Evan O’Dorney, winner of the Intel Talent Search’s $100,000 top prize, previously won the National Spelling Bee and a gold medal at an international math Olympiad, reports the San Jose Mercury News. O’Dorney, 17, is home-schooled by his mother in Danville, California. Dad is a BART train driver.
“I’m excited and shocked,” Evan said after his win Tuesday. “This has been exciting, especially the judging interviews. All the science questions and working with scientists who are in very different fields than me, I’m very grateful.”
For the Intel contest, he solved a problem involving square roots — “Continued Fraction Convergents and Linear Fractional Transformations” — in general terms.
In a layperson’s summary, O’Dorney wrote: “In this project, I have discovered and proved an unexpectedly simple formula that allows one to predict, given a particular square root, whether the two methods yield infinitely many results in common.”
A black belt in tae kwon do, O’Dorney studies piano performance and composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He’s written a musical representation of the number pi, an opera and a piano concerto. He will head to Harvard in the fall with plans to become a math professor.