Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Home-schooled teenager wins top prize in 2005 Siemens Westinghouse Math, Science, and Technology Competition. According to the Siemens Foundation, Michael Viscardi of San Diego, CA won the top individual award for his project "On the Solution of the Dirichlet Problem with Rational Boundary Data":
Michael Viscardi's math project focused on finding the solution to the Dirichlet problem, originally formulated by the 19th century mathematician Lejeune Dirichlet. He especially liked the problem because it uses complex analysis, one of his favorite subjects. Mr. Viscardi studied the Dirichlet problem with rational data on the boundary of any 2-dimensional domain. In his research, Mr. Viscardi was able to obtain and prove several new results. Potential applications of his work include modeling magnetic fields which generate solar prominences, heat conduction through plates, and 2-dimensional electrostatic fields. Mr. Viscardi's mentor for this project was Prof. Peter Ebenfelt, Department of Mathematics, University of California, San Diego.

Mr. Viscardi, a senior, has participated in the USA Mathematical Olympiad for the past three years and was the National MATHCOUNTS Champion Team Member in 2003. He has played the piano for ten years and the violin for six, and is concertmaster of the San Diego Youth Symphony and San Diego Youth Symphony Philharmonia, as well as first violinist of the San Diego Youth Symphony String Quartet. He has won numerous awards for his musical performances, including first place in the Senior Piano Division of the 2005 H.B. Goodlin Scholarship Competition. He also composes music. Mr. Viscardi plans to study mathematics and music in college. His dream job is to be a math professor and concert pianist/violinist/composer.
According to the judges,
"He is a super-duper mathematics student," said lead judge Constance Atwell, a consultant and former research director at the National Institutes of Health. "It was almost impossible for our judges to figure out the limits of his understanding during our questioning. And he's only 16 years old," she said.