Washington, D.C., got a little smarter this week. Forty young scientists from across the country converged on the capital to compete in the final round of the annual Intel Science Talent Search. The competition, administered by Intel and Science News publisher Society for Science & the Public, has been around since 1942, making it the nation’s longest-running precollege science contest. Alumni of the competition have gone on to win prestigious science awards including Nobel Prizes, National Medals of Science and Fields Medals.
In total, the winners of the 2010 competition will receive $630,000 in scholarships from the Intel Foundation. The top prize is $100,000, second prize is $75,000 and third prize is $50,000. Last year, Eric Larson of Eugene, Ore., won the top prize for his work describing mathematical objects called fusion categories in certain dimensions for the first time.
This year’s finalists have spent the past few days touring Washington and meeting with leading scientists and national policy makers. On March 14, the finalists will present their original research, spanning topics from chemotherapy drug resistance to spacecraft navigation systems, to the public at the National Academy of Sciences. The winners will be announced at a black-tie gala on Tuesday, March 16.