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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs