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OAKLAND — An East Bay resident is among the top winners in a national contest that is known as the Nobel Prize for the nation’s brightest high school students. Laura Pierson, 17, of the College Preparatory School in Oakland, received an $80,000 award for her use of theoretical algebra to study the representation theory of mathematically symmetric groups in the Regeneron Science Talent Search. This contest, which is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition, was previously known as the Westinghouse and, most recently, the Intel Talent Search; it was sponsored by Regeneron this year.

“I was very surprised, I did not expect to place in the top,” said Pierson, a senior who will attend Harvard University next year and plans to major in either applied math or physics, “It was an incredible experience, And it was really amazing to meet so many smart people who have done many amazing projects and who are so passionate about science.”, Pierson, who placed sixth among 1,749 high school seniors, has been a member of the Berkeley Math Circle since fifth grade, She started taking college math classes in middle school, poured over plenty of math books and attended a host of math camps, she said, Then, she did research through the PRIMES-USA program, where college juniors can be mentored in their research projects via Skype and other technologies by freed pointe shoe fitting math students who attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..

“I’ve always loved looking for patterns and finding interesting connections for things,” Pierson said about her love of math. “I like thinking hard about problems and searching for the patterns and solutions.”. And her parents have always been supportive of her love of math. Her father works in the information technology sector, and her mom is a school librarian, she said. Pierson is also active in theater as both an actor and technician, and volunteers at the Chabot Space and Science Center.

Norm Prokup, Pierson’s adviser at her school, said the research she’s doing in math freed pointe shoe fitting is so high-level that “it would take most people years to understand what she did, and she’s just 17.”, “She’s extremely rare, and the vast majority of math teachers throughout the span of their careers will never meet someone like her,” said Prokup, a math teacher who also is part of the Berkeley Math Circle, At the same time, she’s the last person to toot her horn, he said..

“She doesn’t brag. She doesn’t even talk about it really. … I think the attention kind of makes her feel uncomfortable,” he said. “So she acts, she dances, and she does art … she basically has taken the opportunity to be really a well-rounded kid.”. Forty finalists, including Pierson, were honored Tuesday night at the annual Regeneron Science Talent Search Awards Gala in Washington, D.C., for their research projects demonstrating exceptional scientific and mathematical ability. These students join the ranks of other Science Talent Search alumni who have gone on to receive more than 100 of the world’s most esteemed science and math honors, including the Nobel Prize and the National Medal of Science.

By Stephanie Merry, (c) 2017, The Washington Post, Ewan McGregor thinks the controversy surrounding Disney’s first “exclusively freed pointe shoe fitting gay moment” is a little silly, On an appearance Monday on the “Late Show,” the actor who plays the candlestick Lumiere in the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” movie made light of the minor brouhaha that’s unfolded ever since director Bill Condon told Attitude magazine that the character Le Fou (played by Josh Gad) is gay in the new adaptation..

“There is a lot of gay sex in this cartoon,” McGregor joked during his interview. “If you live anywhere near Alabama, you should not go see this film. What would Jesus think?”. McGregor was referring to the Henagar Drive-In theater in northern Alabama, which won’t be showing the movie for religious reasons. In a Facebook post, the operator wrote, “If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it.”. Colbert commented that he heard the movie was all very subtle (which it is), but McGregor wasn’t having it.

“He’s a gay character,” McGregor said with conviction, “It’s 2017 for f—‘s sake.”, It’s not just freed pointe shoe fitting an Alabama drive-in that’s pushing back against the new Disney movie, In Russia, the movie has received a restrictive rating that bars anyone below 16 years old from seeing it, And the release has been pushed back in Malaysia, The country’s film censorship board approved the release with “a minor cut involving a gay moment.” Shortly after that, the movie disappeared from local listings, with a Malaysian newspaper claiming Disney had chosen to postpone the opening..

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