Countdown Continues: Final
Forty Chosen in National Challenge to Name America's "Top Young
Scientist of the Year"
8th Annual Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge Welcomes "Disease
Detectives" to Washington DC
National Institutes of Health to Collaborate in this Celebrated
Silver Spring, Md. — The countdown to
choosing the nation's top young scientist entered its final phase
today as Discovery Communications announced the 40 middle school
students from around the country selected as finalists in the 2006
Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge (DCYSC). The DCYSC
is the nation's premier science contest for students in grades
5-8. The competition, created by Discovery Communications and Science
Service, gives students the opportunity to test their knowledge
and push their limits as they explore the world of science.
This year's theme, "Disease Detectives", features a series of
challenges in which selected students will investigate global health
concerns, their causes and their impact — from avian flu to obesity.
This focus sparked the interest of the National Institutes of Health
(NIH), which, since 1887, has helped lead the way toward important
medical discoveries that improve people's health and save lives.
It was announced this morning that NIH will collaborate with DCYSC
in the final round of the 2006 challenge. In this capacity, the
Institutes will work with the competition's lead scientist to formulate
and design the experiments, built around current health trend issues.
"Discovery is proud to continue the tradition of supporting middle
school education and cultivating the next generation of American
scientists," said John Hendricks, Founder and Chairman, Discovery
Communications. "We are honored that NIH has joined us in this
year's venture, as NIH scientists every day are investigating ways
to prevent disease as well as identifying their causes, and developing
treatments and cures. By welcoming these students, and a national
audience via our televised broadcast, NIH is providing the unforgettable
experience of seeing ground-breaking research in action. Everyone
involved is in for quite a treat."
"NIH is pleased to be a part of this year's Discovery Channel
Young Scientist Challenge. We are glad to have the chance to encourage
today's young minds, which will be finding the solutions to tomorrow's
health problems," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "This
year's challenge is particularly significant because it addresses
health issues critical to our world population. We're looking forward
to hosting these young scientists on our campus and making these
scientific challenges and discoveries accessible to the larger
public via this program."
"The Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge offers young
people the special opportunity to learn science by doing science.
These students will get to apply their natural interest in and
curiosity about research to real problems in a real experimental
setting. If the experience of former DCYSC finalists is an indicator,
it will be for them an experience of a lifetime," noted Elizabeth
Marincola, President of Science Service, the Washington, D.C. nonprofit
dedicated to science education that presents the DCYSC in partnership
with Discovery Communications.
The full list of 40 finalists, their hometowns and schools and
the titles of their winning entries can be found at: http://www.discovery.com/dcysc.
The 40 finalists, and contenders for the title of "America's Top
Young Scientist," hail from 20 states and the District of Columbia.
The top states represented are Florida with 7 finalists, California
(4), Texas (4), Maryland (3), and Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota
and Wyoming, each with 2. States sending one finalist to this year's
Challenge are Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia,
Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and the District
of Columbia. Finalists were selected from a group of 400 semifinalists
who were announced in August. These semifinalists were chosen from
1,900 formal entries, drawn from an initial pool of 70,000 students
who entered science fairs nationwide affiliated with Science Service.
The finalists were chosen based on their written essays about
science fair projects that each had presented at their local science
fairs across the country. During the DCYSC finals, the finalists
will present their research to judges and the public, using their
communication skills and creative thinking as science communicators
to explain the complexities of their research. Finalists will compete
for more than $100,000 worth of scholarships and special prizes,
as well as the title of "America's Top Young Scientist of the Year."
Bios and interviews with the finalists are available upon request.
A Competition for "Disease Detectives"
These 40 finalists will travel to Washington, D.C. October 21st
through 25th, where they will take part in the DCYSC finalist competition
at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
The finalists will compete in team-based, interactive challenges
designed around the theme of "Disease Detectives." The young scientists
will have to use their scientific know-how to find solutions to
this year's challenges.
From the global scare of bird flu to the domestic epidemic of
obesity, this year's theme is poignantly relevant. Each challenge
requires the young scientists to rely on their broad range of scientific
knowledge in order to explore and understand today's health issues.
The students will be presented with a wide range of experiments
to test their science skills. These action-packed activities will
be taped for broadcast on the Discovery Channel.
About the Competition
In 1999, Discovery created the DCYSC to help address America's
chronic underachievement in science and math. The contest responds
to evidence that academic performance and interest in science among
American students declines dramatically as students get older —
particularly during the middle school years.
The DCYSC identifies and honors America's top middle school student
who demonstrates the best skills in leadership, teamwork and scientific
problem solving. In addition, the ability to be an effective science
communicator — a goal that reflects Discovery's philosophy that
scientific knowledge is most valuable when it is communicated and
shared — is a key component of the judging.
More than 13,000 children have entered the DCYSC since its inception
eight years ago. Winners have received approximately $700,000 in
scholarship awards and federal government recognition, and have
participated in science-related trips that have taken them to the
far corners of the globe.
Discovery is pleased to have Elmer's as a DCYSC sponsor. Elmer's
has a proud tradition of supporting education, including science.
Elmer's believes science taught through Science Fairs serves as
a major benefit to students, allowing them to develop skills in
problem solving, research, writing, public speaking and time management.
Discovery Communications, Inc. is the leading global real-world
media company with operations in 170 countries and territories
reaching 1.4 billion cumulative subscribers. DCI's over 100 networks
of distinctive programming represent 28 trusted brands including
Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet. DCI's other properties
consist of Discovery Education and COSMEO, a revolutionary online
homework help service, as well as Discovery Commerce, which operates
more than 100 Discovery Channel Stores in the U.S. Discovery brings
the real world to the whole world through its global multiplatform
initiatives including Discovery Travel Media, Discovery Mobile
and multiple broadband services. DCI's ownership consists of four
shareholders: Discovery Holding Company (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB),
Cox Communications, Inc., Advance/Newhouse Communications and John
S. Hendricks, the Company's Founder and Chairman. More information
about Discovery and its businesses can be found at www.discovery.com.
Science Service is the non-profit organization that administers
the DCYSC. Based in Washington, DC, Science Service is dedicated
to advancing the understanding and appreciation of science around
the globe through its publications, outreach, and educational programs.
A leading and widely respected organization advancing the cause
of science, Science Service has a sterling reputation for producing
high-quality competitions on the national and international level,
including the Intel Science Talent Search and the Intel International
Science and Engineering Fair. Science Service also publishes Science
News magazine, reaching over 1 million readers weekly, as well
as the online, interactive Science News for Kids (www.sciencenewsforkids.org).
For more information about Science Service, its programs, and publications,
please visit www.sciserv.org.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.