Indian American wins top prize in US science talent search

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Indian American wins top prize in US science talent search
  • Nithin Reddy Tumma has won first place and $100,000 in the prestigious Intel Science Talent competition.
Indian American teenager Nithin Reddy Tumma has won a whopping $100,000 prize in the prestigious Intel Science Talent competition for his research on devising a more effective and less toxic breast cancer treatment.

Tumma, 17, from Michigan won the top honours in the competition that also saw two other Indian Americans - Neel Patel from Florida and Anirudh Prabhu from Indiana - finding a place in the top 10.

The winners overcame tough competition from a group of 40 finalists, seven of them Indian Americans, in what is touted as the toughest national science competition. The 40 finalists met President Barack Obama at the White House Tuesday.

Tumma analysed the molecular mechanisms in cancer cells and found that by inhibiting certain proteins, the growth of cancer cells may be slowed and their malignancy decreased.

Tumma is first in his class of 332, a varsity tennis player and a volunteer for the Port Huron Museum, where he started a restoration effort for historical and cultural landmarks.

Placed sixth, Neel Patel of Florida received a $25,000 award for studying how non-speech patterns of sounds called sonifications can convey information, which could lead to a computer-user interface as revolutionary as the graphical interface was 30 years ago.

Prabhu from Indiana received a $25,000 for the seventh spot for his investigation of the odd-perfect number problem, and his suggestion that odd perfect numbers do not exist.

Andrey Sushko, 17, of Washington State, won the $75,000 second prize for his development of a tiny motor, only 7 mm in diameter, which uses the surface tension of water to turn its shaft.

Mimi Yen, 17, of Brooklyn, won the third prize of $50,000 for her study of evolution and genetics that focuses on microscopic worms, specifically looking at their sex habits and hermaphrodite tendencies.


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