6 Bay Area students finalists in Intel science contest

January 26, 2011 1:49:37 PM PST
Six Bay Area high school seniors are being surprised Wednesday with the news that they have been chosen to travel to Washington, D.C., as finalists in a national science competition.

The Intel Science Talent Search competition has selected 40 finalists from across the country to vie for the top prize of $100,000 from the Intel Foundation.

This year, a record number of finalists hail from California -- and specifically from the Bay Area -- with six out of the 11 California finalists coming from schools in Palo Alto, Cupertino, San Jose, San Ramon and Saratoga.

"The last three years the finalists in California have been grown form five, to eight, to eleven," Intel spokeswoman Julie Dunkle said.

In past years, the highest number of Bay Area students selected as finalists was four, Intel said.

The Society for Science and the Public, an organization dedicated to engaging the public in science, has managed the contest since its 1942 debut. This year marks the 13th year that Intel has partnered with the organization.

Two students from The Harker School in San Jose were selected, as well as one student each from Gunn High School in Palo Alto, Cupertino High School in Cupertino, Venture School in San Ramon and Saratoga High School in Saratoga.

Students were chosen based on reports they submitted detailing their science projects.

Local projects include an exploration of square-root mathematics, the investigation of post-organ-transplant cell signaling pathways and the creation of hydrogen fuel using water and sunlight.

Intel "prize patrols" are surprising students in their classrooms today with oversized boarding passes for all-expenses-paid trips to Washington, D.C.

Starting March 10, the finalists will undergo a weeklong judging process and display their research at the National Geographic Society.

The winners will be announced at a black-tie awards gala at the National Building Museum on Mar. 15.