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The 2002 Intel Science Talent Search finalist banquet, held at the Ronald Reagan building in Washington, DC, where the ten winners were announced and all 40 finalists were acknowledged.


The Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) is a research-based science competition in the United Statesmarker primarily for high school students. It has been referred to "the nation's oldest and most prestigious" science competition, and the Westinghouse/Intel awards have been referred to as the "Baby Nobels."

The term Baby Nobels is more widely applied to the Gairdner Foundation International Award. In his speech at the dinner honoring the 1991 Winners, President George H. W. Bush called the competition the "Super Bowl of science."

The Intel STS is administered by the Society for Science & the Public, which began the competition in 1942 with Westinghouse; for many years, the competition was known as the "Westinghouse Science Talent Search." In 1998, Intelmarker became the sponsor after it outbid Siemens, which had acquired Westinghouse's power generation unit . (Siemens subsequently sponsored its own competition.) Over the years, over $3.8 million in scholarships have been awarded through the program.

Nearly all of the entrants work with mentors, as high school students typically do not have the capabilities of doing research projects entirely on their own. The mentors are usually professional researchers, and the entrants' work is ordinarily performed over two years in those laboratories. However, the research papers must be all in the entrants' own writing, and the teenage Finalists' papers are regarded to be "college-level, professional quality." The selection process is highly competitive, and besides the research paper, letters of recommendation, essays, test scores, extracurricular activities, and high school transcripts may be factored in the selection of finalists and winners.

Each year, approximately 1,600 papers are submitted. The top 300 applicants are announced in mid-January with each semifinalist and their school receiving $1,000. In late January, the 40 finalists (the scholarship winners) are informed. In March, the finalists are flown to Washington, D.C. where they are interviewed for the top ten spots, which have scholarships ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 for the first prize winner. By tradition, at least one of the interviewers is a Nobel Laureate, and the interviewers have included Glenn T. Seaborg (Nobel Laureate with Edwin M. McMillan in Chemistry, 1951) and Joseph Taylor (Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1993). In addition, all finalists receive $5,000 scholarships and an Intel-based computer.

Some Intel STS finalists and winners have gone on to receive higher honors in mathematics, science, and technology: among them, six have received Nobel Prizes ; two have earned the Fields Medal; three have been awarded the National Medal of Science; ten have won the MacArthur Fellowship; 56 have been named Sloan Research Fellows; 30 have been elected to the National Academy of Sciencesmarker; and five have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering .

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