Fourteen-year-old Natalia Toro became the youngest-ever winner of the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search. Formerly known as the Westinghouse Science Search, the contest is now sponsored by Intel Corp. and a nonprofits science news organization called Science Service.
Toro, an exceedingly gifted child who began attending college courses while in sixth grade, won the prize for an equation that she created to count subatomic particles called neutrinos. Neutrinos are elementary particles that can travel at the speed of light and have no mass when they are not moving. Toro completed the research as part of a special summer program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The top prize for the contest was a $50,000 college scholarship, which Toro hope to someday apply toward tuition at MIT. Second and third-place prizes were a $40,000 and a $30,000 scholarship, respectively. Seven other winners were also awarded prizes. Three won $20,000 scholarships and 4 were awarded $15,000 scholarships.