Local boy wins first prize in prestigious essay contest

Judges perplexed by whiz kid’s staggering scientific scholarship

By Mondo Fernando, Staff Reporter


TORONTO – Seven-year-old Carl Abdul from Mississauga was announced first-place winner of the prestigious Annual SETI Institute Essay Competition yesterday. The California-based Search For Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, which conducts academic research into the existence and nature of life beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, announced the winners at a lavish awards ceremony in San Francisco.

The title page for Abdul’s award-winning essay — genius on displayAbdul was rewarded $10,000 for his paper entitled “ALIENS!!! — THEY WANT TO EAT YOUR BRAIN!!” which unveiled some pertinent observations on the threats of extraterrestrial life and prospective human contact, using a series of crayon illustrations and three pages of hand-written text. 


The second-place prize of $1,000 was awarded Dr. Paul G. Steffes of the North American Space Agency for his paper entitled “A SETI Search of Nearby Solar-Type Stars at the 203 GHz Positronium Hyperfine Resonance.”


Asked to explain the surprising choice for the first-place prize, Dr. Fritzen Cintron, M.D., Ph.D., who sat on the distinguished panel of judges, noted, “Positronium hyperfine resonance scans are a significant and operationally relevant advancement in space scholarship, providing a reliable and versatile diagnostic tool for monitoring patterns in earth-class exoplanets.  


“But Abdul’s brilliant essay offered new and exiting insights into the possibility of aliens eating our brains!” 


Abdul’s article is available on the website, at www.seti.org, and will also appear in print in the August 2008 issue of SETI’s quarterly scholarly journal.


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