A young physicist from North Bethesda won one of three big prizes Tuesday at the Intel Science Talent Search competition in Washington, D.C.
Michael Hofmann Winer, 18, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, won the First Place Medal of Distinction for Innovation, which earned him a $150,000 prize.
Winer’s study looked at how phonons, units of vibrational energy capable of creating sound or heat, interact with electrons. Winer’s work could be applied to complex atomic structures such as superconductors, according to The Society for Science & the Public, which organizes the annual competition that’s sponsored by Intel.
Winer, a student in Blair’s math and science magnet program, was a member of the Blair high school team that earned a first-place prize in the Johns Hopkins Math Tournament in February. Winer won individual first-place awards at the tournament as well in the calculus and probability categories. In 2014, he won a silver medal at the 2014 International Physics Olympiad and was the highest scoring U.S. student on the theoretical exam.
The Intel win marks another high point for Blair, which has sent 32 students to the Intel Science competition’s finals since 1999, according to The Washington Post. A total of 12 students from the school were named semi-finalists in the competition, earning $1,000 each.
A second Montgomery County student, Yizhen Zhang from Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, was among the 40 students named finalists this year.
The two other first-place winners in this year’s competition were Noah Golowich, 17, of Lexington, Massachusetts and Andrew Jin, 17, of San Jose, California.