Laura Pierson, 17, of the College Preparatory School in Oakland, received an $80,000 award for her use of theoretical algebra to study the representation theory of mathematically symmetric groups in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.
“I was very surprised, I did not expect to place in the top,” said Pierson, a senior who will attend Harvard University next year and plans to major in either applied math or physics.
And it was really amazing to meet so many smart people who have done many amazing projects and who are so passionate about science.” Pierson, who placed sixth among 1,749 high school seniors, has been a member of the Berkeley Math Circle since fifth grade.
Then, she did research through the PRIMES-USA program, where college juniors can be mentored in their research projects via Skype and other technologies by math students who attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
These students join the ranks 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.