High school: Waiakea High School, Hilo, Hawaii
Invention: Computer simulator for flu outbreaks
During the height of the H1N1 flu scare last summer, Nolan Kamitaki, though only a junior, found himself fielding tough questions about the potential severity of the outbreak. Kamitaki, who had built a computer model to simulate the spread of the disease, was in a unique position to answer them.
Kamitaki's software, which won a first-place prize of $3,000 at this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, accurately predicts how swine flu might propagate through a town of 10,000 people based on social networks (something most other disease simulators neglect) and then determines who should get antiviral medicine like Tamiflu. The best way to slow the epidemic? According to his model, treat the youngest people in the town first; because they are the most mobile and social.
Public health isn't Kamitaki's only scientific interest. In his spare time, he also audits classes on molecular genetics at MIT.
College: Harvard University