MANHASSET, NY The 2010 Intel Science Talent Search has announced the ten top awards from the 40 high school senior finalists in the yearly talent search event.
Erika DeBenedictis, 18, of Albuquerque, N.M., won $100,000 for the top award for developing a software navigation system to help improve spacecraft travel through the solar system.
The Intel Foundation honored DeBenedictis for describing how the gravity and movement of planets create "easy transit routes," which will ultimately help spacecraft move faster and with less fuel.
David Liu, 18, of Saratoga, Calif., won second place and $75,000 for his work to develop a system to recognize and understand digital images. Aerial images have already been examined using his system to identify hazards to buried oil pipelines and could also be used to enable unmanned aerial vehicles and Web-based image searches.
Third place honors and $50,000 went to Akhil Mathew, 18, of Madison, N.J., for his math project on Deligne categories, a setting for studying a wide range of algebraic structures with ties to theoretical physics.
Other top honors from the competition include:
Fourth Place: Lynnelle Ye, 18, Palo Alto, Calif., received a $40,000 award for her project that provided strategies for winning at a computer game titled "Graph Chomp."
Fifth Place: Eric Brooks, 16, Hewlett, N.Y., received a $30,000 award for his research studying racial genetic factors that may affect the spread of prostate cancer.
Sixth Place: John Capodilupo, 18, of Grand Rapids, Mich., received a $25,000 award for his project that used cluster analysis of objects in the night sky to study the structure and evolution of the early universe.
Seventh Place: Benjamen Sun, 17, of Grand Forks, N.D., received a $25,000 award for his work studying how sand, dust and other debris on city streets can adsorb pollutants from rain and, thus, contaminate city water sources.
Eighth Place: Katherine Rudolph, 18, of Naperville, Ill., received a $20,000 award for her math project that investigated dense packing of identical spheres, the results of which can be used in fields from chemistry to cryptology.
Ninth Place: Yale Fan, 18, of Beaverton, Ore., received a $20,000 award for his research that demonstrated the advantages of quantum computing in performing difficult computations.
Tenth Place: Linda Zhou, 18, of River Edge, N.J., received a $20,000 award for her project that researched how to reverse drug resistance in breast cancer cells.
Of the 1,736 high school seniors who entered the Intel Science Talent Search 2010, 300 were announced as semifinalists in January. Of those, 40 were chosen as finalists and invited to Washington, D.C., to compete for the top 10 awards.
The remaining 30 finalists each received at least $7,500 in awards.
Ongoing updates about the Intel Science Talent Search 2010 can be followed on the Facebook group.
"These 40 Intel Science Talent Search finalists demonstrate that we have the capability in this country to cultivate the next generation of innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs," said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini, in a statement.