PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Science fair winners from all over the world have come to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

“We have 1,702 high school students from 78 countries this year,” says Wendy Hawkins.

It’s her 25th and final year as executive director of the Intel Foundation.

“We value these kids as scientists, as researchers, as creators,” she says. “What they do is valued, and they are terrific.”

Mihir Garimella, of Fox Chapel, tested a drone that sniffs out hazardous substances with support from local fire departments.

“So we set some small, controlled fires, and I have my robot try to locate them,” he says. “The robot is able to track multiple sources of information. So it attracts gas and heat, and it also searches using vision.”

There are 20 different categories. Seven hundred judges will decide the winner of each.

Allison Clausius, of Toledo, Ohio, combines fashion with function in a solar cell dress.

“This is my solar cell skirt,” she points out. “It’s part of a dress. I just made it separate for easier washing. Inside the pocket here is where you can connect your phone. So here on a sunny day, it will show you what the voltage and the current is. And then you can plug in any USB device. This is connecting to my iPod.”

One of these students will take home the $75,000 first prize. Second and third get $50,000 each.

For many of the science phenoms here in Pittsburgh this week, that may be just a beginning.

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter