May 12, 2010

Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair Opens Doors in San Jose

Unless you’ve been there, it’s probably difficult to imagine the rock star atmosphere that accompanies opening day of Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Last night, the San Jose Convention Center opened its doors to 1616 talented high school students from 59 countries, all of whom are competing to win over $4 million in prizes and scholarships. And I guarantee the place was rocking.

Here’s a secret: ISEF is fun. It’s a week of drama, excitement, and new friends. It’s also the most amazing forum in the world for high school students to showcase their talents and be recognized for groundbreaking independent research on an international stage.

Colleges and universities recruiting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students love the credential at any level of competition—local to international. They’re all looking for the next Nobel Laureates or Rocket Boys, and this is where they find them!

Each year, millions of students worldwide compete in local science fairs with projects spanning the spectrum of scientific research. Winners go on to participate in ISEF-affiliated regional, state and national fairs where they can earn the opportunity to attend the Intel ISEF.

And, there’s serious money at stake. Dozens of sponsors offer prize money and really amazing scholarships from corporations, nonprofit organizations, a host of federal agencies, as well as a number of colleges and universities.

In San Jose, ISEF Best of Category winners will take home $5000 scholarships and $1000 grants for their school and the ISEF-affiliated fairs they represent. Grand Prize awards will be presented in each of 17 ISEF categories (and for teams) in increments ranging from $500 to $3000 for first place.

This year, Intel is celebrating the 61st year of ISEF by offering the biggest prize yet—the Gordon E. Moore Award, named for the co-founder of the Intel Corporation. The 2010 winner of the Gordon E. Moore Award will be selected on the basis innovative research and will be recognized with an award in the amount of $75,000.

Local regional fairs including Montgomery, Fairfax, Arlington, and Prince Georges Counties, as well DC, Baltimore, and Richmond will be sending students to San Jose. Fairfax County alone has a slate of 12 competitors representing Chantilly, Fairfax, Langley, Madison, Oakton, and Thomas Jefferson High Schools. Montgomery County is represented by 6 students; DC has 2 competitors; and the Prince George Area Science Fair is sending two students.

You can keep up with daily events and get the first word on winners by logging on to the Science for Society & the Public homepage or the Inspired by Education website. Photos are being uploaded daily on the ISEF Flickr group, and you can get the latest ISEF news via Facebook.

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