On Oct. 18, the Siemens Foundation announced this year’s Semifinalists and Regional Finalists of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology the nation’s premier research competition for high school students. Evanston Township High Schools seniors Taylor Sims and Talia Weiss were named among this year’s top competitors as regional finalists.

Taylor and Talia reported their findings in a paper entitled “Environment and Variability of High Redshift X¬-ray Bright Optically Normal Galaxies.” Their work was supported by Dr. Daryl Haggard, an astrophysics postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University. These X-ray objects, often referred to as XBONGs, are fairly rare objects with large X-ray emissions in comparison with the intensity of visible light, and how they do this is not known. The ETHS student team’s analysis of dozens of these objects has led to, for the first time, some new support for certain explanations of this phenomenon.  

The 2013 Siemens Competition generated unprecedented participation, showcasing students’ growing interest in science, math and technology subjects. A record 2,440 students registered for this year’s competition and a total of 1,599 projects were submitted for consideration. A complete list of finalists and their projects is available at www.siemens-foundation.org.

As Regional Finalists, Taylor and Talia are among the top 30 teams in the country, and will receive $1,000 scholarships for college. They will present their work in early November at the University of Notre Dame, during one of the six regional competitions held during the month.

“This is the third straight year ETHS has had a team make it to the regional finals,” said ETHS physics teacher Mark Vondracek. “The students will now begin forming and practicing their presentation, as well as make a professional poster of their work for a separate poster session at Notre Dame.”