WPI Student Will Attend Nobel Peace Prize Awards

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. John Tassinari, a WPI freshman majoring in mechanical engineering from Braintree, Mass., thought he'd accomplished a lot when he beat out entries from more than 1,000 students to win this year's International Science and Engineering Fair in Tucson, but he'll top that honor on Dec. 11 when he attends the Nobel Peace Prize presentations in Stockholm.

Tassinari was recently notified that he was one of two students to win a Glenn T. Scott Nobel Peace Prize Award. Presented each year for the fair's top two projects, the award provides an all-expenses paid trip to Sweden to attend the ceremonies. Tassinari and the other Scott winner, Naomi Bates, a Princeton University freshman from North Carolina, will meet with the Nobel winners and the King, Queen, Princess and Prime Minister of Sweden and will be interviewed by CNN on Dec. 11 for a program to be broadcast throughout the world.

The trip to Stockholm is the somewhat surprising conclusion to a journey that began when Tassinari was a freshman at Braintree High School. "I received a third-place award in the Massachusetts State Science Fair during my freshman year," he says, "then won second place sophomore year and first place in my junior year. The first-place finish entitled me to go as an alternate to the International Science and Engineering Fair. Finally, in my senior year, I took first place at the state competition and was invited (with five other Massachusetts students) to the ISEF. To attend this fair is such an honor, I was proud to be allowed to go."

Tassinari won first place in the Engineering Projects Section and also garnered the top Air Force award in the 1996 ISEF for "The Assessment of Lift: Boundary Layer Control Using Suction Through Slots." For his project he built a wing profile that he tested in MIT's wind tunnel. "My project was the compilation of four years of work in high school," he says. "I found that by drawing air through the surface of the airfoil at different locations, I could increase lift by 100 percent and reduce drag and greatly reduce the separation of the boundary layer."

Tassinari says the ISEFair is an invitation-only event for scientists between the ages of 12 and 22 from throughout the world whose projects are designed to benefit humankind. The work must be original and fully documented. "In my opinion, there is no greater achievement a high school student can attain than to be invited to enter this prestigious fair," he says.

"John's remarkable academic prowess has continued at WPI," says history Professor John Zeugner, Tassinari's faculty advisor. "He made all A's in Term A. The invitation to the Nobel awards is a tremendous honor one that recognizes both his intelligence and his promise."

Tassinari, son of Paul Tassinari and Dawn Goodrich of Braintree, is a National Merit Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society. At WPI he is a member of the Society of Martial Arts and enjoys mountain biking, Kempo karate and live music. Paul Tassinari received a bachelor's and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from WPI.