Young science researchers take home almost $5 million at 2019 Intel ISEF competition

Intel ISEF 2019 Top Award Winners

The Intel Science Talent Search competition just completed its competition in Phoenix, Arizona.

1800 high school students entered from schools across the United States. They presented projects from the fields of math, science and engineering. This year the top winner, Krithik Ramesh, earned $75,000. He developed a system to help spinal surgeons perform operations more accurately and more quickly. At its heart is a Pokémon Go–like augmented-reality system.

“This is surreal and very humbling,” Krithik said upon learning of his award this morning.

“There’s a lot to process right now.” This 16-year-old attends Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village, Colo.

Past winners of this competition have gone on to win Nobel Prizes and other honors.

The results of Intel’s competition have several implications that we, as educators need to examine.

First of all the ratio of male and female finalists leads me to wonder if schools are taking steps to encourage young women to develop an interest in science, math and engineering. Perhaps this is a topic for discussion that needs to be started.

The second implication that this competition raises is the profitability for students to participate in science and math competitions like this one.

Third, I always wonder who keeps the patent or copyright on the young scientist’s discovery / findings…. the student or the company that sponsors the student? Hmmmm! Are these students being taken advantage of?

Whether you are gearing up for a school science fair event, a state science fair competition or a classroom science demonstration, it is important that you take steps to get every student involved in the activities. Some students may take a little more prodding to get involved, but once you are able to plug them into the experience of scientific discovery their academic goals will be much easier to accomplish. Now is the time to think about how to encourage and prepare your students for the 2020 Intel Competition.

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