January 2013 | Society for Science

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January 2013

january 2013, Issue 3 volume 1


Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalists Announced

On January 9, Society for Science & the Public and Intel jointly announced the 300 semifinalists of the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) 2013. Visit the Semifinalist page to see a full listing of selected students and learn more about STS semifinalists on Facebook over the next several weeks.

"Together with Intel, we congratulate these exceptional students, look forward to watching their future progress, and commend the mentors, teachers, schools, parents, and communities that have contributed to theis success," said Elizabeth Marincola, president of Society for Science & the Public.

Semifinalists are high school seniors selected from a pool of more than 1,700 entrants by a distinguished panel of evaluators based on the independent scientific reseach of applicants. Forty Intel STS finalists will be announced on January 23.

Finalists will travel to Washington, DC for the Intel Science Talent Institute in March, where they will compete for the top prize of $100,000.


Janet Raloff at the real South Pole (the point from which any point, in any direction, is north).

Science News for Kids and Science News editor Janet Raloff recently traveled to Antartica to report on the climate and environment. She's hosting a Q&A on Reddit TODAY (Friday, January 11) and will be online throughout the weekend. She will answer questions about  her experience there, what she saw, what she will be reporting on, and more. You can also send questions about Janet's experience in to us at pthornton@societyforscience.org.


A drawing of the planet 55 Cancri e, orbiting its parent star with some of its companions. As much as one-third of the planet may be diamond, a new study suggests. Credit: Haven Giguere

A planet orbiting a distant star is probably unlike any of the hundreds yet discovered. Scientists say that about one-third of this incredibly hot, barren world — larger than Earth — could be made from diamonds. Read more.


Nithin Tumma at Intel STS 2012 Public Day  Credit: IML Photogaphy, SSP.

Three SSP alumni were selected to be featured in Mashable's 14 Most Inspirational Kids of 2012: Nithin Tumma, Intel STS 2012 top winner; Jack Andraka, Intel ISEF 2012 top winner; and Marian Bechtel, Intel STS 2012 Seaborg Award winner.

alumni updates

 Credit: National Science Foundation

In December 2012, S. James Gates, Jr., SSP Board member, and Lee Hood, Science Talent Search 1956 finalist, were selected to receive the National Medal of Science. 

2012's top story; Higgs discovery helps make sense of matter. Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller

Science News Selects Top 25 Articles of 2012

By Matt Crenson

When it came to choosing the year’s best stories, the editors of Science News applied a simple criterion: we picked the ones that kept us up at night.

The top two stories on our list had us working the graveyard shift. In the wee hours of July 4, we tuned in as physicists in Geneva held a morning (their time) seminar announcing the discovery of the long-sought Higgs boson. The next month found us working in our PJ’s yet again, this time as NASA’s Curiosity rover executed a spectacular touchdown on Mars in the early morning of August 6.

Then there were the stories that thwarted our sleep with their terrifying implications. In June, researchers described in two controversial papers how easily bird flu can be mutated to render it capable of airborne transmission. And if global pandemic flu wasn’t enough to keep us staring at the ceiling, we could rest assured that no rest would come from pondering a warming trend that, far from being a theoretical concern for the distant future, is a clear and present danger.

Read more in Science News.

Intel ISEF 2012 Team Finalist badge distributed to a beta test group.

SSP Issues First Set of Digital Achievement Badges

This summer, Intel and Society for Science & the Public won a grant for $150,000 in the fourth Digital Media and Learning Competition, held in conjunction with the Mozilla Foundation and supported by the MacArthur Foundation. This 12-month grant is funding the development of badge systems built around SSP’s premier high school science competitions, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) and the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS).

In December, the first set of Intel ISEF badges was issued. Badges certify achievement and serve as a validation of one's professional, technical, and/or academic skills. A subset of volunteers, judges, and students (high school juniors) who participated in the Intel ISEF 2012 served as a beta test group in preparation for the real-time launch of the program for the Intel STS 2013. Verified entrants, semifinalists, finalists, and top winners of the Intel STS will also receive the appropriate digital badge to reward their achievements in independent scientific and engineering research.  

The Open Badges project is intended to help recognize skills and achievements that are gained outside of the official school or work setting with the goal of improving academic achievement, economic opportunity, civic engagement, and opportunities for lifelong learning.

Read more about the badging project on SSP's blog.

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VORTEX2 project participants Mallie Toth (left) and Mareike Schuster deploy instrument packs during a tornado intercept in Minnesota on June 17, 2010. Credit: Gino De Grandis

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