Of the 40 finalists in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search 2009 competition, eight are desis (many seem to be South Indians).
Often referred to as the Junior Nobel Prize, the Science Talent SearchÂ is Americaâ€™s oldest and most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. Seven former finalists have won the Nobel Prize.
Numbering 2.57 million, Indian-Americans constitute less than 1% of the U.S. population (306 million) but account for 20% of the Intel Science Talent Search 2009 finalists. Go figure.
The 40 finalists will travel to Washington, D.C. in March to compete for $530,000 in scholarships. The top winner will receive a $100,000 scholarship from the Intel Foundation. Each Finalist will receive at least $5,000 in scholarships and a laptop powered by an Intel Core2 Duo processor.
The top winners will be announced at a black-tie gala award ceremony at the Mellon Auditorium on March 10.
The eight Indians among the finalists and their projects are:
* Smitha Ramakrishna – Chandler (AZ)
Analysis of the Chemical and Biological Degradation of Sucralose in Synthetic Wastewater
* Aniruddha Sandeep Deshmukh – Cupertino (CA)
Revitalizing the Coastal Sage Scrub Ecosystem in Response to Cyanide Accumulation from High Intensity Wildfires
* Nilesh Truipuraneni – Fresno (CA)
A Relativistic Generalization of the Navier-Stokes Equations to Quark-Gluon Plasmas
* Nitish Lakhanpal – Irvine (CA)
An Investigation into the Folding of Beta Structures in a Class of Pathologically-Relevant Proteins: Computational Prediction of Secondary and Super-Secondary Structure from Primary Amino Acid Sequence
* Aditya Rajagopalan – Glastonbury (CT)
Modeling Synergistic Cellulolytic-Hemicellulolytic Enzyme Complexes for Lignocellulosic Hydrolysis
* Preya Shah – Setauket (NY)
Combating Cancer: Design and Synthesis of Dual-Warhead Tumor-Targeting Drug Conjugates
* Narendra Pundarik Tallapragada – Burke (VA)
Determining the Dielectric Function for Crystalline Solids from the “Bottom Up”, Using Atomic, Ionic, and Molecular Properties
* Suvai Gunasekaran – Madison (WI)
A New Approach to Biofilm Inhibition: Incorporation and Controlled Release of Synthetic N-Acylated Homoserine Lactone Compounds from Surfaces
Since 1998, Intel has sponsored the competition, which provides a national forum for Americaâ€™s brightest young scientists to present original research to nationally recognized professional scientists.
The winner of the 2008 Intel Science Talent Competition was Shivani Sud, the first time an Indian-American student won the top prize.
Shivani Sud, a 17-year-old girl from Durham (North Carolina), submitted a bioinformatics and genomics project to Intel Science Talent Search that focused on identifying stage II colon cancer patients at high risk for recurrence and the best therapeutic agents for treating their tumors.