As the Society and participants around the world gear up for Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) 2017 in Los Angeles, California, we’re highlighting several Special Award Organizations (SAO). These SAO’s honor several Intel ISEF finalists with awards such as tuition scholarships, math software, and more.
One SAO, the American Mathematical Society (AMS), has been involved with Intel ISEF for almost 30 years. AMS offers a first place award of $2,000, a second place award of $1,000, and a third place award of $500. Read our interview with AMS Public Awareness Officer Mike Breen below.
WHY DO YOU SUPPORT INTEL ISEF? WHY ARE SCIENCE FAIRS LIKE INTEL ISEF IMPORTANT: The AMS has been part of the fair for almost 30 years, giving the Menger Award to top math projects, and is proud to support the Intel ISEF because it supports the best young minds on the planet. The research that we see every year by high school students is truly outstanding and we are happy to encourage these students in their pursuit of new knowledge. Science fairs give students a chance to do something out of the ordinary and pursue their own ideas. Certainly people should absorb knowledge, but when doing a science fair project, students become part of the active process of asking questions and advancing knowledge.
The American Mathematical Society is proud to support the Intel ISEF because it supports the best young minds on the planet.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR THE AMS TO SUPPORT STEM: As you might expect, we’re very big on the last letter of STEM (you might say that we Mphasize it as much as possible), yet we are interested in other fields as well. Much of mathematics research explicitly benefits the other fields, but even the research that does not have an immediate application often does find a way to produce benefits in other areas.
When doing a science fair project, students become part of the active process of asking questions and advancing knowledge.
A perfect example is a result about properties of numbers that was formulated in the 1600s and proven in the 1700s. That result is the basis for the technological innovation that allows us to encrypt information, such as credit card numbers, online. It is a beautiful result in its own right, discovered centuries before there were computers, that now makes online commerce possible.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR BUSINESSES AND THE GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT SCIENTISTS OF THE FUTURE: Businesses, countries, and mankind itself advance via discovery. It’s essential to progress. Businesses must ask themselves “How can we do this better?” A business or country that does not progress will eventually fail. This country advanced in many ways and the influx of bright, creative people was a major factor in our advancement. The students who participate in Intel ISEF have the sharp, inquisitive minds that drive discovery and fuel innovation. Supporting these students not only makes sense — it makes dollars and cents.
The students who participate in Intel ISEF have the sharp, inquisitive minds that drive discovery and fuel innovation.
ADVICE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN SCIENCE AND MATH: Basically, follow your dream. I don’t mean to imply that if you dream that you can fly like a bird, then you should pursue that, but if you do have an idea or a subject that really interests you, you should pursue it.
ANYTHING ELSE TO ADD: Good luck to all the participants. The American Mathematical Society congratulates you on a job well done.
Intel ISEF 2017 takes place May 14-19. The Special Award Ceremony winners will be announced on May 18.