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Teen Scientist Wins $100,000 Award from Intel

Award from Intel

Award from Intel

Honoring high school seniors with exceptional scientific promise, Intel Corporation and Society for Science & the Public (SSP) recognized the winners of the Intel Science Talent Search, a pre-college science and math competition.

Eric S. Chen, 17, of San Diego won the top award of $100,000 from the Intel Foundation for his research of potential new drugs to treat influenza.

His interdisciplinary approach combined computer modeling with structural studies and biological validation, with a focus on drugs that inhibit endonuclease, an enzyme essential for viral propagation.

Eric, the co-president of his school’s fencing team and a junior Olympics qualifier, hopes his work will lead to a new class of drugs to control flu outbreaks during a pandemic, allowing time for a vaccine to be developed.

Second-place honors and $75,000 went to Kevin Lee, 17, of Irvine, Calif., who developed a mathematical model to describe the shape of the heart as it beats using the principles of fluid mechanics.

Kevin’s faster and computationally efficient model could provide insights into arrhythmia and may lead to better treatments for the disease.

Third-place honors and $50,000 went to William Henry Kuszmaul, 17, of Lexington, Mass., who developed a new approach to the mathematics of modular enumeration, which has applications to a wide number of problems in computer science, bioinformatics and computational biology.

“We at Intel celebrate the work of these brilliant young scientists as a way to inspire the next generation to follow them with even greater energy and excitement into a life of invention and discovery,” said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation.

This year’s finalists hail from 33 schools in 14 states. Of the 1,794 high school seniors who entered the Intel Science Talent Search 2014, 300 were announced as semifinalists in January.

Of those, 40 were chosen as finalists and invited to Washington, D.C., to compete for the top 10 awards. These finalists, according to Intel, join the ranks of other notable Science Talent Search alumni, who over the past 73 years, have gone on to win eight Nobel Prizes, two Fields Medals, five National Medals of Science, 11 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships and even an Academy Award for Best Actress.

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.

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