From medical treatments to alternative energy solutions, innovation has been top of mind in our nation’s capital this week. Honoring high school seniors with exceptional promise in math and science, Intel Corporation and Society for Science & the Public (SSP) recognized the winners of the nation’s most elite and demanding high school research competition, the Intel Science Talent Search.
Nithin Tumma, 17, of Fort Gratiot, Mich., won the top award of $100,000 from the Intel Foundation for his research, which could lead to more direct, targeted, effective and less toxic breast cancer treatments. He analyzed the molecular mechanisms in cancer cells and found that by inhibiting certain proteins, we may be able to slow the growth of cancer cells and decrease their malignancy. Nithin is first in his class of 332, a varsity tennis player and a volunteer for the Port Huron Museum, where he started a restoration effort for historical and cultural landmarks.
Second place honors and $75,000 went to Andrey Sushko, 17, of Richland, Wash., for his
development of a tiny motor, only 7 mm (almost 1/4 inch) in diameter, which uses the surface
tension of water to turn its shaft. Born in Russia, Andrey worked from home to create his
miniature motor, which could pave the way for other micro-robotic devices. Andrey, a long-time builder of small boats, recently filed for a Guinness World Record for the smallest radiocontrolled sailing yacht.
Third place honors and $50,000 went to Mimi Yen, 17, of Brooklyn, N.Y., for her study
of evolution and genetics, which focuses on microscopic worms, specifically looking at their sex habits and hermaphrodite tendencies. Mimi believes that through research such as hers, we may better understand the genes that contribute to behavioral variations in humans. Mimi was born in Honduras and is fluent in Cantonese. She plays French horn and volunteers to prepare and deliver meals to people with serious illnesses.
These finalists join the ranks of other notable Science Talent Search alumni who over the
past 70 years have gone on to win seven Nobel Prizes, two Fields Medals, four National Medals of Science, 11 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships and even an Academy Award for Best