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Young women dominate top slots at Intel science fair

I know this isn’t HPC, but it is Good News. On Friday the Intel Foundation announced the winners of the world’s largest pre-college science fair, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF). For the second year in a row, all three top slots were earned by young women

Tara Adiseshan, 14, of Charlottesville, Va.; Li Boynton, 17, of Houston; and Olivia Schwob, 16, of Boston were selected from 1,563 young scientists from 56 countries, regions and territories for their commitment to innovation and science. Each received a $50,000 scholarship from the Intel Foundation.

  • Tara Adiseshan identified and classified the evolutionary relationships between sweat bees and the nematodes (microscopic worms) that live inside them. Tara was able to prove that because the two have such ecologically intimate relationships, they also have an evolutionary relationship. That is to say, if one species evolves, the other will follow.
  • Li Boynton developed a biosensor from bioluminescent bacteria (a living organism that gives off light) to detect the presence of contaminants in public water. Li’s biosensor is cheaper and easier to use than current biosensors, and she hopes it can be used in developing countries to reduce water toxicity.
  • Olivia Schwob isolated a gene that can be used to improve the intelligence of a worm. The results could help us better understand how humans learn and even prevent, treat and cure mental disabilities in the future.

Uh, when I was 16 I was definitely not isolating genes. If young people engaged in science gets you stoked about the future, you’ll want to read the rest of the story at Intel’s site

In addition to the three $50,000 top winners, more than 500 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair participants received scholarships and prizes for their groundbreaking work. Intel awards included 19 “Best of Category” winners who each received a $5,000 Intel scholarship and a new laptop powered by the Intel® Core™2 Duo processor. Intel also awarded a $1,000 grant to the 19 “Best of Category” winners’ schools and the Intel ISEF-affiliated fair they represent.

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