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]

On September 9, 2015, Intel announced that it was ending its sponsorship.[4]


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 several other companies.[5] 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.[6]

Eight went on to receive Nobel Prizes, two earned the Fields Medal, five have been awarded the National Medal of Science, twelve 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.[6]

The Competition[edit]

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.

Awards as of 2015[7]
Award Prize
Basic Research Medal $150,000
Global Good Medal $150,000
Innovation Medal $150,000
Second place (3 awards) $75,000
Third place (3 awards) $35,000
31 Finalists $7,500

Each year, approximately 1,700 papers are submitted. The top 300 applicants are announced in mid-January and since 1999-2000 each Semifinalist and their school has received $1,000 from Intel.[8] 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 $35,000 to $150,000 for the medal winners. 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). All Finalists receive awards of at least $7,500.[7]

Where Winners Come From[edit]

Since the beginning of the competition, students from New York have done very well in the Science Talent Search, although there have been finalists from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Certain high schools have been particularly successful at placing semifinalists and finalists in the Science Talent Search.

Top States[edit]

New York has had by far the most finalists in the competition, followed by California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, Virginia, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Texas. [9][10]

Top States for Intel Finalists (1942-2015)
State Finalists
New York 959
California 256
Illinois 173
Pennsylvania 117
New Jersey 111
Maryland 107
Florida 106
Virginia 97
Massachusetts 90
Ohio 87
Texas 85

Leading High Schools in the Intel Era[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.

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 every year that Intel has sponsored the competition.[11][12][13][14][15][16]

Schools with the Most Semifinalists and Finalists (1999–2015)
School City State Semi-finalists Finalists
Montgomery Blair High School Silver Spring MD 183 32
Stuyvesant High School New York NY 180 22
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Alexandria VA 148 10
Bronx High School of Science Bronx NY 130 9
Ward Melville High School East Setauket NY 126 12
Paul D. Schreiber High School Port Washington NY 82 6
Byram Hills High School Armonk NY 78 15
Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science Denton TX 76 11
The Harker School San Jose CA 66 9
Jericho High School Jericho NY 64 6
Great Neck North High School Great Neck NY 62 7
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Durham NC 61 3
Ossining High School Ossining NY 53 2
Midwood High School Brooklyn NY 50 5
Bergen County Academies Hackensack NJ 49 6
Lawrence High School Cedarhurst NY 49 3
Illinois Math and Science Academy Aurora IL 43 9
Great Neck South High School Great Neck NY 41 5
John F. Kennedy High School Bellmore NY 38 3
Lynbrook High School San Jose CA 25 5
Greenwich High School Greenwich CT 22 3


List of Prominent Individuals who were Past Finalists[edit]

Finalist[6] Year Placed[29] High School Notoriety
Robert Kraichnan 1944 2nd boy National Academy of Sciences
Andrew Sessler 1945 Finalist National Academy of Sciences
Ben Mottelson 1944 Finalist Lyons Township High School 1975 Nobel Prize in Physics
Leon Cooper 1947 Finalist Bronx High School of Science 1972 Nobel Prize in Physics
Martin Karplus 1947 Top Boy 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Ronald Breslow 1948 Top Boy 1991 National Medal of Science
Walter Gilbert 1949 Finalist Sidwell Friends School 1980 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Sheldon Glashow 1950 Finalist Bronx High School of Science 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics
Paul Cohen 1950 Finalist Stuyvesant High School 1966 Fields Medal
David Mumford 1953 Finalist Phillips Exeter Academy 1974 Fields Medal
Joanna Russ 1953 Top Ten William Howard Taft High School Hugo and Nebula Awards, author of The Female Man
Marcian Hoff 1954 Top Ten 2009 National Medal of Technology and Innovation
Roald Hoffmann 1955 Finalist Stuyvesant High School 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Leroy Hood 1958 Finalist Shelby High School 2011 National Medal of Science
Gary A. Wegner 1963 Finalist Bothell High School Humboldt Prize
Ray Kurzweil 1965 Finalist Martin Van Buren High School 1999 National Medal of Technology and Innovation
Frank Wilczek 1967 Finalist Martin Van Buren High School 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics
Roger Y. Tsien 1968 1st Place Livingston High School 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Eric Lander 1974 1st Place Stuyvesant High School 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
Paul Zeitz 1975 1st Place Stuyvesant High School USAMO
Richard H. Ebright 1977 Finalist Muhlenberg High School American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow
Lisa Randall 1980 1st Place Stuyvesant High School National Academy of Sciences
Brian Greene 1980 Finalist Stuyvesant High School The Elegant Universe
Noam Elkies 1981 Finalist Stuyvesant High School 2004 Levi L. Conant Prize
Jordan Ellenberg 1989 2nd Place Winston Churchill High School American Mathematical Society Fellow
Maneesh Agrawala 1990 Finalist Montgomery Blair High School 2009 MacArthur Fellowship
Christopher Bouton 1992 Finalist Saint Ann's School (New York City) Entagen
Wei-Hwa Huang 1993 6th Place Montgomery Blair High School World Puzzle Championship 1995, 1997-1999
Jacob Lurie 1996 1st Place Montgomery Blair High School 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics
Feng Zhang 2000 3rd Place Theodore Roosevelt High School 2012 NIH Director's Pioneer Award


  1. ^ a b "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. ^ Hardy, Quentin (Sep 9, 2015). "Intel to End Sponsorship of Science Talent Search". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ "Intel Corp. To Sponsor Annual Science Contest". Education Weekly. 1 April 1998. 
  6. ^ a b c "Science Talent Search Alumni Honors". Society for Science and the Public. 
  7. ^ a b "Intel Science Talent Search Triples Top Award Amounts For 2015". Society for Science and the Public. 18 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "Intel Science Talent Search Awards increase to $1.2 million a year". Internet Wayback Machine: Society for Science & the Public. 1999–2000. 
  9. ^ "Science Talent Search Through the Years". Society for Science & the Public. 1942–2014. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Intel Science Talent Search 2015 Finalists". Society for Science & the Public. 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  11. ^ Schank, Hana (12 March 2015). "Science Fairs Aren't So Fair". The Atlantic. 
  12. ^ "Science Talent Search Past Results". Internet Wayback Machine: Society for Science & the Public. 1999–2007. 
  13. ^ "Past STS Results". Society for Science & the Public. 2006–2009. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  14. ^ "Science Talent Search Through the Years". Society for Science & the Public. 2004–2014. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "Intel STS 2015 Semifinalists". Society for Science & the Public. 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "Intel STS 2015 Finalists". Society for Science & the Public. 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "40 Top High School Scientists Gather in Washington". Associated Press. Mar 4, 1989. 
  18. ^ "NY Schools Lead Nation in Westinghouse Science Finalists". Associated Press. Jan 26, 1990. 
  19. ^ "Minutes of the Board of Education" (PDF). Montgomery County Board of Education. May 8, 1990. 
  20. ^ Nieves, Evelyn (Jan 25, 1991). "50 Westinghouse Years, 50 New York Triumphs". The New York Times. 
  21. ^ Berger, Joseph (Jan 29, 1992). "Stuyvesant Shines Again in Westinghouse Awards". The New York Times. 
  22. ^ "In a Minority District in Maryland, A Magnet School That Really Draws". The New York Times. Mar 3, 1993. 
  23. ^ "Westinghouse Science Contest Honors 14 New York Students". The New York Times. Jan 24, 1994. 
  24. ^ "L.I. Youth Among Winners In National Science Contest". The New York Times. Mar 14, 1995. 
  25. ^ "Westinghouse Science Talent Search Finalists Arrive in Washington". PR Newswire Association. Mar 8, 1995. 
  26. ^ "Science talent search names 40 finalists". Science Service. Jan 27, 1996. 
  27. ^ Belluck, Pam (Jan 28, 1997). "Long Island Dominates Science Contest". The New York Times. 
  28. ^ "The 40 Westinghouse Science Talent Search Finalists". The New York Times. Jan 27, 1998. 
  29. ^ "Science Talent Search Through the Years". Society for Science & the Public. 

External links[edit]