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Education Science

2004's Science Talent Search Winners Are In 128 128

Slate is running an article about this year's Science Talent Search (concentrating on things like whether the participants are "weirdos"); there are better descriptions of the top entrants' projects at this results page. Congratulations to the winners!
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2004's Science Talent Search Winners Are In

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  • Re:hmmm. (Score:2, Informative)

    by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @07:02PM (#8623357)
    if you read the results page, all of the first 3 winners' paragraphs mention one or two of their parents at the end.
  • by ericandrade (686380) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @07:13PM (#8623404)
    Top of the Top 40: Search tool for a cancer cure places first in national science competition [sciencenews.org] is a better, shorter, take on the same event. There are probably many others.

    Why the MSN article gets choosed for /., with it's lame analysis of subject titles and physical attributes of the contestants, is beyond me.

  • Re:hmmm. (Score:3, Informative)

    by bran6don (693931) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @07:31PM (#8623477)
    I'm glad you asked that question.
    I went to the same school as one of the winners (the one from Oregon), and I went through the same science program. It's a good one, focused on research. Some of the kids do get lots of help from their parents-they're usually easy to spot. What's even funnier is that many of the parents work for Intel, to begin with. (Intel has a semi-major campus in Hillsboro, just outside of Portland).
    Not all the projects are done by parents, though. There were many kids that did surprisingly good work for high school;)
  • Re:hmmm. (Score:5, Informative)

    by umofomia (639418) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @07:38PM (#8623507) Journal
    I was a STS finalist back in 98 (back when it was still Westinghouse and not Intel) and can say with confidence that anyone who gets to that stage did not get help from their parents. The application and judging process is extremely rigorous.

    Once you're a finalist, in order to determine whether you should be in the top 10, they take you through a somewhat intimidating interview process, where you sit speak in front of 3 other scientists at a time (I don't remember anymore, but I think I had 3 or 4 of these types of interviews)... and they don't even ask you about your project. They basically grill you on basic science concepts to see if you know what you are talking about.

    BTW, to explain the high New York finalist ratio, this is due to the fact that a lot of New York high schools have 2-3 year programs especially designed to get students to do this competition. They never directly help your with your particular research project, but they do encourage you to go out to local universities and talk to professors in fields that you are interested in. They also help you enter other smaller science competitions in order for you to get more experience. If it hadn't been for one of these programs in my high school, I don't think I would have had the motivation/courage to do this on my own.

    Many of the finalists do come from magnet schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science, but plenty of NY public schools have this program too. It's basically a way for them to get prestige. I don't know why other states don't do the same, though I guess money is always an issue.

  • by umofomia (639418) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @07:54PM (#8623563) Journal
    I did not have parents who were PhDs or had a rigorous science background, but I was still named a STS finalist the year that I did it.

    However, what did make the difference was a program in my high school specifically designed to encourage students to enter these types of competitions. Over three years, the program cultivated my interests and helped me get the courage to go to a local university and seek a professor to help me on my project. I don't know if I would have known to do that otherwise.

    The application process is fairly rigorous too... they try to make sure you didn't get help in your project from your parents and that the work was done mostly independently with one or two adult mentors. I talk more about it in my other comment here [slashdot.org].

  • by Bender_ (179208) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @09:08PM (#8623996) Journal

    Here in germany, we have "Jugend Forscht" which seems to be remotely similar to the STS


    Actually I believe that Jugend Forscht (JF) is a bit more sane than the STS. First of all, most projects in JF are team efforts, while the STS seems to be for single participants only. Also the topics in JF are more down to earth, people are rather doing stuff like interesting presentations of known effects and demonstrate good methodology. It is not about finding (hype breakthrough) in (hype science).

    After all science is about team work and methodology and not about presentation. I think the STS concentrates too much on the later..

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