Oct 4, 2012

2012 Davidson Fellows make Positive Contributions to Society

The Fellows were recognized at the National Museum of the American Indian
Last night the Davidson Institute for Talent Development honored 22 very special high school students at a reception in the central hall of the National Museum of the American Indian. Each student completed a significant piece of work or a project demonstrating unusual talent, creativity, or originality, and each was presented with a scholarship of $10,000, $25,000, or $50,000—with very few strings attached.

Since 2001, Davidson has awarded nearly $5 million to 206 brilliant young scientists, mathematicians, musicians, and writers.
This year’s awardees included a student who developed algae as an effective source for biodiesel, and another published a novel about a war veteran with paranoid schizophrenia. Locally, Saumil Bandyopadhyay, of Glen Allen, Virginia, invented a universal photon and particle detector that has potential applications in mine detection, car collision avoidance systems, and cancer treatment.

Similar to the MacArthur Foundation “genius grants,” Davidson fellowships are awarded on the basis of “significant work” that experts in the field recognize as having potential to make a positive contribution to society. According to the Davidson website, the work may be:

  • an exceptionally creative application of existing knowledge
  •  a new idea with high impact
  • an innovative solution with broad-range implications
  • an important advancement that can be replicated and built upon
  • an interdisciplinary discovery
  • a prodigious performance
  • another demonstration of extraordinary accomplishment

Applications may be submitted in any one of eight different categories, including science, mathematics, technology, engineering, music, literature, philosophy, and “outside the box.” Group and team projects are not eligible. 
Note that this year the age limit was expanded to include students 18 years of age and youngerThere is no minimum age for eligibility.

The Davidson fellowships are made possible through the generosity of Bob and Jan Davidson—the geniuses behind children’s educational software such as “Math Blaster” and “Reading Blaster.” The scholarships are one component of a multifaceted program intended to support extraordinary talent among young people.

The deadline for next year’s competition is February 6, 2013, and application forms are now available from the Davidson Institute. To learn more about the fellowship or download the 2013 application, go directly to the Davidson website.

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