Katherine Rebecca Rudolph
Katherine Rebecca Rudolph, 18, of Naperville, asks "How closely can we pack
identical spheres?" for her Intel Science Talent Search project in mathematics.
Kate studies packing of spheres of uniform size in n-dimensional space; for n=
2, 3 the most dense packings are orderly lattice packings, but for higher
dimensions the situation is more complicated. Assuming a conjecture of Torquato
and Stillinger holds, she improves a lower bound on the maximal density of
sphere packing in high dimensions. Dense packings are of interest to chemists
studying supercooled matter and cryptologists in search of error-correcting
computer code. At Naperville Central High School, Kate is a captain of the math
team, a member of the drama club and has been a member of the JETS science team
for the past four years. Winner of numerous awards, Kate has perfect ACT scores
and strives to connect her knowledge of network dynamics with various scientific
applications. She also says she enjoys waterskiing whenever she can. The
daughter of Michael and Rebecca Rudolph, she plans to major in math at MIT or
Caltech and one day work as a research mathematician.