Stories of QuarkNet Teachers and Students




QuarkNet Home - Information - Calendar - Contacts - Projects - Forms: EoI - Teachers

Isaac Degani (right) and Bill Leacock, his physics teacher, by the antenna used for the detection of meteors, airplanes and lightning.


Isaac Degani, Intel Science Talent Search Competition Semifinalist


Isaac Degani, Wellington Mepham HS, Bellmore, NY is a 2007-2008 Intel Science Talent Search competition semi-finalist. Isaac developed pattern recognition software to identify meteors, lightning and airplanes in signals seen by a MARIACHI radar. If this already sounds intriguing, the story gets better when you learn how he got there. After the MARIACHI workshop in July 2007, Isaac developed a project with the MARIACHI radar. He built and installed a MARIACHI radar pretty much on his own borrowing and obtaining parts from hardware stores and the experiment.

He built the antenna, connected it to the radio receiver, interfaced to a computer, and installed and configured the software for data acquisition. This was all done at his house with help from his physics teacher, Mr. Bill Leacock. The antenna Isaac built is known as SPIDA-2 (Simple Prototype Inverted Dipole Antenna) and was designed by Ms. Jessica Newman, a Stony Brook mechanical engineering student who worked in the experiment in 2005 and later perfected by Dr. Bob Warasila from the Suffolk County Community College.

The MARIACHI radar is a forward scattering radar that listens to distant sources of radio frequency. These stations are below the horizon and are not seen by the radar station except when meteor ionization or other objects intervene. The shape and frequency response of these signals, as seen by the radar, is characteristic of the reflecting object. Isaac explored this fact to distinguish meteors, airplanes and lightning. With this in hand he acquired data for several days and verified that the events identified as meteors had the correct periodicity. His work also revealed signals whose origin are still unknown. Isaac embraced the challenge of solving many problems related to data collection, storage and analysis. His ingenuity and persistence were key factors for the successful conclusion of his project. Isaac is the second student from Wellington Mepham HS to become a semi-finalist in this project. Kudos goes to Mr. Bill Leacock.

See Article in RHIC news


Brookhaven/Stony Brook Center