Intel Drops Famed Science Competition

Intel Drops Famed Science Competition

NO SCIENCE COMPETITION? Intel Corp., kingpin of the microprocessor, is dropping its support for the Science Talent Search, the most prestigious math and science competition for high school students.

Cost savings? $6 million a year.

Brand damage? Incalculable.

The Science Talent Search, sponsored by the nonprofit Society for Science & the Public (SSP), was widely known for generations as the Westinghouse Science Prize until Intel took it over in 1998. It started as an essay competition in 1949. And over the years, eight Nobel laureates and many industry and government leaders have been proud to be competitors.

The New York Times quotes former Intel CEO Craig Barrett as saying he's “surprised and a little disappointed” by Intel’s decision.

All told, about 149,000 students have applied for the prize—about 1,800 students every year. Forty finalists get to go to the White House and meet the President.

The prize is managed by the Society for Science and the Public, which says it will start looking for a new sponsor today. Intel will keep hosting the prize through the end of 2017.

Applications for this season's prize are due in early November.

Let's hope that some of America's companies, which tout the need for great scientists and mathematicians, will step up.

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