Science Talent Search Names 40 Finalists

Article excerpt

Forty high school students have been selected to compete for $205,000 in scholarships in the 55th annual Westinghouse Science Talent Search. The finalists, chosen from 1,869 entrants at 735 high schools in the United States, plan to attend the Science Talent Institute from March 6 to 11 in Washington, D.C. There they will be awarded scholarships ranging from $40,000 to $1,000 at a ceremony on March 11.

The number of entrants this year ranks as the second-highest in the competition's history, surpassed only by the 2,075 students who competed in 1970. During the final judging in March, the finalists are scheduled to undergo intensive interviews by a panel of 12 scientists, including J. Richard Gott, an astrophysicist at Princeton University, and Dudley R. Herschbach, a chemist at Harvard University and 1986 Nobel laureate.

While the projects range widely across the sciences, including astronomy, medicine, and the social sciences, biology proved the most popular field among finalists, with seven entries. Mathematics ranked second, with five projects, and physics yielded four.

The 25 male and 15 female finalists, ranging in age from 16 to 18, represent 2.1 percent of total competitors and hail from 34 U.S. cities in 12 states. This year's competition attracted high school seniors from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. New York State produced the largest number of winners, with 16 finalists, 5 of whom live in New York City.

California produced six finalists, and Virginia turned out four.

Stuyvesant High School in New York City yielded four finalists, the largest number for a single high school this year. It was followed by Stanton College Preparatory School in Jacksonville, Fla., which produced two.

"I am continually impressed with the caliber of work presented by these young scientists," says Alfred S. McLaren, president of Science Service, Inc., which in partnership with the Westinghouse Foundation has conducted the competition since 1942. "Their enthusiasm for learning and their dedication to finding scientific solutions to the complex situations that face us nationally and internationally should reassure us all that these truly will be leaders and teachers of tomorrow."

Among previous finalists, five have gone on to win Nobel prizes, and two have earned the Fields Medal, the highest honor in mathematics. …