News / Science & Technology

Intel Awards Top Prizes to Young Scientists

Intel Awards Top Prizes to Young Scientistsi
X
March 14, 2014 3:42 PM
The United States may not be at the top of the world’s rankings when it comes to test results for high school students, but that does not mean it lacks talent. VOA’s George Putic talked with three of the young scientists.
George Putic
The United States may not be at the top of the world’s rankings when it comes to test results for high school students, but that does not mean they are without talent.

That was evident this month when Washington hosted the finalists in an annual competition for young scientists, sponsored by a foundation set up by technology company Intel.

One year ago, 1,794 American high school students submitted research projects to the Intel Science Talent Search. The top 40 students came to Washington to compete for the top prize of $100,000.

Each of them presented a solution to a single difficult problem - from cancer and mathematics to ecology.

New ways to answer old questions

Kevin Lee, from Irvine, California, developed a mathematical model for correlating electrical signals from the heart with cardiac arrhythmia, which he hopes will contribute to better understanding of this sometimes fatal condition.

“If we can design a drug that’s better and that’s based on improved understanding on what’s going on in the heart,"  he explained, "then we can reduce side effects and make better drugs,” he said.

Kevin went on to win the second prize of $75,000.

17-year-old senior Angela Kong, from San Jose, California, looked at so-called cancer stem cells that successfully evade treatment. She said she wanted to discover the underlying mechanisms that cause them to go inactive. That understanding would allow scientists to better target them with current drugs. She added, "In terms of long-term implications, [we could] potentially target breast cancer better.”

Some competitors chose to focus on the social sciences.

Zarin Rahman, from Brookings, South Dakota, wanted to find a new way to quantify the effects of self-induced stressors. “I specifically looked at how teenagers use their cell phones and their computers and how that had a negative effect on their performance in school,” she said.

Zarin won 7th place in the competition and received $25,000.

The top prize went to Eric Chen, from San Diego, who received $100,000 for his research about a new class of drugs for better control of influenza during pandemics.

Launching pad for future scientists

The Science Talent Search began in 1942, as the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. It is the oldest and most prestigious high school science competition in the U.S. The Intel Foundation took over sponsorship in 1998, gradually increasing the awards fund. It reached $1.25 million this year.

The foundation's Executive Director, Wendy Hawkins, said it was a good investment. “We depend on the next generation of innovators, the people who will design new devices, the new techniques, the new scientific discoveries and we need to foster that kind of creativity and innovation,” said Hawkins. 

Indeed, she said, many finalists have gone on to win even bigger awards.

“Eight of them have become Nobel laureates, a number have become senior members of the National Institutes of Health, the national academies of science, we have MacArthur Genius awards and we even have one Academy Award winner for best actress,” she said with a laugh.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid