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Education Science

2004's Science Talent Search Winners Are In 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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 20, 2004 @06:52PM (#8623303)
    I won my senior year in high school and now all I do is post on /.

    • by Walt Dismal ( 534799 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @07:44PM (#8623527)
      I feel for you, brother! When I was in kindergarden, I invented and patented the magneto-ionic shaving rotisserie. Not only do you get closer shaves, your chicken is moist and tender. But that's not all. In grade school I experimented with human pheromone technology, but I had to move on to other research after my English teacher got pregnant. In high school, I invented a graphic user interface and windowing system for PCs, though my research notes mysteriously disappeared. My good pal Bill Gates helped me search for them but then had to go off to college at Harvard. Out of high school, I decided to take a year off before moving on to university. In my first job, at Tasty Freeze, I invented the banana split. I am now fabulously wealthy and do not need Science Talent Searches. But I have advice for all you youngers and future winners reading Slashdot. And that advice is: Get a Life.
  • hmmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LBArrettAnderson ( 655246 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @06:53PM (#8623305)
    I wonder how many of them had help from their parents...
    • So?

      Most of the kids are smarter than their parents and know more about the subject.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I remember a PBS (Nova?) article about the
      old Westinghouse science competition years
      ago. The one thing that connected all the kids
      was their PhD parents. Usually two.

      Breeding will out.

      -- ac at home (not my real name)

    • Re:hmmm. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cklin ( 175912 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @07:07PM (#8623380)
      I was a finalist in the Westinghouse STS in 1995. The only help I got from my parents was their encouragement because they sure as hell didn't understand the work I was doing.

      Some people have an advantage due to their parents, but some do it on their own. It'd be kinder to give them the benefit of the doubt.
      • Re:hmmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by saden1 ( 581102 )
        I think it is the environment they are in more so than their parents directly helping them with the projects. One advantage all these kids seem to have is they have smart, loving, and nurturing parents (not that I said parents and not parent). I think we should all strive to provide that type of environment for our kids.
        • Re:hmmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

          (not that I said parents and not parent)

          Just couldn't let this one slide. I made it to the honors group in Westinghouse '83. Sure, I wasn't one of the final 40, but at least I made it to the previous level. I also was being raised by a single mother who didn't even have a high-school diploma, but understood that I needed education and pushed me when I needed it.

          While I agree that all other things being equal, a child is better off with two loving parents than just one, your statement does a disservice

          • My intention was not to demean or disparage those with a single parent. God know, I know a quite a lot of smart people who were raised by their mother. In fact, one of my role model when I was growing up was raised by his mother alone. What I meant was exactly what you said, "a child is better off with two loving parents than just one."
            Hell, one of the worlds most famous brain surgeon <a href=" t ml">Benjamin Carson</a>
      • Re:hmmm. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dfung ( 68701 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @08:15PM (#8623663)
        I volunteered as a judge a couple of years ago when the Intel STS had their finals in San Jose. As you interview all the candidates, you can definitely see that some of the students are coached in the area of expertise of a parent, some are directed by university staff that they study under, and some of these guys are just so smart that it's absolutely scary.

        In that first category, there was an interesting coincidence that I knew and had indirectly worked with the father of one of the students. His project was related to image compression technology which is what his father did. He was conversant in the area, but you really got the feeling that his research had been very closely directed by his father.

        You don't see the second type so much in computer science, but in areas like biology, you find that many of the students are working in college labs assisting researchers. This is about the only way that a high school student can study things like protein synthesis or recombinant DNA techniques - no high school would have the equipment or expertise. I guess nobody told them that they were too young to be working on their Ph.D, and that's good.

        One of the outstanding projects in our year was a kid whose project had to do with modelling the chemical processes that are involved in doping semiconductors in fab. One of the other judges who had specific experience in this area was blown away by his work, and it was clear to everybody that interviewed him that he loved the topic, loved researching it, loved constructing the experiment, and clearly had gotten no help from anyone. He got high marks from all the judges (must have been about 80 judges in Computer Science alone, all professionals or college-level professors, no high-school teachers), but ultimately didn't advance because it was clear that his project was miscatagorized into computer science because it was a simulation when it probably should have been in Chemical Engineering or some sort of Materials Science.

        If you ever get a chance to participate as a judge, or better yet as a mentor/sponsor, do it!

        Also, just a note - this contest is sponsored by Intel now, but is the same contest that Westinghouse sponsored for many years.
      • Re:hmmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

        The only help I got from my parents was their encouragement because they sure as hell didn't understand the work I was doing

        Ditto. That made me smile. I was in the honors group in STS40 (I think??? It was in 1983) and my mom didn't have a clue what I was doing, but I got lots of encouragement.
    • Re:hmmm. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Very few, if any, had substantial help from their parents in their research, which is clearly what you are insinuating.

      I say this as a former STS Top 10 awardee, and as someone who personally knows several of this year's Top 10 awardees.
    • come on people, i was making a joke.

      this comment should be modded 'funny,' not insightful, though i'll take insightful if you wish.

      think... what do all the parents complain about in middle-school/junior highschool science fairs? the other kids getting help from their parents.

      anyway, i know all these kids must be geniuses or close to it, or just dedicated workers, and are most, if not all very deserving of what they are getting.
    • Re:hmmm. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Meneudo ( 661337 )
      I assume it all boils down to how much money these parents have, and who they know. I wish I had these kind of opportunities. But I'm stuck in a place where education is valued less than the size of your truck.
    • Re:hmmm. (Score:3, Informative)

      by bran6don ( 693931 )
      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 surp
    • 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.

    • Re:hmmm. (Score:3, Interesting)

      I was not in the Intel STS, but did attend the International Science and Engineering Fair a few years ago. People that have help from their parents tend to stand out when you actually talk to them about their project. I can't say every one of them gets weeded out, especially at the more local competitions. But by that level the judging is done pretty well. Some of them that won and had help from the parents might still actually know their stuff and still deserve something. It can't really be judged wit

    • Some of us dont get help from our parents. some of us are the dumb muthaf*ckas who decide to culture bacteria from various local water sources and end up being the ONLY participant in the local science fair whose project was listed in the JUNIOR MICROBIOLOGY (7th grade and under) DIVISION. trust me... we are the stupid ones. because we spend fifty times the amount of hours on our science fair projects than the other kids, and didn't get much else to show for it than a 95 cent ribbon.

      but oh yay i won....

    • Re:hmmm. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mizukami ( 141102 )
      I go to school with the second place winner, and I can assure you that he's fscking brilliant. No need for parental help there (although both of his parents are math professors).

      This is a 17-year old who's taking graduate level math courses, and doing better than (probably) most of the grad students. I hear that he's going to Harvard next year-- can't wait to see how he does on the Putnam exam.
  • dammit. (Score:5, Funny)

    by hot_Karls_bad_cavern ( 759797 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @06:54PM (#8623310) Journal
    Now i feel old AND stupid. Thanks a lot you insensitive clod!
    • Now i feel old AND stupid. Thanks a lot you insensitive clod!

      If you are posting to slashdot, you can add dorky too. Luckily, today is a weekend, so you don't have to add lazy.
  • Awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheKidWho ( 705796 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @06:56PM (#8623318)
    One of My friends was an Intel Semi Finalist, He worked on his project for about 6 months. Lucky guy now got into MIT.
  • Say what? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Caedar ( 635764 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @06:57PM (#8623328)
    "Like any company eager to burnish its brand, Intel had produced a brochure with the finalists' bios and a description of their projects--from Boris Alexeev of Athens, Ga. ("Minimal Deterministic Finite Automata--DFAs--for Testing Divisibility"), to Ning Zhou of Plymouth, Minn. ("Quantitative Trait Loci Modulating Corpus Callosum Size in the Mouse Brain")." Did they supply a dictionary with that brochure, as well?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 20, 2004 @06:59PM (#8623340)
    <British Accent>
    Oh, that is bloody fucking terrible. This is the worst -- you are the worst scientist I have ever seen. Listen, do the world a favor and keep this... this thing away from us all. Kill yourself. Move far, far away and just hurl yourself off a cliff. Your parents ought to be ashamed of having you. Just... just take this 'cure for cancer' and get the hell out of my studio!

    Now, where's the hot scientists?
    </British Accent>
  • Ugly photos (Score:5, Funny)

    by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @07:00PM (#8623348) Homepage
    The photos of those kids are ugly. Not because the kids are ugly... but whoever ran their pictures through whatever JPEG compressor they used obviously knows as much about photo manipulation as I do about brain surgery.

    That said, looks like some rather spiffy stuff there.

  • egged cars, or lit shit on people's door steps. As bright as these young people are, I think it's unfortunate that they have missed out on some of the more enjoyable things in their adolescents, especially the home schooled kids. If they truly enjoy it though, more power to them.
  • Insulting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 20, 2004 @07:09PM (#8623386)
    The Slate article is insulting. There is no other way to put it. The starting assumption that these kids would be so-called weirdos is silly, though perhaps unfounded. The stated "corollary" that "The more homegrown a young researcher, the more humdrum (by Intel standards) his or her enterprise--and the more exotic the kids' names, the more esoteric their topics" and the associated analysis of project titles is equally silly. Intel project titles are shaped by the conflicting influences of showing scientific merit (thus specific, and probably incomprehensible for people outside of the field of research, titles) versus appealing to a lay audience (such as the author of this article?).

    The author later implies that these kids "may get short shrift from their popular peers" -- the standard "nerd" with no social skills stereotype. While, without a doubt, some of these kids fall into that mold, it is far from true for some, and in fact most, of them.

    Lastly, the conclusion, in addition to perhaps being at odds with the earlier analysis of names, states that "the premium this year ... was on American ingenuity -- useful applications rather than elegant speculations." The story about the first prize winner's project, if anything, could perhaps reflect some politics in Intel's judging. The listed applications for the other projects are just that -- applications. When you do a theoretical project, you're forced into a position of "selling it." People will come up to you and ask you why what you did matters, and for the majority of them it will not suffice to extoll the value of intellectual development for its own sake. Very few STS finalists would be willing to say "this was just interesting theoretical work, with no immediate applications" (even if that is the complete truth). Am I devaluing their work? Absolutely not! I'm currently working on my mathematics degree, and I'm very much leaning towards pure math -- the more theoretical the better. If anything, I'd like to point out the viewpoint that "useful applications" are important is very dangerous. You can't always be looking at the short term, or significant advances won't happen.

    Overall, the Slate article displays a certain viewpoint and tint that I find very distasteful (just look at the cartoon they chose to have accompany the article!).
    With that, I'd like to congratulate the current crop of finalists. I hope they enjoy their time in the limelight, so to speak. It should be truly a wonderful experience. I personally know several of them and know that they most definitely deserve it.

    Truth-in-commenting Addendum: I say the above as a former STS Top 10 awardee, so I'm not entirely impartial here ;)
    • yeah, some of the intel semi finalist's from my school(Bronx High School Of Science) are really cool people actually. Saying that they are wierdos, is just wrong.
    • Re:Insulting (Score:2, Insightful)

      by QuasiEvil ( 74356 )
      Insulting - that's probably the most applicable term. Most everyone I remember from STS 95 was, while usually a bit geeky (myself definitely included), at least functionally socially adept. Most quite so - well adjusted, smart, funny, wonderful individuals. However, it's downright distasteful that rather than discussing the effort that goes into something like this and the personalities behind it, the author focuses on whether these people fit the stereotypes of nerdiness. It seems as if he did his abje
    • The article is also not accurate. The author says that the Intel Science Talent Search is 62 years old. That would mean Intel existed in 1942.

      The reality is that the Westinghouse Science Talent Search existed for decades, then Intel took over sponsorship much later. So much for fact checking by journalists and accuracy in description.

    • What do you expect from Slate?

      The tone of the hit piece sounded like they wanted some kid named Bubba Gump from Bumpus Mills Tennessee to win a science contest for a new way of kicking field-goals.

      Students who have neither the ambition nor the IQ to compete in something like the STS go to Liberal Arts Jr Colleges and end up writing tripe for Slate!

      I'm glad that the link to the STS site was included, so we can read about the real acomplishments of these kids,

      Well Done, you deserve the praise and envy of
    • here here! On top of that, she spelled the first place winner's name incorrectly!! It's supposed to be Herbert Mason Hedberg []. Her perseveration on issues of name pronounceability and it's supposed correlation with project title comprehensibility(idiotic) seemed to border on being almost racist. And the section where she says "It had blank pages at the back, labeled "Notes," and I scribbled, though not very scientifically: "nice pants suit," "acne," "looks like she's got a real stage mother," "storytelling c
    • who Slate chose as the author of the article. Looking at the "by the same author" at the end of the article, it seems like Slate decided to assign its 'Parenting' columnist instead of any sort of science writer. Is it surprising that she then decided to focus on the "nerdiness" and "looks like a jock" aspects rather than the projects themselves?
  • I wish... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lakedemon ( 761375 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @07:12PM (#8623402)
    ... that somebody would give me between 20.000 and 100.000 $ for each theorem I proved. These kids are lucky...
  • 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 [] 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.

  • I really would like to know how much each competitor was helped by parents/people in the field. Neither of my parents have any college education (and one didn't make it through high school), so I can speak from experience that not having a scientist/engineering background makes life a whole lot tougher when you get into the field. Were these awards picked simply on end results? Or did they "normalize" the field by throwing out those who had two PhD's for parents?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Having PhD's for parents probably does help. People with that level of education are more likely to push their kids to learn more at a younger age, etc.

      However, I doubt that there is much parental involvement in most of the projects. As for people in the field or mentors, the Intel application form has several questions aimed at both the student at the mentor to try to ascertain what was done by the student and what by the mentor.

      In addition, the judging is to a large degree not based on the project. T
    • did they "normalize" the field by throwing out those who had two PhD's for parents?

      What an efficent way to hurt those who's parents both have PhDs and are honest people.

      -Colin []
    • 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.


  • Any one else notice that 8 of the top 10 are from the East Coast, 4 of those are from the mid-atlantic (DC, Maryland and Virginia) and the absolutely none are from California or anywhere near silicon valley?

    I've always had my doubts about intelligence behind some of the things I hear from California. ;)

    • Speaking as a former semifinalist from the silicon valley, the reason why California doesn't have the kind of showing that states like NY have is that basically, no one, not the students, teachers, nor the potential mentors in the local universities (i.e. Stanford & Berkeley) know about or care about the competition.
      • Speaking as a former semifinalist from the silicon valley, the reason why California doesn't have the kind of showing that states like NY have is that basically, no one, not the students, teachers, nor the potential mentors in the local universities (i.e. Stanford & Berkeley) know about or care about the competition.

        Yep. Just today asked a friend at church who teaches biology at Palo Alto HS (and who has taught AP Biology in the past) whether she'd ever heard of the STS. Not a clue.

    • East cost is representing!

      It's pretty sad when everything west of the Missisippi is bested by a West Virginian, and an Alleganey Co. student (right next to WV).

      Not cutting on the students, but the annual bughet of those school districts is small, WV is the poorest state in the union, and A. Co. isn't much better. The best schools in MD are in Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties, with Montgomery having a budget an order of magnitude more than the rest.

      Considering another angle, it could be that thes
    • Here's a slightly rewritten version of a posting I made on Slate's Fray forum about the article in question.


      Although I never competed myself, I did graduate from Bronx Science [], one of the several schools--Stuyvesant and lately Ward Melville on Long Island are the others--that have historically dominated the Intel (formerly Westinghouse) Science Talent Search.

      New York State dominates the contest because of two key reasons:
      • Awareness. Most of the country outside the New York metro area is barely awa
  • Patents Uber Alles (Score:1, Insightful)

    by daina ( 651638 )
    Quite a few of them have patents pending for their work. Now that's starting kids off right!

    Get an idea and keep it to yourself, so you can make a lot of money, kids. Then you can afford the house with six bathrooms and the fucking SUV. Then you can bring some more Haitians and Venezuelans into your fat, rich suburban American neighborhoods to mow your lawn and cook your food.

    This is not science. This is a bloody obscenity.

    • Translation:

      "I've never done anything worth a damn, and resent anyone who has."
      • by daina ( 651638 )
        You are not even slightly correct.

        I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you, but I have more advanced qualifications and degrees than most people. I have had a reasonably successful career in science, and it is a subject near and dear to my heart.

        I will not sit quiet when I see the fundamental principles of science (openness of information, discovery for its own sake, intellectual curiosity) perverted by a rotten American corporation like Intel and foisted on unsuspecting children.

        These ki

        • Since when does that load of bullshit qualify as the fundamental principles of science?

          Have you ever submitted a paper to a journal? If so, did you submit it anonymously? If not, why not?

          I do like how you make sweeping generalizations about social groups that contain a remarkably disparate set of people. Bet you think all those crazy negroes love fried chicken and collard greens too, huh?

          How are they being taught it is not good without practical application? Maybe they want to protect their work from com
          • There is a principle that I usually try to adhere to: Never wrestle with a pig, because you both get dirty and the pig enjoys it. I'm apparently in a funny mood, since I'm breaking my usual habits. Maybe it has something to do with it being the first anniversary of the beginning of America's war of aggression in Iraq.

            As a matter of fact, I have presented many ideas anonymously over the course of my lifetime. This was for several reasons:

            (1) I felt that they were sufficiently beneficial to humankind that

            • I am referring specifically to a subset of Americans who pursue wealth above all else, consume out of proportion to the rest of the world, and continue to employ people from outside the USA for menial tasks at substandard wages.

              1) You assume you know their motivation? You are a mindreader, then? Are you referring to Bill Gates, perhaps?
              2) Have you noticed how much that disproportionate consumption results in disproportionate production? Feel free to boycott all American products and inventions, if it wil
        • I've done a fair bit of moderating on Slashdot, and I think moderation is necessary in order to filter out the crap, but now I see that it is being used to limit freedom of speech when someone presents ideas with which you Yanks are uncomfortable. I'm not going to continue to moderate, because I believe that it is being abused. I had a sense that my post would be modded down, so I thought, "let's try it".

          With all due respect sir, your reply was a classic troll. Strong opinions, yes, but short diatribes wi

  • I was a semifinalist (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ... And I don't think I really deserved the recognization. My project was basically a subset of my mentor's Ph. D thesis and I did some experiments which he supervised. No big deal really. I had to write a 20 page paper and that was stressful, but not worse than the stuff I faced in college. It's weird really... how do you expect someone to be an expert at something when he didn't even go through the material taught in college and grad school?

    I went to a couple of science fairs after I finished my proj
    • by sploxx ( 622853 )
      Here in germany, we have "Jugend Forscht" which seems to be remotely similar to the STS. I got into the final round twice (no prizes though) and saw a lot of winning impostors and "mommy/daddy built/invented/proved it for me"-people.

      This of course doesn't mean that there are no bright people at all, but if you get a look into these contests, you realize that these are still only humans.

      • 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 scien
  • "Native" US Kids? (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Rostin ( 691447 )
    Most of the winners were born in other countries and (presumably) immigrated with their parents. Is this because Intel specifically looked for that or because the only people whose parents really push them to excel are from outside of the US?
    • Re:"Native" US Kids? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      its called H1B Visa -> perm citizenship. USA has been snatching the best talent from all over the world for the past few centuries. We are a magnet for nerds everywhere because of our high quality of life. This is why I laugh at trolls on slashdot complaining about H1Bs etc. We get hte best of the best. they make our country better, one desi at a time!! Thank god for immigration. white americans take shit for granted, they always did. now the world has eclipsed them and have taken over their own c
  • I understood what all the projects were... so I guess I don't feel entirely retarded.
    "Quantitative Trait Loci Modulating Corpus Callosum Size in the Mouse Brain" - for understanding what this is I deserve a fricking medal.
  • Dumbstruck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sean Clifford ( 322444 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @08:34PM (#8623761) Journal
    The AC who posted about the Slate article being insulting was right on the money. Obviously, they sent the wrong reporter to cover this story. Someone with a science background would have been able to say something meaningful about the Science Talent Search. I got far more from the synopsis [] than the Slate article.

    I have to say, the work these young students have done is nothing short of amazing. Herbert Hedberg's work on analyzing telomerase inhibitors resulted in a tool that can run the analysis in 10 minutes compared to the standard method which takes 2 days. Imagine the potential impact that can have on the treatment of cancer patients, like his grandmother.

    Boris Alexeev's work may yield this guy a visit from the NSA. With minimization of deterministic finite automata you have - as the article points out - a tool to reduce the memory and processing requirements of certain kinds of operations such as speech and optical character recognition - however, the article failed to point out another obvious application - signal processing with tons of applications in video and audio surveillance/recognition.

    Ryna Karnik's work applies directly to processor manufacturing - using a focused ion beam instead of photolithorgraphy to etch wafers. I read about a similar technique, but using electron beams in a sub-.03 micron process.

    Anyway, I was dumbstruck that these teenagers have produced such groundbreaking, original research. With encouragement and a suitable academic environment, teens can blossom - not just the gifted ones - and do amazing work that belies the stereotyping surrounding their age.

    As gifted teens, I remember how few adults took me and my friends seriously, much less listen to our ideas. As a society, American really needs to invest more money, time, and expertise in our educational system to ensure that more of our youth can have futures as bright as these student-researchers.

    • Re:Dumbstruck (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bender_ ( 179208 )
      I think some of your explanations are a bit far fetched..

      Boris Alexeev's work may yield this guy a visit from the NSA. With minimization of deterministic finite automata you have - as the article points out - a tool to reduce the memory and processing requirements of certain kinds of operations such as speech and optical character recognition - however, the article failed to point out another obvious application - signal processing with tons of applications in video and audio surveillance/recognition.

    • In my opinion, what is really sad is that the author of the Slate article is so concerned about the names and ethnicities of the people participating. If this was a mere statistical note, one can understand, but desperately trying to fit kids into stereotypes, going by their names, is pathetic.

      Whether a participant's name is Gaurav or Gary it shouldn't make an iota of difference on how a science project, or the person, is judged. The only thing that matters in a competition of this nature is MERIT.

  • This is some serious, next level science these kids are doing with only a high school education. The first and third place finishers, especially have industry revolutionizing breakthroughs to their name. This is stuff businesses and Universities toss hundreds of millions of dollars in R&D money at... and hobbyists came up with the solution, in between swim meets and cleaning out the stables and getting straight A's in highschool.

    I'm seriously impressed.

    SoupIsGood Food
  • The more homegrown a young researcher, the more humdrum (by Intel standards) his or her enterprise--and the more exotic the kids' names, the more esoteric their topics. The correlation looked promising. Yuyin Chen's project sounded dauntingly abstract...

    I know Slate is sponsored|run by MSNBC, so I shouldn't expect any real journalism here. I think we all know that MSNBC has been living off of Imus (a radio show with a TV camera) for years now.

    Frankly, this reporting borders on the obscene. If Rush Limb

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.