“You inspire us. You make us proud. You are worth all that many have invested in you. You are worthy of all that we hope for you.”Chairman of the Board of Intel Corporation Jane Shaw kicked off Friday’s Grand Award Ceremony at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair with inspiring words for the 1,611 high school student participants, 1,200 judges and assorted other teachers, parents, and fair organizers. Although the students reaped $4 Million in scholarships and awards, along with trips to the Nobel ceremonies, Europe, and Taipei, internships and much more, all of that pales in comparison to the real prizes they take with them. The Intel ISEF is their welcome into the scientific community. These young scientists – some as young as 14, up to a few 19 year olds – have done serious scientific research. Almost 25% have patented, or applied for patents on their work. In many cases their work would qualify as a Masters thesis – or even for a Ph.D. They have had defend their work in scientific discourse with the professors, researchers and working scientists and engineers who judge the competition. These kids are the real deal. Better than that, though, they come together at Intel ISEF and discover their peers, their community. The friendships they form in their week at Intel ISEF are the beginning of that network that sustains each scientist or engineer through their professional lives. It is exciting to get to be on the fringes of all that, knowing how important that experience is and will prove to be. “…This world comes to you with great challenges – but also with great opportunities. The good news is that each year we leave Intel ISEF inspired and reassured: you are more than capable of stepping up to those challenges, and will take full advantage of those opportunities.” It was a wonderful cap to an amazing week. It was inspiring to see the talent, hard work, enthusiasm, and simply great fun that all of those students embodied and experienced – students of every imaginable background, yet all sharing a common passion for scientific research, innovation and discovery. Paul Otellini personally presented Amy Chyao of Texas with the first ever Gordon E. Moore Award – given to the ‘best of the best’ of the entire competition. Her work in chemistry was especially appropriate for this award honoring Intel’s co-founder, himself a world-changing chemist. Also for the first time ever, the two winners of the Intel Foundation Young Scientists Awards were classmates from a single school – Kevin Ellis and Yale Fan of Catlin Gabel School here in Portland, Oregon. Both young men had also been Finalists at the Intel Science Talent Search. Kevin’s work was in computer science and Yale’s in physics. Students from 55 countries and 5 territories participated, many of them taking home awards, honors and scholarships. Seeing them – their talent and passion and willingness to take on the grand challenges of our time – is reassuring to this adult who is feeling some pangs about the world we are getting ready to hand off to them. Intel Rock Stars Ajay Bhatt, Taimur Burki, Lila Ibrahim, Genevieve Bell and Faye Briggs answered questions in a lively Q&A conducted with the help of Twitter. Intel VP and CIO Diane Bryant joined a panel of women technologists inspiring young women with their life stories. Four Nobel Laureates met with the students. I only wish all of you could have been there to share in the fun, excitement and inspiration. I hope I have given you at least a whiff of the experience here! The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of the Society for Science & the Public, is sponsored jointly by Intel and the Intel Foundation.
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