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Don’t listen to advice, and other advice from Nobel laureates

Top scientists share stories with finalists at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

PITTSBURGH — Chemist Dudley Herschbach got the rock-star treatment Tuesday when he arrived at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. A bright-eyed teen competing in the fair stopped him in the hall to ask for an autograph. A group of giggling Canadians posed to have their picture taken with him. One fan gave him what appeared to be a Barbie doll.

When Herschbach and seven other Nobel laureates took the stage later in the day to talk to this year’s finalists, the cameras and iPhones came out. So did the questions from young science rookies looking to chart their own futures by poking into the pasts of the all-star veterans.

“How close is your Nobel Prize subject to what you were pursuing in high school?” asked Walter Czerwinski Burkard from Dewitt, N.Y. He learned that some of the grand scientists hadn’t started off as science fair champions.

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