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Intel Science Talent Search winners

Intel has announced winners from among this year’s competitors in the nation’s oldest pre-college science competition, the Intel Talent Search.

Intel logoErika DeBenedictis, 18, of Albuquerque, N.M., won the top award of $100,000 from the Intel Foundation for her project developing a software navigation system to help improve spacecraft travel through the solar system. Erika’s research found that the gravity and movement of planets create “easy transit routes,” which will ultimately help spacecraft move faster and with less fuel.

Second place honors and $75,000 went to David Liu, 18, of Saratoga, Calif., for his work to develop a system to recognize and understand digital images. David’s work has already been used to examine aerial images to identify hazards to buried oil pipelines and could also be used to enable unmanned aerial vehicles and Web-based image searches.

Third place honors and $50,000 went to Akhil Mathew, 18, of Madison, N.J., for his math project on Deligne categories, a setting for studying a wide range of algebraic structures with ties to theoretical physics.

Over 1,700 students entered the competition this year. Over the competition’s life finalists have gone on to win other prizes you may have heard of in their careers — specifically, 7 Nobel Prizes, two Fields Medals, and three National Medals of Science. Fantastic.

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