Davidson Fellows - 2012 Fellow Alexander Chen


Alexander Chen

$10,000 Scholarship Recipient

Age: 16
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Category: Science
Project Title: “A Maximum Power Point Tracking Hardware with an Improved Hill Climbing Algorithm.”


Alexander’s project, “A Maximum Power Point Tracking Hardware with an Improved Hill Climbing Algorithm” employed a simple yet effective probabilistic approach to overcome deficiencies associated with previously reported maximum power point tracking algorithms for photovoltaic (PV) panels. Hardware included several home-built pieces such as a PV panel, boost DC-DC converter, and a home-build LED load circuit was assembled to validate the algorithm. Efficient and robust MPP tracking was achieved at all irradiation conditions. This project contributed to the ongoing effort to develop methods for harvesting clean and renewable solar energy. Alexander’s interest in this project was prompted by a lecture given by his science teacher in the eighth grade. “You can turn sunlight into electricity!” This is such a natural concept to him now, but he was amazed when he heard about it for the first time.

This project belongs to a field under active research, and involved complicated mathematics, engineering and physics concepts, as well as advanced computer knowledge. He encountered many obstacles throughout the entire project. Particular challenges included implementation of a multivariate nonlinear equation solver as part of a PV panel simulation program, and development of the improved hill climbing algorithm in a microcontroller.

Alexander is a rising senior at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, California. Alexander plans to pursue the MD and PhD degrees. He plans to work in a research institute and teach at a university. Alexander’s best interest now is to design interesting science experiments and teach youth hands-on science learning skills in his non-profit organization – Science Study Buddies. Due to the inspiration from his science research teacher, Alexander founded the Science Study Buddies program to enhance and enrich youth science learning skills and critical thinking processes through fun, hands-on science activities.

Alexander is a member of National English Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, National History Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta (National Mathematics Honor Society), National Latin Honor Society, Math Club, Institute of Electronics Engineers, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, California Student Federation, and NASA Inspire Online Program. Alexander volunteered in Uganda with a medical clinic team this summer.

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Click here to view the full listing of the 2012 Davidson Fellows. 
Click here to view Alexander's press release.

For all media inquiries, please contact DavidsonFellowsMedia@davidsongifted.org

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