Channels ▼


'Cracking the Code' Wins Intel Science Talent Search for Math Whiz

Honoring high school seniors with exceptional promise in math and science, Intel Corporation and Society for Science & the Public (SSP) today announced the winners of America's most elite and demanding high school research competition, the Intel Science Talent Search.

Evan O’Dorney, 17, of Danville, California, won the top award of $100,000 from the Intel Foundation for his mathematical project in which he compared two ways to estimate the square root of an integer. Evan discovered precisely when the faster way would work. As a byproduct of Evan's research he solved other equations useful for encrypting data. This furthered an interest he developed as early as age 2, when he was checking math textbooks out of the library. 

Second place honors and $75,000 went to Michelle Hackman, 17, of Great Neck, New York, who studied the effect of separating teenagers from their cell phones. In her personal life, Michelle, who is not sighted, launched a rural secondary school in Cambodia that benefits girls confronted with significant gender violence and sex trafficking.

Third place and $50,000 went to Matthew Miller, 18, of Elon, North Carolina, who studied how the placement of small bumps on the surface of wind turbine blades can dramatically affect their aerodynamics and increase their efficiency at generating electricity. Matthew is also senior class president, president of the National Honor Society and was invited by President Obama to be part of the first White House Science Fair last October.

"The creativity and leadership of these 40 Intel Science Talent Search mathematicians and scientists hold tremendous potential to move our country forward," said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini. "They are already addressing real-world problems like cancer treatment, disease prevention and national security. We need to identify the common characteristics that inspired these high school seniors to successfully revitalize math and science education nationwide."  

Other top honors from the competition include:

  • Fourth Place: Madeleine Ball, 18, of Dallas, Texas, identified a previously unknown means of cholera transmission and received a $40,000 award.
  • Fifth Place: Selena Li, 17, of Fair Oaks, California, discovered a novel and more effective treatment for experimental liver cancer and received a $30,000 award.
  • Sixth Place: Keenan Monks, 17, of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, conducted research on a math equation that can help improve Internet security and cryptography and received a $25,000 award.
  • Seventh Place: Benjamin Clark, 15, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, studied the frequency by which stars form binary systems and received a $25,000 award.
  • Eighth Place: Xiaoyu “Carrie” Cao, 17, of San Diego, California, created a novel approach for developing scaffolds for nanoscale biosensors, which detects if there are toxins in the air, and received a $20,000 award.
  • Ninth Place: Jenny Liu, 18, of Orange, Connecticut, conducted a social robotics research project, which found that giving a robot realistic emotion significantly improves human-robot interaction, and received a $20,000 award.
  • Tenth Place: Scott Boisvert, 17, of Chandler, Arizona, investigated aquatic habitats and sought a link between water chemistry and the proliferation of a harmful fungus that is contributing to the decline of the amphibian population. He received a $20,000 award.

The remaining 30 finalists each received at least $7,500 in awards.

In total, the Intel Foundation awarded $1.25 million for the Intel Science Talent Search 2011. When the Intel Foundation assumed the title sponsorship 13 years ago, it increased the annual awards by more than $1 million in the belief that fostering a passion for math and science in today’s youth is imperative for America’s future success.

The Intel Science Talent Search encourages America’s future leaders to satisfy their endless curiosity by exploring how the world works and developing solutions for global challenges. This year's finalists hail from 15 states and represent 39 schools. Of the 1,744 high school seniors who entered the Intel Science Talent Search 2011, 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.

— Intel Newsroom

Related Reading

More Insights

Currently we allow the following HTML tags in comments:

Single tags

These tags can be used alone and don't need an ending tag.

<br> Defines a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal line

Matching tags

These require an ending tag - e.g. <i>italic text</i>

<a> Defines an anchor

<b> Defines bold text

<big> Defines big text

<blockquote> Defines a long quotation

<caption> Defines a table caption

<cite> Defines a citation

<code> Defines computer code text

<em> Defines emphasized text

<fieldset> Defines a border around elements in a form

<h1> This is heading 1

<h2> This is heading 2

<h3> This is heading 3

<h4> This is heading 4

<h5> This is heading 5

<h6> This is heading 6

<i> Defines italic text

<p> Defines a paragraph

<pre> Defines preformatted text

<q> Defines a short quotation

<samp> Defines sample computer code text

<small> Defines small text

<span> Defines a section in a document

<s> Defines strikethrough text

<strike> Defines strikethrough text

<strong> Defines strong text

<sub> Defines subscripted text

<sup> Defines superscripted text

<u> Defines underlined text

Dr. Dobb's encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Dr. Dobb's moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing or spam. Dr. Dobb's further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | View the list of supported HTML tags you can use to style comments. | Please read our commenting policy.