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Baruch Students Shine at
2013 CUNY Nobel Science Challenge

AbdullahAyaz        NancyZhu

Abdullah Ayaz                                  Nancy Zhu

NEW YORK, NY - March 5, 2014 -
Baruch College students shined during the 2013 Nobel Science Challenge recently presented by the City University of New York (CUNY).

At a ceremony held in February, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research honored the winners of the 2013 CUNY Nobel Science Challenge. CUNY undergraduates in four essay categories: chemistry, economics, physics, and physiology/medicine, received awards. Essays addressed the science behind the Nobel prizes awarded in each category in 2013.

Baruch College-Macaulay Honors College students Abdullah Ayaz, a senior, won first place in the category of Economics; Nancy Zhu, a sophomore, won second place in the category Physics; and Yeon Joo Park, a freshman, won second place in the category of Chemistry.

Abdullah, who will be graduating in May with a BBA in Finance, wrote his winning essay on the 2013 Nobel winners Eugene F. Fama, Las Peter Hansen and Robert J. Shiller, who were awarded the Nobel Prize for their empirical analysis of asset prices.

Abdullah said he was very interested in writing about asset pricing models because, “It is critical to understand how assets such as stocks are valued and how different market fluctuations influence these assets,” he said. “It is these changes in value and how to most accurately value these assets is important to understand how the foundation of the financial world is developed.”

Through his research, Abdullah found the laureates’ reexamination of foundational formulas such as the CAPM to be most interesting.

“Fama’s introduction of new risk coefficients to better model assets prices challenged the basis of how we approach problems of finance,” he said. “The work of Schiller is the most profound challenge to these foundational formulas. His advocacy for behavioral finance introduced concepts such as behavioral economics, along with fields such as sociology and psychology, into the financial modeling field.”

Nancy’s essay (second place) focused on the 2013 Nobel winners Francois Englert and Peter W. Higgs, who were joined awarded the Nobel Prize for their theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hardon Collider.

Yeon Joo’s essay (second place) focused on the 2013 Nobel winners Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel, who were awarded by the Nobel Prize for the development of multiscale model for complex chemical systems.

For the CUNY Nobel Science Challenge, CUNY undergraduate students are invited to describe, in 1000-1500 words, the scientific concepts behind the work for which one of the 2013 Nobel winners received their respective prize and the present and future significance of the research to humanity. Essays for the CUNY Nobel Science Challenge were assessed by distinguished CUNY faculty representing each subject area. An external committee selected the grand prize winning essay from among the top essays in each category. Prizes included Apple iMac computers (first place), Apple iPads (second place), and Amazon Kindle devices (third place).




About Baruch College:
Baruch College is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) with a total enrollment of more than 17,000 students, who represent 160 countries and speak more than 100 languages. Ranked among the top 15% of U.S. colleges and the No. 5 public regional university, Baruch College is regularly recognized as among the most ethnically diverse colleges in the country. As a public institution with a tradition of academic excellence, Baruch College offers accessibility and opportunity for students from every corner of New York City and from around the world. For more about Baruch College, go to

Manny Romero, (646) 660-6141,
Mercedes Sanchez, (646) 660-6112,
Celene McDermott, (646) 660-6134,


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