$100k Siemens High School Science Prize Good for Way More Than Wedgies


A Student Poster at This Year’s Siemens Competition Finals

A spiffy crystal-growing project or “ocean in a bottle” might take home the blue ribbon at the local science fair. But the projects get a bit more sophisticated at the national level, and the prize money awarded at the national competitions reflects that sophistication. Until about ten years ago, the most a kid could
expect to win was $40,000.

Then came Siemens, whose whopper of a cash booty catapulted high school science competitions into high gear. It’s one of two national science competitions (along with the Intel Science
Talent Search
) that offers $100,000 in scholarship money to the winner.

At this year’s finals, held at NYU over the weekend, the list of projects
included a urine test to detect colorectal cancer, a new method for
using nanoparticles to deliver insulin and other medications, and
high-tech archeological analysis. The winners were just announced, with a project on chemotherapy resistance taking the individual award and an advanced mathematics project winning the team category (each project got $100,000). All 17 students in the finals will win at least some money, though. Even last place garners a $10,000 scholarship.