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Intel Math The Almighty Buck Science

17-Year-Old Wins Intel's $100K Science Prize 271

autospa writes "A California teenager who cracked a complex mathematical equation has been awarded the Intel Science Talent Search's $100,000 first-place prize. Evan O'Dorney, 17, won the prize for 'his mathematical project in which he compared two ways to estimate the square root of an integer. [He] discovered precisely when the faster way would work,' Intel announced Wednesday."
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17-Year-Old Wins Intel's $100K Science Prize

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @03:43PM (#35507662)

    My son competed in the national "Who Wants to be a Mathematician" competition for high school students in New Orleans last January. (He was one of ten contestants, so we were proud.) Evan O'Dorney was the defending champion, and he won the event pretty handily. (My son came within one question (!) of competing against him in the final round, btw.)

    I spoke briefly with Evan at the competition. Definitely a strange personality -- Asperger's or high-functioning autistic or something. He seemed pretty nice, though, and his explanations of how he got his answers were very clear and concise. Glad to see he's making a name for himself.

    I believe he also won the national spelling bee when he was, like, ten or something.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki@[ ].net ['cox' in gap]> on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @04:15PM (#35507994)

    for some reason that story reminded me of this quote from Good Will Hunting.

    Sean: Hey, Gerry, In the 1960s there was a young man that graduated from the University of Michigan. Did some brilliant work in mathematics. Specifically bounded harmonic functions. Then he went on to Berkeley. He was assistant professor. Showed amazing potential. Then he moved to Montana, and blew the competition away.
    Lambeau: Yeah, so who was he?
    Sean: Ted Kaczynski.

    I hope he does well.

  • by mdielmann ( 514750 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @05:03PM (#35508584) Homepage Journal

    It could be argued that not being surrounded by under-supervised near-sociopaths until such an age as to not be a near-sociopath yourself isn't a bad thing. A number of famous people in many walks of life were home-schooled, including the likes of Thomas Edison. Here's a link [] of famous homeschooled people you might recognize. Granted, it's from a site promoting home schooling, but it still gives you plenty of names to google for further verification.

  • by recrudescence ( 1383489 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @05:56PM (#35509230)
    Actually, Thomas Edison is probably the worst example you could pick. Reportedly the man was a sociopath. For all his genius and cunning, he still:
    • electrocuted animals with AC current and invented and popularized the electric chair just to make a marketing point of AC being unsafe, so he would promote a DC current as the standard (arguably a less safe form of electricity) for common use.
    • He manipulated or outright cheated the patent system out of other people's inventions; the most famous one being the lightbulb.
    • Relied on (what I would call 'Apple-like') marketing rather than facts to manipulate public opinion, intimidate, and promote a lot of his ideas, sidelining significantly better opponents and inventions / discoveries.
    • His antics among others, severely limited the work of a *true* genius of the time, Nikolai Tesla, purely for monetary and personal gratification, setting science back by years []

    Shrewd business man? Yes. Ambitious? Skilled inventor and scientist? Yes. Hardworking? Yes ... but also a sociopath nonetheless.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"