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13 Indian American teenagers among 40 Intel Science Talent Search 2015 finalists

A new awards structure this year.

By The American Bazaar Staff

WASHINGTON, DC: An astounding 13 out of the 40 U.S. high school seniors who are finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search 2015 (ISTS), the nation’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science and math competition – are of Indian American origin.

The ISTS encourages students to tackle challenging scientific questions and create technologies and solutions that will make people’s lives better. The 40 finalists receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. from March 5-11, where they will compete for more than $1 million in awards provided by the Intel Foundation.

Starting this year, the Intel Science Talent Search will feature a new awards structure that includes triple the top award money and new award categories. In place of the competition’s previous $100,000 top prize, three Medal of Distinction awards of $150,000 each will be presented to students who show exceptional scientific potential in three areas: Basic Research, Global Good, and Innovation. There are also three second-place awards of $75,000, and three third-place awards of $35,000.

“Intel invests in engineering, math and science education to support the next generation of innovators, who will create the products and services to enrich our daily lives,” said Justin Rattner, president of the Intel Foundation, in a statement. “This year’s finalists – who are engaged in leading-edge scientific research and the creation of new technology to address global challenges such as renewable energy, cybersecurity and infectious diseases – prove that with the right education and resources, young people can indeed change the world.”

Society for Science & the Public, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education, has owned and administered the Science Talent Search since its inception in 1942.

“The 40 finalists of the Intel Science Talent Search are some of the best and brightest young scientists in the nation,” said Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of Society for Science & the Public and publisher of Science News, in a statement.

This year’s finalists are from 36 schools in 18 states. Fifty-two percent of this year’s finalists are male, while 48 percent are female. The 40 finalists were selected from 300 semifinalists and more than 1,800 entrants based on the originality and creativity of their scientific research, as well as their achievement and leadership both inside and outside the classroom.

Finalist projects are distributed among 17 categories, including animal sciences, behavioral and social sciences, biochemistry, bioengineering, bioinformatics and genomics, chemistry, computer science, earth and planetary science, engineering, environmental science, materials science, mathematics, medicine and health, microbiology, physics, plant science, and space science.

The finalists’ research projects include a low-cost, portable device to detect blood diseases and parasites; an advanced encryption system with potential applications in cybersecurity; new research on the use of quantum dot solar cells as an alternative energy source; and a machine learning-based method to identify promising drugs to combat cancer, tuberculosis and Ebola.

While in Washington, D.C., ISTS finalists will undergo a rigorous judging process, interact with leading scientists, display their research to the public at the National Geographic Society and meet with national leaders. Winners will be announced at a black-tie, invitation-only gala awards ceremony at the National Building Museum on March 10.

In the past, young innovators chosen to participate in the Science Talent Search have gone on to receive more than 100 of the world’s most prestigious honors. For example, Science Talent Search alumni have won eight Nobel Prizes, two Fields Medals, five National Medals of Science, 12 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships and even an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Since assuming title sponsorship of the Science Talent Search 17 years ago, Intel has increased the competition’s annual awards and scholarships from $205,000 to more than $1.6 million to acknowledge and encourage achievement in these important subjects. Over the past decade, Intel and the Intel Foundation have invested more than $1 billion, and Intel employees have donated close to 4 million hours, toward improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in more than 100 countries, regions and territories.

The 13 Indian American finalists are (in alphabetical order):

Anandapadmanaban, Eswar
Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ
The ThereNIM: A Touch-less Respiratory Monitor

Chemparathy, Augustine George
Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon, CA
Accumulation of the Biodiesel Precursor Triacylglycerol Offsets Oxidative Stress in the Model Alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

D’Mello, Ryan
Benet Academy, Lisle, IL
A New Result on Gaps Between Integer Points on Elliptic Curves with Coverage of Applications to Cryptography

Gupta, Anvita
BASIS Scottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ
Computational Drug Discovery for Cancer, Tuberculosis, and Ebola by Targeting Intrinsically Disordered Proteins

Khare, Somya
Lynbrook High School, San Jose, CA
Changes in Growth Rate and Cytoskeletal Activity During the Starvation Response in E. coli

Kishore, Shashwat
Unionville High School, Kennett Square, PA
Multiplicity Space Signatures and Applications in Tensor Products of sl2 Representations

Kuditipudi, Rohith
The Harker School, San Jose, CA
Network Based Integration of High Throughput Gene Expression and Methylation Data Reveals New Insights into NAFLD Progression

Lall, Kriti
Castilleja School, Palo Alto, CA
A Novel Bacteria Strain and Bioreactor for Practical Arsenic Water Bioremediation

Pandya, Dhaivat Nitin
Appleton North High School, Appleton, WI
Minimum Cost Linear Network Coding Design for General Connections

Pathak, Reesab
Camas High School, Camas, WA
Cytomegalovirus Vaccine Vectors Induce Universal, MHC-E Restricted CD8+ T cells Against AIDS Virus

Prembabu, Saranesh
Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon, CA
Coupled Electric and Magnetic Properties in Artificially-Layered Perovskite Thin Films

Raghuvanshi, Anika
Jesuit High School, Portland, OR
Logic Synthesis and a Generalized Notation for Memristor-Realized Material Implication Gates

Tandon, Tanay
Cupertino High School, Cupertino, CA
Topographical Computer Vision Algorithms for Rapid, Low-cost Hematological Diagnostics and Parasite Detection Through Random Forests Classification and van Leeuwenhoek-type Imaging.

(This story and headline was corrected on January 27, 2015, adding the name of finalist Ryan D’Mello.)