(Nanowerk News) Honoring the next generation of American innovators, Intel Corporation today announced the winners of America’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition, the Intel Science Talent Search, a program of Society for Science & the Public. Eric Larson, 17, of Eugene, Ore., won the top award, a $100,000 scholarship from the Intel Foundation, for his research project classifying mathematical objects called fusion categories. Eric’s work describes these in certain dimensions for the first time.
Also achieving top honors in the competition:
Second Place: William Sun, 17, of Chesterfield, Mo., received a $75,000 scholarship for his biochemistry project that studied the effects of a recently discovered molecule that could potentially help efforts to treat bacterial infections or prevent neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Third Place: Philip Streich, 18, of Platteville, Wis., received a $50,000 scholarship for his chemistry project on carbon nanotubes that may lead to the development of ultra-strong materials and ultra-fast nano-electronics. Philip’s work has resulted in five provisional patent filings.
Fourth Place: Narendra Tallapragada, 17, of Burke, Va., received a $25,000 scholarship for his project to find ways to simplify complex models of atomic and molecular interactions. His goal is to one day create “mini-computers” that can be used, for instance, to create automatic insulin pumps inside diabetic patients or intelligent clothing that responds to temperature.
Fifth Place: Chelsea Jurman, 17, of Roslyn, N.Y., received a $25,000 scholarship for studying underage drinking behavior and how it is tied to teen perceptions of parental drinking and parenting behaviors.
Sixth Place: Noah Arbesfeld, 17, of Lexington, Mass., received a $25,000 scholarship for his work seeking to understand a fundamental structure underlying all of algebra, with potential impact for string theory.
Seventh Place: Alexander Kim, 17, of Fairfax, Va., received a $20,000 scholarship for researching the variation and diversification in populations of the Giant American River Prawn, the largest freshwater invertebrate in North America. His research furthers understanding of how species evolve and has implications for the future of ecosystems.
Eighth Place: Preya Shah, 17, of Setauket, N.Y., received a $20,000 scholarship for designing and synthesizing a tumor-targeting drug for cancer treatment that represents a new approach to delivery of chemotherapy agents and possibly treatment of multi-drug resistant cancer without causing significant side effects.
Ninth Place: Nilesh Tripuraneni, 18, of Fresno, Calif., received a $20,000 scholarship for formulating a set of hydrodynamic equations that may provide a potential method to better understand the first movements of the universe and could aid in the development of a quantum theory of gravity.
Tenth Place: Gabriela Farfan, 18, of Madison, Wis., received a $20,000 scholarship for her project investigating Oregon Sunstones, which contain one of the most common rock forming minerals in the world. She determined that these sunstones have unique micro-inclusions that allow them to look one color from one angle and another from a different angle.
The remaining 30 finalists received $5,000 scholarships and a new laptop powered by an Intel® Core™2 Duo processor.
This year’s Intel Science Talent Search finalists come from 17 states and represent 35 schools. Of the more than 1,600 high school seniors who entered the Intel Science Talent Search 2009, 300 were announced as semifinalists in January. Of those, 40 were chosen as finalists and invited to Washington, D.C., to compete for the top 10 awards.
“At a time when our country requires innovation to spur economic growth, it is inspiring to see such talented young people using critical thinking skills to find solutions to scientific challenges,” said Intel Chairman Craig Barrett. “These 40 scientists not only represent hope for America to remain competitive in the global economy, but also verify the power of investing in math and science.”
The Intel Science Talent Search encourages students to tackle challenging scientific questions and develop the skills necessary to solve the problems of tomorrow. Over the past 67 years, Science Talent Search finalists have gone on to win seven Nobel Prizes, a Fields Medal, the National Medal of Science and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.
Society for Science & the Public, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the public engagement in scientific research and education, has owned and administered the Science Talent Search since its inception in 1942.
Elizabeth Marincola, president of Society for Science & the Public said, “The road to mitigating the most challenging problems we face, not just as a country but as a world, is paved with science. Society for Science & the Public is proud to join with Intel in congratulating Eric and all of the Intel Science Talent Search 2009 finalists whose dedication to science and research will lead us down this road.”
Intel believes that students everywhere deserve to have the skills necessary to become the next generation of innovators. Intel’s commitment to education extends far beyond the Intel Science Talent Search. Over the past decade alone, the company has invested more than $1 billion, and its employees have donated more than 2.5 million hours toward improving education in 50 countries. The Intel Science Talent Search is jointly funded by Intel Corporation and Intel Foundation.