They are conducting cutting-edge research on cancer, space exploration, and a host of other scientific areas. Some are seeking patents for their work.

Most say they will pursue futures in those endeavors - just as soon as they graduate from high school.

A bunch of the brightest students from around the region - 15 in all - saw their work honored yesterday at an awards brunch at the University of the Sciences.

They were the winners of this year's Delaware Valley Science Fair, in which nearly 1,000 students in grades six through 12 competed for more than $1 million in scholarships and awards, and a chance to go to Reno, Nev., to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair from May 10 through 16.

Joseph Bussenger, 17, a senior at Pennridge High School in Perkasie, developed a system of using powerful electromagnetic forces to reduce shock vibrations from motors on rockets or space shuttles.

"This project took me about total 580 hours. It all rounds out to be almost three hours a day, every day for two years," said Bussenger, who won a silver medal in his class division.

He said he developed his project using the same motor properties as the space shuttle and was inspired by the Columbia disaster, in which a shuttle broke apart during re-entry in 2003.

Bussenger, who plans to seek a patent for his work, said he consulted with professionals at Northrop Gruman Corp., which specializes in aerospace and defense system.

He said he went to Utah two years ago to see a missile motor test the company conducted and was inspired to focus on space exploration.

Bussenger, who plans to attend Florida Institute of Technology in the fall to study aerospace technology, said he was surprised to be among the winners.

"I was floored," he said. "I honestly can't wait to go out there to see other projects, and introduce this idea to a number of international judges and talk to them and see what their insights are."

The Delaware Valley Science Fairs are sponsored by Drexel University, the University of the Sciences, and local corporations.

Janet and Benjamin Song, a brother and sister from Audubon, Montgomery County, who attend Methacton High School, won for their work on cancer research, and said the trip to Reno will be an opportunity to see the work of other budding scientists. Janet Song, 17, is a senior, and Benjamin, 15, is a sophomore.

"It will be exciting to meet people from around the world," said Janet Song, who will attend Harvard University in the fall. They won a gold medal in team competition.

The siblings, whose father is an oncologist in Pottstown, developed a urine test for the early detection of various types of cancer and have a patent pending on their research.

"Hopefully, we can win something in the science fair in Reno," said Benjamin Song. "That would be nice."

The other winners were:

Kenneth Au, 14, of Downingtown, an eighth grader at Downingtown Middle School, gold medal.

Moyukh Chatterjee, 16, of Manalapan, N.J., a junior at Technology High School, silver medal.

Ariel Evans, 17, of Georgetown, Del., a junior at Sussex Central High School, gold medal.

Bernadette Hritzo, 15, of Holland, a sophomore at Villa Joseph Marie High School, silver medal.

Jack Huang, 14, of Allentown, a freshman at Parkland High School, bronze medal.

Raina Jain, 14, of Bethlehem, Pa., a sophomore at Freedom High School, bronze medal.

Nicole Melso, 16, of Springfield, Delaware County, a sophomore at Springfield High, gold medal.

Rachel Newmiller, 18, of Dresher, a senior at Upper Dublin High School, gold medal.

Andy Romine, 15, of Kennett Square, a freshman at Unionville High School, gold medal.

Jeffrey Simmons, 18, of Philadelphia, a senior at Central High School, bronze medal.

Karthik Siva, 15, of Newark, Del., a freshman at Charter School of Wilmington, silver medal.

Robyn Smith, 17, of Lansdale, a junior at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, bronze medal.

Contact staff writer Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or vclark@phillynews.com.