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In March, Intel Corporation awarded a $100,000 scholarship to Utah high school science student Shannon Babb for her six-month-long study to identify water quality problems in the Spanish Fork River.
Yi Sun of San Jose, California, received second place honors (a $75,000 scholarship) for discovering new geometric properties of random walks, while Yuan Zhang of Rockville, Maryland, placed third (a $50,000 scholarship) with a study of the molecular genetic mechanisms behind heart disease. Rounding out the top ten were projects on the quantum tunneling effect, a computational study on new krypton- and argon-bonded molecules, and the effects of age on near-IR spectral features of brown dwarf stars, among others.
The remaining 30 finalists received $5000 scholarships and an Intel Centrino notebook computer. Some 1558 students from 486 high schools in 44 states entered the competition this year, from which 300 semifinalists were chosen. The top 40 finalists were judged according to research ability, scientific originality and creative thinking.
“The talent represented at Intel STS is a dramatic illustration that investing in science and math education will pay great dividends for the future of American innovation,” said Intel Chairman Craig Barrett–a long-time advocate–in a prepared statement at the black-tie awards gala in Washington, DC. “The seed of the next big scientific discovery could very well be planted in this room tonight.”
Sponsored by Intel since 1998, the STS is the country’s oldest and most prestigious high school science competition. Past winners have included six Nobel Laureates, three winners of the National Medal of Science, ten MacArthur Foundation Fellows, and two Fields Medalists.
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