"Wanted: Respected corporation with deep pockets and deep roots in the STEM arena to take over prestigious science and math competition." That's basically the ad the Society for Science and the Public now has to place to replace Intel, which has announced it will no longer sponsor the Science Talent Search, the New York Times reports. The company hasn't provided an official explanation for why it's dropping the major role in the high school contest its held since 1998. The Times notes that while Intel has "struggled with a shift to mobile computing devices," a company rep simply told the paper that Intel was "proud of its legacy" in the 73-year-old competition, which has produced Nobel Prize winners, executives, and esteemed scientists.
Secondary students in their final year compete, with 40 finalists heading to Washington to vie for nine top awards worth anywhere from $35,000 to $150,000. Many are puzzled why Intel is jumping ship, since the competition only requires $6 million a year from Intel's hefty annual revenue, which was $55.6 billion last year, the Times notes. Craig Barrett, a former Intel CEO who serves on the society's board, says he's "surprised and a little disappointed." But the society's president says it's actively seeking a new sponsor for when Intel's contract runs out in 2017, and other board members say they're hopeful another big name will step up. "We still think this is a very attractive prize to a number of corporations," one member tells the Times. "It is still really important for the nation." (Maybe Intel is deciding whether to get involved with John McAfee's presidential campaign.)