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Intel Science Contest Is Overrated

Congratulations to the winning finalists in the 2014 Intel Science Talent Search. But why all the hoopla? Such contests are fraught with misperceptions.
The best science students don't always enter contests. Source: Universal Images Group via Getty Images
The best science students don't always enter contests. Source: Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Intel Science Talent Search. But why all the hoopla? Such contests are fraught with misperceptions.

For instance, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said that the Intel competition "identifies and honors the top math and science students in America, based on their solutions to scientific problems." This isn't the case. The contest doesn't rank talent in the same way we identify the fastest hurdlers or longest jumpers.