The 40 students selected were winnowed from 300 semifinalists, who were chosen from a pool of 1,744 entrants. . . . Physicist and Nobel laureate Sheldon Glashow was a finalist in 1950; in 1980 Harvard University string theorist Lisa Randall was selected. Actress Natalie Portman was a semi-finalist in 1999.
Scientists and a science fiction actress. Pretty similar jobs, I guess.
What prestigious awards have they won?
7 Finalists have won the Nobel Prize.
2 have earned the Fields Medal.
4 have been awarded National Medals of Science.
2 have been awarded National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
11 have won MacArthur Foundation Fellowships.
2 have been awarded Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award.
5 have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
30 have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
56 have been named Sloan Research Fellows.
This year's finalists hail from 15 states (Colorado was not among them, alas). Who were they?
2011 Intel STS Finalists (listed by state, name, hometown and high school)
ARIZONA Scott Boisvert, Chandler, Basha High School
CALIFORNIA Amol Aggarwal, Saratoga, Saratoga High School; Xiaoyu Cao, San Diego, Torrey Pines High School; Bonnie Lei, Walnut, Walnut High School; Jonathan Li, Laguna Niguel, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School; Selena Li, Fair Oaks, Mira Loma High School; Andrew Liu, Palo Alto, Henry M. Gunn Senior High School; Rohan Mahajan, Cupertino, The Harker School; Evan O’Dorney, Danville,Venture School; Nikhil Parthasarathy, Mountain View, The Harker School; David Tang-Quan, Rancho Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School; Chelsea Voss, Santa Clara, Cupertino High School
CONNECTICUT Jenny Liu, Orange, Amity Regional High School; Shubhro Saha, Avon, Choate Rosemary Hall
FLORIDA Eta Atolia, Tallahassee, Rickards High School; Elaine Zhou, Winter Park, Lake Highland Preparatory School
ILLINOIS Krystle Leung, Naperville, Naperville Central High School
MASSACHUSETTS Sung Won Cho, Lexington, Groton School
MICHIGAN Shubhangi Arora, Novi, Novi High School
MINNESOTA Prithwis Mukhopadhyay, Woodbury, Woodbury High School
NORTH CAROLINA Si-Yi Lee, Charlotte, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics; Matthew Miller, Elon, Western Alamance High School
NEBRASKA Emily Chen, Omaha, Brownell-Talbot School
NEW JERSEY Alison Bick, Short Hills, Millburn High School; Joshua Bocarsly, Plainsboro, The Lawrenceville School; Wenyu Cao, Belle Mead, Phillips Academy
NEW YORK Jonathan Aaron Goldman, Plainview, Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School; Jan Gong, Garden City, Garden City High School; Michelle Hackman, Great Neck, John L. Miller Great Neck North High School; Bryan He, Williamsville, Williamsville East High School; Matthew Lam, Old Westbury, Jericho High School; Grace Phillips, Larchmont, Mamaroneck High School; Alydaar Rangwala, Loudonville, The Albany Academies
OREGON Laurie Rumker, Portland, Oregon Episcopal School; Yushi Wang, Portland, Sunset High School
PENNSYLVANIA Benjamin Clark, Lancaster, Penn Manor High School; Keenan Monks, Hazleton, Hazleton Area High School
TEXAS Madeleine Ball, Dallas, Ursuline Academy of Dallas; Rounok Joardar, Plano, Plano West Senior High School; Sunil Pai, Houston, The Kinkaid School
The list is also a measure of the immense benefits our nation receives in the long run from encouraging immigration, and of the impressive extent to which private eductation continues to capture much of the nation's top talent.