Teen Whiz Kids Bag $630,000 in Prizes at Intel Science Fair

by Rachel Baker on March 12, 2014

This is pretty impressive and worth sharing. Great job to all the kids who participated.

A 17-year-old from California took home $100,000 in prize money as winner of the Intel Science Talent Search for his work on anti-flu drugs.

Eric Chen used computer models to pin down a potential class of drugs that would work by tripping up endonucleases, enzymes that viruses use to multiply.

The Canyon Crest Academy high-schooler has been working with researchers at labs at UC San Diego, using supercomputers in his modeling work. He became interested in pandemics after an outbreak of swine flu in 2009 in nearby San Diego.

It’s third big win in the last few months for Chen, who took home the top prize in the Google Science Fair in October and the top spot in the Siemens Foundation science contest in December.

Jazz pianist Kevin Lee, 17, from Irvine, Calif., took the second prize and $75,000 cash reward in the Intel science contest for finding a new way to describe the rhythm of the heart as it beats. Such work could be used to better detect arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats.

William Kuszmaul, 17, from the Lexington, Mass., won third place and $50,000 for his mathematical work in an area called modular enumeration.

Forty finalists gathered in Washington to present their projects at the National Geographic Society this week, and the top 10 winners were announced at a gala Tuesday evening. More than 1,700 students entered the contest this year.

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