A California teenager who cracked a complex mathematical equation has been awarded the Intel Science Talent Search’s $100,000 first-place prize. Evan O’Dorney, 17, won the prize for “his mathematical project in which he compared two ways to estimate the square root of an integer. [He] discovered precisely when the faster way would work,” Intel announced Wednesday.
He is the first Bay Area student to win what is considered the high school equivalent of a Nobel Prize and the sixth from California since the contest started in 1942. He appears to be the first homeschooled winner as well, according to organizers. Evan, 17, beat out 39 other Intel Science Talent Search finalists from across the country with a mathematics entry summarized as “Continued Fraction Convergents and Linear fractional transformations.”
In all, the Intel Foundation awarded $630,000 to the top 40 finalists in the competition. Chosen out of a pool of 1,744 high school senior entrants, the 40 finalists were flown to Washington, D.C. to compete for the top 10 spots.