Four Indian-American youngsters are among 40 students who have been named as finalists for this year's Intel Science Talent Search award, billed as the Junior Nobel.
The contest is America's oldest and most prestigious high school science competition where six former finalists have won the Nobel Prize with others having been awarded the Fields Medal, the National Medal of Science and MacArthur Foundation fellowships.
The Indian-Americans finalists for the prestigious competition are Venkat Mikkilineni, Neha Anil Deshpande, Abhinav Rohatgi and Sara Dana Bayefsky Anand.
The finalists will travel to Washington DC in March, where they will undergo a rigorous judging process, meet with national leaders, interact with leading scientists and display their research at the National Academy of Sciences.
The finalists will receive scholarships totaling $5,30,000, with the top winner walking away with a $1,00,000 scholarship. Each finalist will also receive a new laptop run with the Intel CoreTM2 Duo processor.
Seventeen-year-old Sohan Venkat Mikkilineni, a student of Detroit Country Day school, has submitted a math project for the contest that analysed determinantal sequences.
Captain of the FIRST Robotics Club, Sohan has earned a certificate of tribute from Governor Granholm for his scientific achievements.
From New Jersey is 17-year-old Neha Anil Deshpande who is hoping that her Zoology research project studying subito and pavarotti genes in Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) will one day lead to the end of birth defects in human infants.
The other two finalists are from New York.
Abhinav Rohatgi, 17, of Garden City High School studied the effects of MTBE, a gasoline additive, on the physiology and mortality of marine mollusks for his Intel Science Talent Search project in environmental science.
Abhinav, who was born in India, hopes his findings will lead to the development of safe chemical blocking agents to mitigate MTBE's harmful effects.
And also from New York is Sara Dana Bayefsky Anand, a 17-year-old from the Abraham Joshua Heschel School entering the competition with a zoology project based on research she performed in Israel's Negev Desert on the European free-tailed bat.
Sarah's research included recording the echolocation calls of these wild free-flying bats, selecting the recordings of the calls she needed for her work, analysing the calls, and then studying the data generated from the analysis.
"For the first time in the history of the competition, this year's finalists comprise an equal number of young men and women. It's heartening to see so many young women interested in Intel science and technology. Together these young women and men are poised to be the leaders of tomorrow" Craig Barrett, Chairman of Intel said.
This year's Intel STS finalists hail from 20 states, the most in the history of the competition and represent 38 schools in the US.