In March, Evanston Township High School seniors Zachary Andalman and Michael Frim each received a gold medal at the Illinois Junior Academy of Science Regional Science Fair at Niles North High School.

Zachary, who also received the Best Project Award, presented a computational analysis of what happens to stars as they move past supermassive black holes, the largest type of black holes in the universe. Using a highly advanced computer simulation on one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he was able to generate theoretical datasets. His analysis unveiled new details on how stars are ripped apart and help form an accretion disk around the black hole.

Based on the findings, Zachary’s  work will be compared to real events currently observed by astronomers. He will also be the lead author of a paper that will be submitted by a research group at Northwestern University, led by Professor Alexander Tcheckhovskoy.

Michael presented an analysis of small circular and semi-circular formations near the splash point of Newtonian fluids, such as water, honey and other organic solvents, on a hard surface using high-speed video imagery. The study, which was filmed at 75,000 frames per second, is the first of its kind. Based on his experiment, a phase space of these different properties, referred to as trickle events, were mapped out for the very first time. These types of effects could have possible implications in agriculture, car manufacturing and environmental studies.

The Illinois Junior Academy of Science is an organization dedicated to encouraging students across Illinois to view science as an interdisciplinary study applicable to society and its interactions with the environment.