A 31-centimeter rubber band proved to be the most powerful element of the 33rd Annual District of Columbia Science Fair Sunday at H.D. Woodson Senior High School.

Carl Victor Allen's project, "The Power of the Rubber Band," brought him top honors, as he walked off with 10 awards, including one of the two D.C. Science Fair Grand Awards and a Thomas Alva Edison Foundation Centennial of Light Award, which carries with it a $1,000 scholarship.

As one of the two grand award winners, Allen, a senior at Ballou High School, will go on to compete next month in the 30th International Science and Engineering Fair in San Antonio, Tex.

Allen's experiment was performed to determine the amount of energy released from a rubber band as it unwound and how that energy was affected by the number of times the rubber band was wound before being released.

He found that the amount of energy produced increased as the number of initial twists he gave the rubber band increased. The rate at which the rubber band unwound, however, remained the same, regardless of the number of turns the rubber band had been given.

The project won top honors for Allen because "he was able to show the initiative to do something beyond the textbook, regardless of whether it has any practical application," said Mary Harbeck, D.C. Public School curriculum coordinator for science.

He was able to "plow new ground for himself" in his investigation of potential energy, a basic area of physics, she said.

Grover Sherlin, one of the judges and a member of the Joint Board on Science and Engineering Education, agreed with Harbeck. He said the project showed that Allen had a firm grasp on scientific procedure and investigation.

The judges "weren't seeking the unusual, they were seeking evidence that the youngster, through his science fair project, had a valuable learning experience," Sherlin said.

Allen, who will attend Georgetown University next year as a pre-medical major, said he was "surprised, shocked, gratified-you know, all those good words," at having taken the largest number of awards, including the two biggest ones.

The other grand award went to Stefan Prosky, a junior at Gonzaga High School.

Prosky won for "Screening Houseplants for Antimicrobial Activity," a project in which he tried to determine whether various compounds found in Swedish ivy, euphorbia (a species of cactus) and rubber plants had the capability of killing 20 selected strains of bacteria, including human, fish and plant pathogens.

Of the three types of plants studies, Prosky found that "Swedish ivy was most active" in inhibiting the growth of bacteria. He said a number of proteins and a red pigment found in the ivy were the most effective antibiotic compounds of those he studied.

Prosky, who said he spent about 800 hours on his project, seemed pleased with himself, though he said he "didn't expect (to win), to say the least. The project is not as clean as I want it to be."

Angela Feeling, a senior at Woodson, was the alternate grand award winner. If either Prosky or Allen is unable to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), Feeling will go instead.

Feeling was also the second recipient of a Thomas Alva Edison Foundation Centennial of Light Award. In addition to the $1,000 scholarships, Allen and Feeling, won trips to Cleveland, Ohio, next month to attend a two-day science seminar at General Electric.

Feeling's project, "The Influence of Streptolysin O on Herpes Simplex Virus Multiplication" proved the opposite of what she had hoped it would. Rather than inhibiting the herpes virus, the streptolysin (an extract of the streptococcus bacteria) increased the virus' growth.

Streptolysin was chosen, Feeling said, because "it affects the cytoplasmic membrane of cells," as does the herpes virus. Her theory was that "if the streptolysin affects the cytoplasmic membrane of the cells, the herpes wouldn't be able to."

The experiment was performed on cancer cells from the human larynx, under the direction of Dr. Phillip Roan, a professor at the Howard University Medical Center.

Feeling, who plans to be a pre-medical biology major at the University of Pennsylvania next year, said she "was shocked" when she heard her name announced as the grand award alternate and a winner of the Centennial of Light Award.

And then there was Melvin Clay Jr.

The sixth time Clay crossed the stage to shake the hands of School Superintendent Vincent Reed, school board president Minnie Woodson and science fair director Annie Anguah-Dei, he was grinning from ear to ear.

His project, "Analysis of the Potomac River," brought him eight awards, including first place in the high school Earth and Space Sciences category and special awards from the Eastman Kodak Company, the American Nuclear Society and the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center.

Clay attempted "to find out the concentration of pollution in the Potomac." He performed about a dozen tests at 13 locations on the river ranging from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to Chain Bridge.

"I found that the Potomac is not as polluted as most people think. In some sections, it's actually clean," said Clay, a senior at Woodson.

Clay, who will attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., next year, said that although he walked off with many awards, he was disappointed that he had not won the grand prize.

"I really thought I had won the grand prize," Clay said.

"I really enjoyed going up there (to the stage), but if I had the chance to trade them all for the grand award, I would," he wistfully said.

In all, 186 awards were presented to students at the ceremony. Ninety-two ISEF awards, in 11 categories, were presented to public, private and parochial students at the elementary and secondary levels. An additional 94 special awards were provided by 30 organizations, representing both the governmental and private sectors.

All of the awards presented last weekend went to students, with one exception. Loretta Wright, a teacher at Ballou, was selected as the D.C. Biology Teacher of the Year by the National Association of Biology Teachers.She is to receive a Bausch and Lomb microscope as her prize.

Following are the recipients of the ISEF awards. Honorable mentions are signified by HM.

Elementary Level

1st place, Vanessa Thompson and Anthony Pender (Charles Young); 2nd place, Jenny Dungan (Ben Murch); 3rd place, Michele Coghill (Walker Jones); HM, Edwina Ruffin and Eric Johnson (Charles Young).

Junior High School Level

Behavioral and Social Sciences: 1st place, Maura Kilcullen (Blessed Sacrament); 2nd place, Sharon Chatman (Rabaul); HM, Caroline Doong (Rabaul), Kevin Ebel and Michael Gual (Blessed Sacrament).

Botany: HM, Kresel Moss and Taura Smith (Browne), Tina Benoit (Taft), Renette Dallas (Ballou), Anthony Snider (Gonzaga).

Chemistry: 1st place, Lisa Kaye Johnson (Rabaul); 2nd place, Augustus B. Bosley (Ballou); 3rd place, Cynthia McNair (Taft); HM, Michele E. Jones (Taft), Michael G. Eaton (John Eaton).

Earth and Space Sciences: 1st place, Claudia Blutstein (Blessed Sacrament) and John Paul Blutstein (Our Lady of Victory); 2nd place, Quentin Smith (Rabaul); 3rd place, Felecia Stovall (Rabaul); HM, Bonita Lewis and Anthony Lewis (Ballou).

Engineering: 1st place, Michael Culbertson (Lincoln); 2nd place, Elaine N. Hymes (Rabaul); 3rd place, Stanley Pankey (Lincoln); HM, Erik Henderson (Browne), Dorothy Price (Jefferson).

Medicine and Health: 1st place, Maureen O'Leary (Blessed Sacrament), Tony Neuman (John Eaton); 2nd place, Latonia Lewis (Taft); 3rd place, Darrell Cook and Gregory Cook (Rabaul); HM, Kimberly Patterson (Rabaul).

Microbiology: 1st place, Randolph Ivey (Ballou); 2nd place, Sherron Benn (Ballou).

Physics: 1st place, Anthony Pang (Shaw); 2nd place, Dolly Belifore (Blessed Sacrament); 3rd place, Jessica Shinn and Monica Cousins (John Eaton); HM, Alan Brokenborough (Taft), Cecilia Marolise Goodwin (Anacostia).

Zoology: 1st place, Jeffrey Muench (Gonzaga); 2nd place, Renet Dallas (Ballou); 3rd place, Carla Garnette (Rabaul); HM, Jennine Greene (Kelly Miller).

Senior High School Level

Behavioral and Social Sciences: 1st place, Ricardo Handy (Woodson); 3rd place, Ray Lynch (Ballou), Sheila E. Hamilton (Ballou).

Biochemistry: 1st place, Stefan Prosky (Gonzaga); 2(d place, Wanda Watts (Woodson); 3rd place, Felicia Moore (Woodson); HM, Christopher Simmons (Roosevelt).

Botany: 1st place, William Martin (Gonzaga); 2nd place, David Benjamin Winters (Gonzaga); 3rd place, Robert Bumbary (Gonzaga); HM, Patrick McGroarty (Gonzaga), Alice Swinton (Ballou).

Chemistry: 1st place, Michael A. Jasper (Ballou); 2nd place, Michele Johnson (Ballou); 3rd place, Gerald Ball (Dunbar); HM, Michael Bell (Gonzaga).

Earth and Space Sciences: 1st place, Melvin Clay Jr. (Woodson); 2nd place, Carlson Klapther (Gonzaga); 3rd place, Bridgette Payne (Ballou); HM, Jacquelyn Smith (Ballou), Walter Hope (Ballou).

Engineering: 1st place, Carl Allen (Ballou); 2nd place, Wade N. Franks (Gonzaga); 3rd place, Allen Craig (Phelps); HM, Dudley Wise (Ballou).

Mathematics and Computers: 1st place, Chris Maloney (Gonzaga), Michael Kinlor (Ballou), Pamela Davis (Ballou); 2nd place, Vincent Carter (Ballou); 3rd place, Vanessa Hoffman (Ballou).

Medicine and Health: 1st place, Adrienne Milbourne (Ballou); 2nd place, Martin Oliverio (Gonzaga); 3rd place, Cynthia Crawford (Ballou).

Microbiology: 1st place, Angela Feeling (Woodson); 2nd place, Michael Duhaney (Gonzaga); HM, Michael Cattatesta (Gonzaga).

Physics: 1st place, Angela L. Duke (Dunbar); 2nd place, Frank L. Brevard (Ballou); HM, Philip Lacovara (Gonzaga).

Zoology: 1st place, Rhonda Scott (Woodson); 2nd place, Edward Renauer (Gonzaga), Jessica Test (Wilson).

Following are the recipients of the special awards:

American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers: 1st place, Claudia Blutstein (Blessed Sacrament) and John Blutstein (Our Lady of Victory); 2nd place, Melvin Clay Jr. (Woodson).

American Meteorological Society: Jacquelyn Smith (Ballou), Robert C. Bumbary Jr. (Gonzaga).

American Nuclear Society: 1st place, Melvin Clay Jr. (Woodson); certificates, Carl V. Allen (Ballou), John P. Jones (Ballou), Anthony Pang (Shaw), Felecia Stovall (Rabaul).

American Society for Microbiology: 1st place, Michael Duhaney (Gonzaga); 2nd place, Angela Feeling (Woodson), Shawn Wiggins (Ballou).

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association: Frank Brevard (Ballou), Wade H. Franks (Gonzaga).

Association of Scientists and Engineers-Naval Sea Systems Command, National Center: Frank Lynn Brevard (Ballou), John P. Jone Jr. (Ballou).

Auxillary of D.C. Veterinary Medical Association: Edward Renauer Jr. (Gonzaga).

Eastman Kodak Company: Melvin Clay Jr. (Woodson).

General Services Administration: Philip Lacovara (Gonzaga), Vincent D. Carter (Ballou).

Institute of Food Technologists: Michele Johnson (Ballou), Michele E. Jones (Taft), Cynthia McNair (Taft), William Martin (Gonzaga), Tony Neuman (John Eaton), Maureen O'Leary (Blessed Sacrament), Cynthia Richardson (Ballou), Rhonda Scott (Woodson), Karen Witcher (Ballou).

Junior Engineering and Technical Society (JETS): Carl V. Allen (Ballou), Wade H. Franks (Gonzaga).

Marine Technology Society: Carlson B. Klapthor (Gonzaa), Bridgette Payne (Ballou).

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Club of Washington: Randolph Ivey (Ballou), Jeff Muench (Gonzaga), Ray Anthony Lynch "Ballou), Jessica Test (Wilson).

National Capitol Section, Optical Society of America: Philip Lacovara (Gonzaga).

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Environmental Satellite Service: Melvin Clay Jr. (Woodson), Carl Allen (Ballou), Pamela Davis (Ballou), Chris Maloney (Gonzaga), Michael Kinlor (Ballou), Angel L. Duke (Dunbar).

NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center: Melvin Clay Jr. (Woodson), Angel L. Duke (Dunbar), John P. Jones Jr. (Ballou).

NASA-National Space Club: Melvin Clay Jr. (Woodson), John P. Jones Jr. (Ballou).

Naval Research Laboratory-Community Services Council: Randolph Ivey (Ballou), Frank Brevard (Ballou).

Organization of Professional Employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture: Cecilia Marolise Goodwin (Anacostia), William F. Martin (Gonzaga), Jeffrey P. Muench (Gonzaga), Jacquelyn Y. Smith (Ballou), David Winter (Gonzaga).

Professional Association of Naval Electronic and Electrical Engineers in Science: 1st place, Angel L. Duke (Dunbar); HM, Carl V. Allen (Ballou), Vincent Carter (Ballou), Allen W. Craig Jr. (Phelps), Denise Hornod, Anthony Pang (Shaw), Philip Lacovara (Gonzaga).

Society for Applied Spectroscopy: Brendan Bowie (Gonzaga).

U.S. Air Force-AFROT, Det. 130/cc, Howard University, Department of Aerospace Studies: Ray Anthony Lynch (Ballou), Wanda Watts (Woodson), William Martin (Gonzaga), Michael Jasper (Ballou), Adrienne Milbourne (Ballou), Angela Feeling (Woodson), Brian Roberts (Ballou).

U.S. Department of the Army: medals, Carl V. Allen (Ballou), Edward Renauer Jr. (Gonzaga), Vincent Carter (Ballou); certificates, Frank Brevard (Ballou), Allen W. Craig Jr. (Phelps), Michael Duhaney (Gonzaga), Leslye Graves (Woodson), Jacquelyn Smith (Ballou), Paul White (Woodson), Claudia Blutstein (Blessed Sacrament), John Blutstein (Our Lady of Victory), Lori M. Newton (Shaw), Angela D. Goodwin and Gregory P. Goodwin (Shepherd).

U.S. Department of Energy: Michael A. Jasper (Ballou).

U.S. Department of the Navy: 1st place, Stefan Prosky (Gonzaga); 2nd place, Adrienne Milbourne (Ballou).

U.S. Department of the Interior-National Park Service: Carlson B. Klapthor (Gonzaga).

Washington Academy of Sciences-Bernice G. Lamberton Science Fair Award: Stefan Prosky (Gonzaga).

Washington Junior Academy of Sciences: a citation pin was presented to each of the first place winners in the ISEF categories.

Weight Watchers: Tony Neuman (John Eaton). CAPTION: Picture 1, Stephan Prosky won a science award for a plant study.; Picture 2, Carl Victor Allen's project won 10 science awards. Photos by Joel Richardson-The Washington Post