Intel Science Talent Search

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The 2002 Intel Science Talent Search finalist banquet, held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC, where the ten winners were announced and all 40 finalists were acknowledged.

The Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS), known for its first 57 years[1] as the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, is a research-based science competition in the United States for high school seniors. It has been referred to as "the nation's oldest and most prestigious" [2] science competition. In his speech at the dinner honoring the 1991 Winners, President George H. W. Bush called the competition the "Super Bowl of science."[3]


The Society for Science & the Public began the competition in 1942 with Westinghouse Electric Corporation; for many years, the competition was known as the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. In 1998, Intel became the sponsor after it outbid Siemens, which had acquired Westinghouse's power generation unit; Siemens subsequently sponsored its own competition. Over the years, some 147,000 students have entered the competition. Over 22,000 have been named semifinalists and 2,920 have traveled to Washington, D.C., as contest finalists. Collectively, they have received millions of dollars in scholarships and gone on, in later years, to capture Nobel Prizes, Fields Medals, MacArthur Fellowships and numerous other accolades.[4]

Awards as of 2013[5]
Level Award
First place $100,000
Second place $75,000
Third place $50,000
Fourth place $40,000
Fifth place $30,000
Sixth place $25,000
Seventh place $25,000
Eighth place $20,000
Ninth place $20,000
Tenth place $20,000
30 finalists $7,500

Entrants to the competition conduct original research—sometimes at home and sometimes by "working with leading research teams at universities, hospitals and private laboratories."[1] The selection process is highly competitive, and besides the research paper, letters of recommendation, essays, test scores, extracurricular activities, and high school transcripts may be factored in the selection of finalists and winners.

Each year, approximately 1,700 papers are submitted. The top 300 applicants are announced in mid-January with each Semifinalist and their school receiving $1,000. In late January, the 40 Finalists (the award winners) are informed. In March, the Finalists are flown to Washington, D.C. where they are interviewed for the top ten spots, which have awards ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 for the first prize winner. The judges have included Glenn T. Seaborg (Nobel Laureate with Edwin M. McMillan in Chemistry, 1951) and Joseph Hooton Taylor, Jr. (Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1993). The remaining 30 Finalists also receive $7,500 awards.[6]

Many Finalists and winners have gone on to receive higher honors in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology. Seven went on to receive Nobel Prizes, two earned the Fields Medal, three have been awarded the National Medal of Science, eleven received MacArthur Fellowships; 56 have been named Sloan Research Fellows; 30 have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences; and five have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.[1]

High Schools with the Most Winners[edit]

Since Intel took over sponsorship of the Science Talent Search in 1998, several schools have consistently produced a large number of semifinalists and finalists. Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD and Stuyvesant High School in New York, NY have produced the most winners over this time period and are the only schools averaging more than 10 semifinalists each year and more than 1 finalist each year. Blair and Stuyvesant are also the only schools with finalists in more than 10 of the past 16 years.

Ten schools, all of which are public schools (Stuyvesant High School, Montgomery Blair High School, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Ward Melville High School, Bronx High School of Science, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Byram Hills High School, Jericho High School, Great Neck North High School, and Great Neck South High School), have had semifinalists in each of the past 16 years.[7][8][9]

Schools with the Most Semifinalists and Finalists (1999–2014)
School City State Semi-finalists Finalists
Stuyvesant High School New York NY 178 22
Montgomery Blair High School Silver Spring MD 171 30
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Alexandria VA 142 10
Ward Melville High School East Setauket NY 124 12
Bronx High School of Science Bronx NY 122 9
Paul D. Schreiber High School Port Washington NY 81 6
Byram Hills High School Armonk NY 77 15
Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science Denton TX 70 10
Jericho High School Jericho NY 61 4
Great Neck North High School Great Neck NY 60 7
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Durham NC 53 3
The Harker School San Jose CA 51 6
Midwood High School Brooklyn NY 49 5
Lawrence High School Cedarhurst NY 49 3
Ossining High School Ossining NY 48 1
Illinois Math and Science Academy Aurora IL 43 9
Great Neck South High School Great Neck NY 24 2
John F. Kennedy High School Bellmore NY 26 2

List of Prominent Scientists who were Past Finalists / Top-10 Winners[edit]

Scientist Year Placed[10] School
Robert Kraichnan 1944 2nd boy
Ben Mottelson 1944 Finalist Lyons Township High School
Leon Cooper 1947 Finalist Bronx High School of Science
Walter Gilbert 1949 Finalist Sidwell Friends High School
Sheldon Glashow 1950 Finalist Bronx High School of Science
David Mumford 1953 Finalist Phillips Exeter Academy
Roald Hoffmann 1955 Finalist Stuyvesant High School
Gary A. Wegner 1963 Finalist Bothell High School
Frank Wilczek 1967 Finalist Martin Van Buren High School
Eric Lander 1974 1st Place Stuyvesant High School
Paul Zeitz 1975 1st Place Stuyvesant High School
Richard H. Ebright 1977 Finalist Muhlenberg High School
Lisa Randall 1980 1st Place Stuyvesant High School
Brian Greene 1980 Finalist Stuyvesant High School
Noam Elkies 1981 Finalist Stuyvesant High School
Jordan Ellenberg 1989 2nd Place Winston Churchill High School
Maneesh Agrawala 1990 Finalist Montgomery Blair High School
Christopher Bouton 1992 Finalist Saint Ann's School (New York City)
Wei-Hwa Huang 1993 6th Place Montgomery Blair High School
Jacob Lurie 1996 1st Place Montgomery Blair High School
Feng Zhang 2000 3rd Place Theodore Roosevelt High School


  1. ^ a b c "Finalists Named in 57th Annual Westinghouse Science Talent Search" (Press release). PR Newswire. January 26, 1998. Retrieved 2010-04-22. 
  2. ^ Ramírez, Eddy (February 1, 2008). "Stuyvesant High School Students Ace the Intel Competition". U.S.News & World Report. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  3. ^ Huler, Scott (April 15, 1991). "Nurturing Science's Young Elite: Westinghouse Talent Search". The Scientist. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  4. ^ "Science Talent Search Through the Years". Society for Science and the Public. 
  5. ^ "Teens win big for their research". Society for Science & the Public. March 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Intel Science Talent Search". Intel Education. Retrieved 17 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "Science Talent Search Past Results". Internet Wayback Machine: Society for Science & the Public. 1999–2005.  Check date values in: |archivedate= (help)
  8. ^ "Past STS Results". Society for Science & the Public. 2006–2009. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Science Talent Search Through the Years". Society for Science & the Public. 2010–2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "Science Talent Search Through the Years". Society for Science & the Public. 

External links[edit]