Intel Science Talent Search 2009 Finalists

 



Gabriela Aylin Farfan



Gabriela Aylin Farfan WISCONSIN

Gabriela Aylin Farfan, 18, of Madison, entered the Intel Science Talent Search with an earth and planetary science project investigating a type of feldspar commonly referred to as "Oregon sunstones." Previous investigators had established that Oregon sunstones shimmer because they contain metallic copper. Gabriela investigated why some sunstones that were collected at the Dust Devil Mine in Oregon appeared to be red when viewed from one angle and green when viewed from another. She used x-ray diffraction, optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy and found, for the first time, that some of the samples contained zinc that, when combined with copper, appeared to produce a more golden color. She believes that the red-green color shift is caused by nano-scale metal platelet inclusions in the feldspar that are aligned; the rock appears to be one color when the inclusions are looked at end-wise, and another when looked at lengthwise. First in her class of 412 at West High School, Gabriela enjoys mineral and gemstone collecting, art and voice. She is daughter of Carlos Peralta and Abigail Farfan and hopes to attend the University of Wisconsin or Stanford.

 


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