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CEE Grad Student Martin Page Chosen as Lemelson-Illinois Prize Finalist

1/22/2009 7:25:00 AM

CEE graduate student Martin Page of the Environmental Engineering and Science area was one of eight finalists for the prestigious $30,000 Lemelson-Illinois Student Prize. The Lemelson-Illinois Student Prize is an extension of the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, which has recognized outstanding student inventors at MIT since 1995.

A panel of scientists, technologists, engineers, and entrepreneurs interviewed all finalists before choosing the winner in mid-February. The winner  was John Wright, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, whose innovations in face-recognition technology have brought its implementation in the real world closer to reality.  Wright and the other finalists were recognized March 4 at a ceremony in the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Page was recognized for taking the initiative to develop water treatment systems for people in developing regions who do not have access to safe drinking water. His main contribution, SoChlor, combines solar and monochloramine disinfection, which makes possible the rapid inactivation of viruses in waters containing ammonia, making SoChlor an excellent option for improving drinking water quality in developing regions.

The other finalists represented a variety of areas of expertise. In addition to Page, they were Ben Blaiszik, Mechanical Science & Engineering; Jang-Ung Park, Materials Science and Engineering; Robert Shepherd, Materials Science & Engineering; Adam Steele, Aerospace Engineering; Han Wui Then, Electrical & Computer Engineering; Murali Venkatesan, Electrical & Computer Engineering; and John Wright, Electrical & Computer Engineering.

The Lemelson-MIT Program recognizes outstanding inventors, encourages sustainable new solutions to real-world problems, and enables and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.  It accomplishes this mission through outreach activities and annual awards and grants, including the prestigious $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize and Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams, a non-competitive, team-based invention experience for high school students.  Jerome H. Lemelson, one of the world's most prolific inventors, and his wife, Dorothy, founded the non-profit Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994.  More information is available online at and

Photo: Martin Page, center, poses with Dean Ilesanmi Adesida of the College of Engineering, left, and Professor Benito Mariñas, Page's adviser.