First place for young scientists
Breaking a three-year dry spell for Indian-Americans, two 17-year-old high school students have won the top prize of USD 150,000 with their medical-related projects in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search contest, the society for Science and Public (SSP) has announced.
Although Indian-Americans have formed one of the largest ethnic contingents year after year at the contest and won several prizes, none had won the top prize since 2012 when Nithin Reddy Tumma received it for cancer research. Two of the USD 75,000 second prizes, and two of the USD 35,000 third place prizes this year were also bagged by Indian diaspora teenagers.
Amol Punjabi won the First Place Medal of Distinction for basic research for developing a software that could help drug makers develop new therapies for cancer and heart disease. He is from Marlborough in Massachusetts. Maya Varma's smartphone-based lung function analyzer won her the First Place Medal of Distinction for innovation. Maya Verma used USD 35 worth of hobbyist electronics and free computer-aided design tools to create the low-cost device that diagnoses lung disease as accurately as expensive devices currently used in medical laboratories, the SSP said. She is from Cupertino in California.