Thursday, January 16th 2003, 7:48AM

Young science scholars at Stuyvesant High School took home more semifinalist awards from the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search than any other school in the country, officials said yesterday.

Of the 300 top high school science researchers in the country this year, 19 came from Stuyvesant. Overall, 56 New York City students were named semifinalists.

"I didn't think I would win, but it feels great," said Jonathan Schwartz, 17, of Manhattan, after a reception at Stuyvesant honoring the school's winners.

Schwartz won for his project, "Design and Construction of an Infrared Radiator, Which Couples Heat to Outer Space," which he completed with the help of Prof. Klaus Lackner of Columbia University.

The semifinalists were selected from 1,581 applicants nationwide. Students were judged on their individual research ability, scientific originality and creative thinking. Projects covered chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, social science and biology.

Later this month, the field of 300 semifinalists will be trimmed to 40, and that group will compete in Washington for the contest's top prizes.

"I certainly understand the work that goes into this," Stuyvesant Principal Stanley Teitel told the winners. "You deserve this."

For years, Stuyvesant has been a top contender in the highly publicized awards, wrestling with such other strong programs as those at Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech and Midwood High School at Brooklyn College.

The top prizes, often considered the "junior Nobel Prizes," have gone to young researchers who have subsequently won many of the world's top prizes for scientists.

As the semifinalists were announced inside the Stuyvesant auditorium, many students asked an Intel spokesman how many awards rival Bronx Science High School got this year. The answer was 10.

The closest any school in America came to matching Stuyvesant was Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., which claimed a dozen semifinalists.

Each of the students named yesterday will receive $1,000 in recognition for his or her scientific achievements. Their schools will receive an additional $1,000 for each semifinalist.


. Stuyvesant High School: Varun Narendra, Jacob Till, Aleksander Chechkin, Andrew Laitman, John Lee, Joel Lewis, Alexander Ellis, Kevin Lai, Michael Shaw, John Hui, Alice Chen, Samuel Cross, Arcady Goldmints-Orlov, Jonathan Schwartz, Pei Wang, Samba Silla, Kevin Kuo, Alex Levin, Betty Luan.

. Bronx High School of Science: Debra Liu, Dmitry Kashlev, Omar Montan, Emmanuel Sin, Yi-Chen Zhang, Leon Abbo, Ying Yi Dang, Min Wah Leung, Mita Singh, Jay Ramesh.

. Edward R. Murrow HS: Svetlana Alkayeva, Kevin Shenderov.

. Midwood HS: Rachel Fischer, Joshua Marshack, Sacha Rood, Leigh Stuckhardt.

. Brooklyn Tech: Anna Gecker, Amiya Vaz, Ilya Vinogradov, Jessie Pinchoff, Linda Santoro.

. St. Francis Prep: Erwin Wang, Monika Laszkowska, Christina Morgan.

. Francis Lewis HS: Alice Shen, Sun Ling Yang.

. Townsend Harris HS: Jonathan Kamler, Jessica Hetherington, Bharati Kalasapudi.

. Hunter College HS: Emily Yau, Jason Chen.

. Other area semifinalists: David Hersh, Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman HS; Damien Soghoian, Columbia Grammar and Prep School; Jared Friedman, Horace Mann; Jennifer Choy, Benjamin N. Cardozo HS; Qichao Hu, Newtown HS; Hialy Gutierrez, Staten Island Tech.

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