BC grad researches biofuels at summer institute in Israel

Jared Mayron joined others from across the globe to conduct experiment and learn from top scientific minds

Whether it's fuel for cars, home heating or electricity, scientists the world over are researching ways to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels by investigating alternative energy sources.

This summer, recent Bethlehem Central High School grad Jared Mayron had a chance to make his own contribution to this expanding body of work during a monthlong stay at a prestigious science program.

Mayron traveled to Israel for the month of July to attend the Dr. Bessie Lawrence International Summer Science Institute, an annual program run out of the Weizmann Institute of Science. It's a rather exclusive gig only 79 students altogether attended, just 19 of whom were from the United States.

That translated into a rigorous application process, which started with an essay and a telephone interview. The selection procedure is fairly rigorous, said Mayron, since the Weizmann Institute pays the cost of attendance for the students.

For Mayron, his experience last summer doing research with fungus at the state's Wadsworth Labs put him in the running for consideration. Once he arrived at the program, he was selected to continue along a similar line by working on a biofuel research project that aimed to identify the best species of algae from which to extract fuels.

While Mayron's group produced interesting results, their experiments didn't leave them with a clear-cut choice.

We can't exactly be sure which one was the best without more data," he said.

Other students spent their time working in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and computer science. Though they spoke the international language of science, they hailed from all corners of the globe.

"It was interesting meeting people from other cultures," Mayron said. "They all pretty much know about America, but we don't really know a lot about what they do."

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