The Grand Challenge for Science and Math

Students may resist geek studies. But they'll flock in for the opportunity to change the world

It could have been a Final Four basketball game for Duke. The university's students clamored for tickets, professors canceled classes, and organizers fretted over getting twice as many applicants as spaces. But this was a different kind of March Madness. The furor was over an engineering conference held at Duke on Mar. 2-3. Despite a snowstorm, 700 students from around North Carolina slogged through the snow to attend a conference they hoped would set them on the path to changing the world.

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