A Harvard University-bound Caddo Magnet High School graduate delivered his commencement speech via a taped video last week. Henry Lin, 17, of Shreveport missed graduation because he was receiving the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award at the world’s largest high school science research fair, a week-long event held in Phoenix. Lin received a $50,000 scholarship and $8,000 in cash for his astrophysics project that explores far-off and ancient cluster galaxies.
“Dark matter and dark energy account for 96 percent of the universe, so we’d like to know what 96 percent of the universe is," Lin said, during a studio interview before heading off on a family vacation to Taiwan. "We're hoping these galaxy cluster surveys can help us out on better understanding these very, very unusual and fascinating phenomena.”
Lin has worked on this research for about a year. Last summer, he attended the Research Science Institute at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and teamed up with scientists there on the project. He still works closely with them, and he hopes to submit the research to a scholarly journal in a matter of weeks.
This year, Intel reported about 1,600 high school students participated in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Lin said receiving a top award was surreal.
“I was just totally overwhelmed. I didn’t know what was going on? I had no clue that I was up for the final, final awards," Lin said. "When they called that, I didn’t know how to react. I was just insane. They had confetti. But I couldn’t even focus on that. I was in shock.”
Lin expects he’ll make some computer upgrades with his cash prize. A student from Romania won the top prize for a self-driving car innovation. Lin has participated in this fair for three years, and he said this is the best ever showing for a Louisiana student.