$4 million given to teen science champions

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

phoenix convention center
The Phoenix Convention Center where the Intel competition was held.

A self-driving vehicle that could take you around town while you just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride? Sounds like something from a futuristic movie, but 19-year-old Romanian computer scientist, Ionut Budisteanu, won $75,000 for his invention that could very well make such a thing possible.

Not bad, taking home all that money, and only being 19 years old. See, there’s this awesome science fair competition that the Society for Science & the Public originally created in 1950 and is now run as the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

More than one-third of over 1,600 Intel ISEF finalists were given cash awards for their insanely cool contributions to science, totaling over $4 million in prizes! Talk about a ton of cash for smart and creative teens.

The competition selects winners from all over the world, including more than 70 countries and regions. Wendy Hawkins, the executive director of the Intel Foundation, says, “This competition encourages millions of students worldwide every year to explore their passion for math and science while developing solutions for global challenges.” Other inventions besides Ionut’s self-driving car design include 18-year-old Eesha Khare’s electrical energy storage device and 17-year-old Henry Wanjune Lin’s model of distant galaxy behavior. Seventeen students total won the “best of category” awards that are each worth $5,000.

Scientific discoveries also included 16-year-old Michael Shao’s study of how worms respond to the cold, 17-year-old Naomi Shah’s air filter that reduces harmful chemicals, and 17-year-old Jessie MacAlpine’s study of how mustard oil can reduce the disease malaria. For more information on who won and what kind of incredible science they discovered, feel free to visit the Society for Science & the Public’s website.

Featured image courtesy of Intel and Chris Myers. Image of Phoenix Convention Center courtesy of Phoenix Convention Center.