LAHS student wins top physics prize

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By Kirsten Laskey

She went to Atlanta as a state champion, but Los Alamos High School student Caroline Wurden left an international winner.

Wurden, who will be a senior in the fall, competed in the International Science and Engineering Fair held May 11-16. Her project, “Great Balls of Fire,” was awarded first place in the physics and astronomy division, and best of category in physics and astronomy.

As a result, Wurden received $3,000 and an asteroid named after her for the first place prize, and $5,000 and a new computer for earning the best of category.

The money, she said, will go toward college.

“It felt awesome,” Wurden said. “It was a little unexpected.”

She added she was “really excited and happy.”

During the international fair, Wurden said she competed against 65 students in her category. There were 17 different categories featured in the fair.

Alexander Kendrick, an incoming sophomore at LAHS, competed in the engineering division.

The International Science and Engineering Fair is the largest pre-college science competition, annually providing a forum for more than 1,500 high school students from more than 40 countries to showcase their independent research. Students in ninth grade through 12th grade participated in the event.