001 - The National Science Talent Search (NSTS) and the inaugural Singapore Science & Engineering Fair (SSEF) conferred close to 50 awards and more than $25,000 worth of study grants and vouchers to recognise and nurture students who demonstrate a strong aptitude for scientific research. Four students won top honours at the National Science Talent Search, and five students were selected to represent Singapore at an international science competition to be held in the United States in May this year.

His Excellency, President S R Nathan, presented the prestigious NSTS and SSEF awards today, at a ceremony held at The Pan Pacific Hotel.

This is the first time that the National Science & Technology Board (NSTB), the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Singapore Science Centre (SSC) organise a national fair to fan the interest in science and technology among the young.  Said President S R Nathan : "Competitions such as today's are another way to encourage students interested in science and engineering to consider a career as scientists and researchers. Students with the interest and passion to take part in such competitions acquire more than just knowledge and expertise. There is also the opportunity to work with researchers, meet like-minded passionate students, and be caught up in the intriguing world of scientific research."

132 secondary and pre-university students took part in the SSEF, which was launched in March this year. Five outstanding students were selected to represent Singapore to compete at the prestigious Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), which will be held in California in May this year. Grand prize for Intel ISEF is an invitation to attend the Nobel prize Presentation Ceremonies in Stockholm, Sweden. Other ISEF prizes include scholarships, tuition grants, scientific equipment and scientific fieldtrips worth over US$2 million in total.

49 SSEF entries took part in the NSTS Award, which identifies and recognises students with a flair for scientific research. The NSTS winner will receive a study grant worth S$10,000 and a scholarship up to PhD level. Merit winners will each receive S$1000 cash prize and a scholarship up to PhD level. NSTS finalists will each receive a S$400 voucher.

Winners of National Science Talent Search 2001

Loh Huanqian from Raffles Junior College is the proud winner of the prestigious NSTS Award. The objective of Huanqian's research project was to identify factors affecting the structure and hardness of TiN (titanium nitride) film deposited using a recently developed high-density inductively coupled plasma (ICP) assisted dc magnetron sputtering technique.

The Merit Award is presented to the following students :

  • Lim Si Jing Joline, Hwa Chong Junior College
    Joline studied the binding of two essential muscle proteins, myosin subfragment 1(S1) actin, so as to elucidate a more holistic picture of muscle contraction.

  • Mok Yingting, Hwa Chong Junior College
    In her research, Yingting examined the effects of glucosamine and annosamine, which is structurally similar to glucosamine, on the synthesis of proteoglycans and proteins in bovine cartilage. Her study contributes to current research on osteoarthritis, which is a prevalent joint disease.

  • Ng Yifan, Raffles Junior College
    Yifan studied enzyme phospholipase A2 (PLA2), which was extracted from he highly venomous Malayan krait, Bungarus candidus. Applications of this preliminary work include antivenin candidates, cures for rheumatoid arthritis and the limiting of brain damage during focal brain ischaemia.

Chief Judge for NSTS 2001 - Prof. Dr. Christoph Gerber

Professor Gerber is a Research Staff Member in Nanoscale Science at the IBM Research Laboratory in RÜschlikon, Switzerland. Among the 100 most cited researchers in physical science in the world, Professor Gerber has over 20 years of research experience in Nanoscale Science. Professor Gerber is a prolific inventor, holding 9 IBM patents and 21 patent publications. His inventions also won him the Information embargoed until 21 April 2001 @ 11 am IBM Invention Achievement Awards in 1983, 1986, 1993 and 1998. His current research interests include : self organisation and self assembly; nanomechanics, nanorobotics and molecular devices; and ultimate limits of measurement and fabrication.

Supporting the NSTS 2001 and SSEF 2001 are Siemens Advance Engineering Pte Ltd and Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA).

Said Mr Thomas Frischmuth, Managing Director of Siemens Advanced Engineering Pte Ltd : "Our support for NSTS is one of the ways with which we help build tomorrow's world - by promoting scientific inquisitiveness and creativity in our students today. As one of the world's leading electronics and electrical engineering companies, it is our aim to build a bridge between theory and practice, and to encourage scientific excellence. In doing so, we are helping the next generation shape our future."

Said Mr Soh Kong Pheng, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations), Defence Science & Technology Agency : "We are happy to support the SSEF and NSTS and contribute to the national effort in nurturing the best engineering and scientific talents in Singapore. Within DSTA, we also have a complementary programme known as the Young Defence Scientists' Programme (YDSP). We extend our congratulations to Lee Keng Siang, one of our YDSP students, on his selection to represent Singapore at the prestigious ISEF in USA."

Issued by the National Science & Technology Board

For media queries, please contact :

Ms Fun Yip
Senior Officer, Corporate Communications, NSTB
DID : 7702673 Pager : 92234662
Email : fun_yip@nstb.gov.sg

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