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WATCH: Teens at Intel Science Fair Explain Their Breakthroughs

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Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.

By: Ross Andrews

Fixing herniated spines, extracting natural pesticides from plants and synthesizing nanocrystals. These are just a few of the science experiments teenagers conducted to win a trip to San Jose, the site of this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. It's the world's largest science competition for pre-college students - the result of millions of high school students around the world competing in smaller, regional fairs and tinkering with year-long projects that could very well lead to major scientific and technological breakthroughs.

As if the quest for innovation wasn't enough of a motivation for these teenagers, the $50,000 prize for the top three contestants probably provides an additional boost. In all, the fair gives out nearly $4 million in tuition grants, scholarships, and scientific field-trips.

Youth Radio put a call out to students bound for the fair, asking them to make a short webcam video describing their projects. We also asked them to estimate their chances of winning a grand prize.

The official judging for the competition is currently underway and the announcement of the winners is scheduled for Friday, May 14.

But based on what we've seen, Youth Radio has already picked its favorite - Ivan Lazarevich's "Sandstorm in a Teacup: Patterns in a Vibrating Granular Layer." Not only does the title of this project reference a popular techno song, but he provides insight into the patterns that appear when sand and other granular surfaces are exposed to vibrations. A theoretical model based on Lazarevich's observations could help predict where desert sand ends up after being shaken by an earthquake.

Below is remix we made of Lazarevich's video. OK, so it's not $50,000 -- but it's our little show of admiration. [Click to WATCH videos from ten other students competing in San Jose.]

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