Three Indo-American teenagers are amongst the 40 finalists chosen in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition.
The results were announced today by Intel at its headquarters in Santa Clara, California. The finalists will compete for more than $530,000 in scholarships and prizes when they assemble at the Science Talent Institute in Washington, D.C.
The competition lasts from March 9th to 14th, when contestants will interact with top scientists and participate in rigorous judging sessions.
Sheela Krishnan, 17, of New York had researched the antimicrobial activity of over 1,000 bacterial isolates from the honey sacs of honeybees. Her two-year study included Paenibacillus larvae, which cause American Foulbrood Disease (AFB), the most virulent and fatal bacterial disease that devastates bee farms worldwide.
Sheela's interest in honey was ignited after visiting India during her freshman year, when her grandfather informed her of honey's natural health benefits. Trained in Indian classical music, she also performs both Karnatic and Hindustani variations.
Sukrit Ranjan, 18, of Illinois, examined polar cloud formation on Mars in his earth and planetary science project. His computer analysis of data collected by the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter (MOLA) was contrary to prevailing thought.
Sukrit believes that understanding cloud formation and past water distribution on Mars may provide insight to future climate changes that could occur on Earth.
Kiran Reddy Pendri, 17, of Connecticut, synthesized a new type of organic compound through macrocyclization. He believes his research could contribute to manufacturing chemicals and pharmaceuticals in an efficient and environmentally friendly way.
"While as a nation we continue to struggle to improve science and math education, these students give us hope for our future," said Intel Chairman Craig Barrett.
Barrett continued: "Their grounding in science and math will help them make the right decisions in their professional careers whether they provide answers to some of science's grand challenges or help guide the political and economic decisions that shape the 21st century."
The top prize in the Intel STS is a $100,000 college scholarship followed by a $75,000 scholarship and a $50,000 scholarship for second and third place.
Fourth to sixth-place finalists are awarded scholarships for $25,000, and seventh to tenth-place winners will receive a $20,000 scholarship. The remaining 30 finalists will each receive a $5,000 scholarship.
In addition to the prestige and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, all finalists will also get an Intel® Centrino TM mobile technology-based notebook computer. The winners will be announced at a gala on March 14th.