drmanhattan.jpgTwenty-six high school students from around the Bay Area are being honored today as semifinalists in a national science competition held annually by a Santa Clara-based tech company.

Each year, the Intel Science Talent Search awards scholarships to some of the nation’s brightest science students, and the Bay Area is home to 26 of the 300 semifinalists in this year’s competition, including seven from the same school in San Jose.

Competitors submit reports with details of their science projects to be judged by a panel of the nation’s top scientists on original research ability, broad scientific knowledge and creative thinking.

Each semifinalist receives a $1,000 scholarship and another $1,000 for their high school.
The Harker School in San Jose is the first California school to have seven semifinalists in the history of the competition, which was first held in 1942, according to organizers.

The 41 semifinalists California produced this year is also the largest number in one state in the history of the competition.

Other Bay Area semifinalists include students from Lynbrook High School and Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, Gunn High School in Palo Alto, Aragon High School in San Mateo, Monta Vista and Cupertino high schools in Cupertino, Foothill High School and Venture School in Pleasanton, and Saratoga High School in Saratoga.

“Prize patrols” from Intel will be going to the students’ schools today to surprise them with the news and give them oversized checks and balloons.

On Jan. 26, 40 finalists will be named, and each will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March to compete for more than $630,000 in awards, including a top prize of $100,000.

Last year, two students from the South Bay finished second and fourth in the competition.

Since the competition started nearly 70 years ago, former finalists have gone on to win Nobel Prizes, Fields Medals, the National Medal of Science, and MacArthur Foundation fellowships.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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