to learn more about the intel Science talent
Search, visit www.societyforscience.org/sts
Honors for young
By Laura Sanders
WASHINGTON — The high-wattage glitz
and glamour at the 2011 Intel Science
Talent Search gala couldn’t outshine
America’s best young scientists, math-ematicians and engineers. You could do
the math —
perhaps with help from first-prize winner Evan Michael O’Dorney,
17, of Danville, Calif. He garnered the
top award of $100,000 from the Intel
Foundation for his insights on how to
best estimate a number’s square root.
O’Dorney and the other winners of the
science competition were named March
15 at the National Building Museum.
Guided by his deep, lifelong fascina-tion with patterns of numbers, O’Dorney
discovered an unexpectedly simple for-mula that clears up a mysterious link
between two methods that approximate
square roots. His work was rated first
by Intel Science Talent Search judges,
who have spent an average of 30 years
as working scientists. His project beat
out 39 other finalists chosen from more
than 1,700 proposals. The competition
has been administered by Society for
Science & the Public, publisher of Science
News, since 1942.
Second place and $75,000 went to
Michelle Abi Hackman, 17, of Great Neck,
N.Y., for her project on what happens
when teenagers are separated from their
cell phones. Students without phones
weren’t more anxious, Hackman found in
her study of 150 high school students. But
phoneless teens did appear more bored.
Matthew Miller, 18, of Elon, N.C., won
third place and $50,000 for engineering
energy-boosting bumps on wind tur-bine blades. Miller’s design, first tested
in a wind tunnel in his family’s garage,
changes the sound produced by the
Evan Michael O’Dorney (right) won the top award in the 2011 Intel Science Talent
Search. Top spots also went to Michelle Abi Hackman (center) and Matthew Miller.
turbine to a more pleasant buzz without
increasing the noisiness of the blades.
“It is innovation and creativity that
powers society,” said Society for Sci-
ence & the Public president Elizabeth
Marincola. “Society for Science & the
Public and Intel could not be prouder of
our 40 Intel STS finalists of 2011.”
Fourth place and $40,000 went to
Madeleine Amanda Ball, 18, of Dallas,
Texas, for discovering that freshwater
crustaceans known as copepods can
harbor cholera-causing bacteria. Selena
Shi-Yao Li, 17, of Fair Oaks, Calif., won
fifth place and a $30,000 award for her
studies on a new way to treat liver cancer.
Sixth place and $25,000 went to Keenan
Monks, 17, of Hazleton, Pa., for research
on the mathematics of elliptical curves,
which has applications in cryptography.
Seventh place was awarded to Benjamin
Mathias Clark, 15, of Lancaster, Pa., for
his studies of binary star systems.
Eighth through 10th places, each of
which comes with a $20,000 award, went
to Xiaoyu Cao, 17, of San Diego, Calif.,
for designing a better way to make bio-
sensors; Jenny Jiaqi Liu, 18, of Orange,
Conn., who found that people respond
better to robots that exhibit emotions;
and Scott Paul Boisvert, 17, of Chandler,
Ariz., for finding a link between water
contaminants and a dangerous fungus.