ETHS senior Michael Lucy won first place for his science research in the Chicagoland regional competition of the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium March 2 at Loyola University.

He was one of 17 area students who presented and defended their original research results before panels of professors. Four other ETHS seniors, Laine Klopfenstein, Jacob Parzen, Andy Scheff and Andy Schneider, also presented their research.

Lucy’s work involves using genetic programming, where a program produces mathematical functions through mutations and ‘mating’ of an initial population of random functions, to evolve solutions to complex problems. His algorithm produced results that were better than several standard algorithms to approximate the number of prime numbers below any given number.

For his first-place regional win, Lucy won a $2,000 scholarship and an all-expense paid trip to present at the National JSHS in Orlando, Fla., in April. He will compete for up to an additional $16,000 in scholarships against first- and second-place finalists from the 48 regional competitions held around the country. Winners of the national competition will also represent the U.S. in London at an international symposium.

Lucy is the sixth ETHS student to win at the Loyola JSHS in the past eight years. Two ETHS students have gone on to compete in London in the last seven years. Thanks to Lucy’s first-place win, ETHS will also receive a $500 mini-grant for its science research program.

The Junior Science and Humanities Symposia Program promotes original research and experimentation in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics at the high school level and publicly recognizes students for outstanding achievement. The National JSHS Program is sponsored by the U.S. Armed Forces, Department of Defense, and leading research universities to encourage young students to pursue science and conduct research and development in college.

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