Congratulations to Amy Chyao of Richardson, Texas, for winning this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair!
Chyao, 15, won $75,000 for a project involving the use of photodynamic therapy, in which anti-cancer drugs are activated by light energy. Other top winners include Kevin Ellis, 18, of Vancouver, WA, who developed a way for speeding up computer programs, and Yale Fan, 18, of Beaverton, OR, whose project dealt with quantum computing.
The fun part about ISEF is that it really is international. As you can see from Intel's press release, the top winners hail from Brazil, the UK, Mexico, and South Korea, in addition to the US. One of the great problems of American education is that much of what we do is not benchmarked against the rest of the world. Comparisons are largely done within states, as though somehow the economy will just stop right there at the border when these young people graduate.
Which is nonsense. In this wired era, my competition is not other writers in New York City, it is anyone who can write in English , or can find a translator, in the entire world. The same goes for science. Companies like Intel hire globally, as do many science departments at universities. Best to get used to seeing early how everyone stacks up.
I covered the ISEF in Atlanta in 2008 for Scientific American; you can read the intro to it here (then search on site for my name for other posts).