Following a week-long celebration of science at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Intel Corporation and Society for Science & the Public announced the top award winners for 2015.
Raymond Wang, 17, Vancouver, of British Columbia, Canada, received top honors with the Gordon E. Moore Award and a USD 75,000 prize. Karan Jerath, 18, of Friendsood, Texas, and Nicole Sabina Ticea, 16, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, each received an Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award and a USD 50,000 scholarship.
In addition, more than 400 Intel ISEF competitors received scholarships and prizes for innovative research presented at the competition. This included 20 "Best of Category" winners, as well as grants to the winners' schools and their Intel ISEF-affiliated fairs.
Intel ISEF awards included more than USD 5 million in scholarships and prizes.
Raymond Wang, 17, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, received the Gordon E. Moore Award of $75,000 for his research on curbing disease transmission in an aircraft cabin by adjusting airflow. His project, which demonstrated a keen understanding of computational fluid dynamics and innovative prototyping, involved creating 32 simulations to track the movement of pathogens in the airflow of a Boeing 737 cabin. Wang then identified a way to alter airflow to improve the availability of fresh air by more than 190 percent, while reducing pathogen concentrations by up to 55 times, compared to conventional designs. Wang’s proposed modifications can be easily and economically incorporated into existing aircraft, saving countless lives in the event of a future pandemic.
Runners-up honors went to two individuals named as Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award winners. Each of these students received USD 50,000 in scholarship funds for their ground-breaking projects. Karan Jerath, 18, of Friendswood, Texas, refined and tested a novel device that could allow an undersea oil well to rapidly and safely recover in the event of a blowout. His work was inspired when the Deepwater Horizon well spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico five years ago because a cofferdam (a containment enclosure) deployed to the site failed to stop the leak. Jerath developed a better cofferdam that separates natural gas, oil, and ocean water, plus accommodates different water depths, pipe sizes, and fluid compositions. His design also allows for the injection of warm nitrogen to prevent the formation of methane hydrate, which can clog a system. Through simulations, Jerath demonstrated that his cofferdam has the potential to function at undersea depths where oil is currently being produced.
Nicole Sabina Ticea, 16, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, developed a low-cost, easy-to-use testing device to diagnose HIV infections in low-resource communities. Her invention, a disposable, self-contained, electricity-free microfluidic cartridge, costs less than $5.00 to produce and requires only a small drop of blood to obtain a readout, making it ideal for testing newborn babies. Unlike conventional enzyme-linked, immuno-sorbent assays based on an antibody response, Ticea’s approach is based on recognition of HIV RNA, and can provide results in just 60 minutes. Ticea has founded a company (of which she is chief science officer) to further develop her technology. Additionally, her approach could be used to combat other diseases, such as malaria.