Today marks a sad day for high school scientists across America. Today it was announced that Intel, the world’s largest maker of semiconductors, has decided not to continue to support what we consider to be the most prestigious science research competition not only in America but in the world. In the 73 years of this competition, only two companies have sponsored the program. Previously sponsored by Westinghouse, Intel seemlessly took over the science research competition sixteen years ago. As “The New York Times” reports in a piece by Quentin Hardy entitled “Intel to End Sponsorship of Science Talent Search,” “At the time it was seen as something of a passing of the torch in American industry, to a company then at the heart of the Information Age from one renowned for industrial work in things like nuclear power plants.” But that time, apparently, has ended.
The piece in “The New York Times” brings to light how the former CEO of Intel is quite disappointed with the company’s decision to discontinue sponsoring this contest of America’s up and coming science researchers. As the piece points out, “it costs about $6 million a year — about 0.01 percent of Intel’s $55.6 billion in revenue last year.” It’s essentially a rounding error, a rounding error that has launched the careers of so many great science researchers of our time, including many of our former students, people who have gone on to shape cancer and HIV research, ALS and Alzheimer’s research, and so much more.
We thank Intel profusely for their sixteen years of sponsorship of this wonderful competition and we understand if they can’t continue on sponsoring the seminal research competition in the world. But we ask them to seek to seamlessly transition sponsorship of this incredible research competition to another giant in American industry, as Westinghouse once did with them. It’s too important of a legacy to discontinue. It’s too important to the future of science research in America. We have absolute faith in Intel that the company will pass the baton on to another American company that will spearhead this tremendous competition for years to come. And, once again, thank you Intel for all that you’ve done over the last sixteen years. You didn’t have to sponsor this research competition. You didn’t have to pay millions of dollars annually to do this, good publicity or not. But you did sponsor this competition — and so well — and you made America, and the world, better for it.
If you’re a former semi-finalist, finalist, or winner of the Intel Science Talent Search, how has the competition changed your life for the better? We’re eager to hear from you.