Ossining Student Reaches For The Stars In Science Competition

OSSINING, N.Y. -- An Ossining student's study of the stars has led him to be a finalist in Siemens National Science Competition.

Charles Gulian
Charles Gulian Photo Credit: Sam Barron

Charles Gulian, a senior at Ossining High School, is one of 30 people to be named a finalist by Siemens.

Gulian, who lives in Ossining, created an algorithm to search the Kepler astronomical database for undetected white dwarf binary star systems. 

“The scarcity of these stars in the Kepler database will provide useful information regarding the total number of white dwarf binary systems in the entire galaxy,” Gulian said.

When it comes to white dwarf binary system stars, not much is known. 

"We only know about 100 of them versus the billions that could be out there," Gulian said. "I wanted to know more."

While Gulian said he was not able to positively identify a single potential white dwarf binary system from the 2,000 stars he analyzed, that information is also useful.

"It's how you use your results," Gulian said. "This provides us with information about how scarce the stars are."

Gulian has been interested in astronomy since his grandfather got him a telescope for his eighth birthday. When he joined Ossining's science research program, Gulian knew he wanted to research astronomy. Gulian has also worked with astronomers at the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.

Guiian has not picked a college yet, but said he is looking at Cornell University and UCLA. 

More than 1,700 students participated in the Siemens competition.  Two other Ossining students in the science research program, Stephanie Becker and Juliet Ivanov, placed in the top 300. 

Guilian advances to regionals, where he will present his research at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh Nov. 21 and 22. The winner gets a prize valued up to $100,000.

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