In a little over a week I'll be going down to Washington to write about the winners of this year's Intel Science Talent Search. The modern version of what used to be called the Westinghouse Science Talent Search brings teenage finalists to DC every year, puts their independent research projects through rigorous judging, then awards the top winners big prizes.
I've spent the past year writing a weekly online column for Scientific American about former finalists in the Westinghouse called "Where Are They Now?" A few recent fun ones: Scott Fruhan, a med student/songwriter who actually plays in a band called Heath Street with a friend of mine; Andrew Heafitz, who got a patent for the model rocket camera he built for Westinghouse, and now works on building flying cars; and Jonathan Gershenzon, director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Germany. He grew up burying his nose in plants because he liked thinking about why they smelled how they smelled and now... he's studying very similar things.
If you haven't had a chance to check out the series, please do! It's a good look at what gifted young people have done and become when they grow up.