Friday, May 14, 2010

International Science and Engineering Fair Winner Announced

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).

1 comment:

Kevin said...

The ISEF in San Jose yesterday was a pretty good array of posters. There were some problems with kids using too small fonts (the public wasn't allowed closer than 6 feet from the poster, and many of the posters were unreadable at that distance).

There were a few projects that did not seem to meet the quality standards, but overall the standard was high---somewhat higher than the California State Science Fair which is next week in Los Angeles.

I do like that ISEF had 12 hours of public viewing, 3 of them with the students present to answer questions. The State Science Fair has public viewing while people are setting up, and many of the posters aren't up until the public viewing is about to close.