BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N. Y. -- Briarcliff High School's Dalton Waldock made the list of 300 high school seniors nationwide selected as a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search Competition.
All semifinalists get $1,000 in scholarship money, plus $1,000 for their school. Forty finalists will be announced Wednesday, then invited to participate in a March competition in Washington, D.C.
"I was completely speechless," Waldock said of finding out he'd been selected as a semifinalist.
Waldock researched his project, titled “The Spectroscopic Measurements vs. a Langmuir Probe Analyses of an RF Plasma Thruster," at the University of Washington in Seattle in the school’s space plasma propulsion lab. He met John Slough, an astrophysicist and research associate professor, and through Slough found affiliate researcher Jordan Neuhoff, who mentored him throughout his research.
His project focused on the efficiency and construction of a plasma thruster that is used on space probes.
“[Neuhoff] taught me everything I needed to know and he made everything seem so easy,” Waldock said. “He is the coolest guy ever.”
With the help of Neuhoff, “I found a more efficient way of finding the efficiency of these thrusters,” Waldock said.
Space is an enormous field to explore, and Waldock he enjoys the fact that even the smallest thing has a huge impact in space.
“I’ve always liked space. … Space is the final frontier,” he said. “On this planet, we are infinitesimally small compared to the rest of the universe. It’s always what I wanted to do as a child – go into space, find out everything I could find and look at.”
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