Twenty young women and 20 young men last week aced an early challenge in their scientific careers. They entered the high school science play-offs—the finals of the annual Intel Science Talent Search.
This year marks the first time in the competition's 66-year history that female finalists have achieved numerical parity with male ones. Young women accounted for nearly 52 percent of this year's 1,705 entrants, each of whom submitted a research project in science, math, or engineering.
Judges selected finalists on the basis of their promise as future researchers and on their projects' originality and scientific merit. In March, the finalists will assemble in Washington, D.C., to compete for top honors and more than half a million dollars in scholarship prizes.
"This competition inspires talented high school students to pursue serious research and submits their work to review that is as rigorous as any they will face as professional scientists," says Elizabeth M