Sara Volz of Colorado Springs, Colo., won the Intel Science Talent Search, the nation’s most prestigious high school science competition, for her experiments with algae as a biofuel and will take home a prize of $100,000. Other finalists from among the other 39 high school finalists won prizes totaling $530,000.

Algae is a promising biofuel but still quite costly to produce. Volz (shown above, center) used artificial selection to create populations of algae cells with high oil content to produce a more economically feasible biofuel. And memorably, she cultivated the algae under her loft bed.

Second prize, worth $75,000, went to Jonah Kallenbach (above, left), 17, of Ambler, Pa., whose project in bioinformatics could lead to new treatments for diseases such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer and tuberculosis.

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