Intel Science Talent Search names top 40 finalists

Competition drew more than 1,800 entries from across the country

Forty science-minded teens have made it to the final round of the nation’s longest-running precollege science competition. As finalists in this year’s Intel Science Talent Search, a program of Society for Science & the Public, the students are now vying for $630,000 in awards, including a top award of $100,000 from the Intel Foundation.

In March, the young researchers will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with respected scientists and present their research projects to the public and a group of judges. One finalist developed a needle-free diabetes monitoring system. Others created flame retardants made of biodegradable plastic, studied how children with Down syndrome perceive themselves and worked on new ways to protect satellite communications.

“Tackling real-world challenges from cancer to Internet security to alternative energy solutions, this year’s finalists are a true inspiration,” says Elizabeth Marincola, publisher of Science News and president of Society for Science & the Public. “We join with Intel in congratulating them on this tremendous honor and commend the mentors, teachers, schools, parents and communities that have contributed to their success.”

Each project was chosen from a pool of 1,839 entries submitted from across the country. The 2012 top winner will be announced March 13 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Last year, Evan O’Dorney, 17, of Danville, Calif., took first place for comparing two mathematical approaches to estimating the square root of an integer.

Many previous competitors have gone on to illustrious careers in science. Seven Science Talent Search finalists have won Nobel Prizes, and four have received the National Medal of Science. The competition, which started in 1942, was originally sponsored by the Westinghouse Foundation. Seventy years later, the competition’s goal of supporting students with a talent for science, engineering and math hasn’t changed.

“We must encourage science innovation by our youth to help their generation solve problems of today and tomorrow,” Marincola says.

2012 Intel STS Finalists (listed by state, name, city and high school)

CALIFORNIA – Jiacheng Li, Arcadia, Arcadia High School; Sayoni Saha, Cerritos, Gretchen Whitney High School; Clara Fannjiang, Davis, Davis Senior High School; Jack Li, El Segundo, El Segundo High School; Leon Yao, Fullerton, Troy High School; Meredith Lehmann, La Jolla, La Jolla High School; Jin Pan, Palo Alto, Henry M. Gunn High School; Saurabh Sharan, San José, Bellarmine College Preparatory School; Alissa Zhang, Saratoga, Saratoga High School

CONNECTICUT – Zizi Yu, Woodbridge, Amity Regional High School

FLORIDA – Neel Patel, Oviedo, Oviedo High School

GEORGIA – Sitan Chen, Duluth, Northview High School

ILLINOIS – Adam Kalinich, Aurora, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy; Jordan Cotler, Northbrook, Glenbrook North High School

INDIANA – Eric Fein, South Bend, John Adams High School; Anirudh Prabhu, West Lafayette, West Lafayette Junior-Senior High School

MASSACHUSETTS –  Xiaoyu He, Acton, Acton-Boxborough Regional High School; Fengning Ding, Andover, Phillips Academy

MARYLAND – Frederic Koehler, Silver Spring, Montgomery Blair High School

MICHIGAN – Siddhartha Jena, Bloomfield Hills, International Academy; Philip He, Okemos, Okemos High School; Nithin Tumma, Port Huron, Port Huron Northern High School

MINNESOTA – Evan Chen, Plymouth, Wayzata High School

NEW JERSEY – EunBe Kim, Hackensack, Academy for Medical Science Technology

NEW YORK – Danielle Goldman, Bronx, Bronx High School of Science; Savina Kim, Commack, Commack High School; Anna Sato, East Setauket, Ward Melville High School; Juliana Coraor, Huntington, Huntington High School; Neil Mehta, Jericho, Jericho Senior High School; Angela Wang, Latham, Shaker High School; Huihui Fan, New York, Stuyvesant High School; Mimi Yen, New York, Stuyvesant High School; Rachel Davis, St. James, Smithtown High School East; Benjamin Van Doren, White Plains, White Plains High School

PENNSYLVANIA – Marian Bechtel, Landisville, Hempfield High School

TEXAS – Kurtis Carsch, Denton, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science; Amy Chyao, Plano, Plano East Senior High School; Oliver Quintero, The Woodlands, The John Cooper School

VIRGINIA – Ari Dyckovsky, Sterling, Loudoun County Academy of Science

WASHINGTON – Andrey Sushko, Richland, Hanford High School

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