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Two Indian American prodigies win global Intel Science and Engineering Fair

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Teens Meghana Bollimpalli, of Little Rock, Arkansas, and and Dhruvik Parikh, of Bothell, Washington, receive $50,000 each.

Two Indian American science prodigies have won the top two positions in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Indian American students Meghana Bollimpalli, of Little Rock, Arkansas, and Dhruvik Parikh, of Bothell, Washington, were announced runners-ups by Intel Corporation and Society for Science & the Public after a week-long celebration of science.

Both Bollimpalli, 17, and Parikh, 18, received $50,000 in scholarship funds for their ground-breaking research.

Approximately 1,700 winners of local, regional, state, and national competitions were invited to participate in the week-long celebration of science, technology, engineering, and math.

According to the official website of the fair, more than 7 million high school students from across the world develop original research projects and present their work at local science competitions, hoping to make it to Intel ISEF — the world’s largest pre-college science competition organized by the Society for Science & the Public.

The winners of the Intel ISEF are selected based on the abilities of the participants to tackle challenging scientific questions, use authentic research practices, and create solutions for the problems of tomorrow.

Bollimpalli received an Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of $50,000 for her novel, low-cost approach for synthesizing materials that could greatly cut the production and energy costs of making electrodes for devices like supercapacitors.

He research found that combining common substances like tea and molasses with nitrogen and phosphorus in a commercial microwave formed a powder that could be used as a coating for electrode-like materials, giving them similar properties of more expensive metals like platinum.

Parikh won the $50,000 award for developing a less-expensive, yet more robust, ion exchange membranes for use in large, industrial-scale batteries for storing solar or wind-generated electricity for later distribution.

His composite membrane has 10 times the proton conductivity of the industry’s standard membrane, while reducing production costs by about 30 percent.

Oliver Nicholls, 19, of Sydney, Australia, received the Gordon E. Moore Award of $75,000 for designing and building a prototype of an autonomous robotic window cleaner for commercial buildings.

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