Matthew Headrick has won first place in the 49th annual Westinghouse Science Talent Search for high school students, joining a list of previous winners that includes five Nobelists, two winners of Fields Medals, and eight winners of MacArthur Foundation Fellowships. What will the 17-year-old do for an encore?

"I'm keeping my options open," says Headrick, a senior at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools High School. But he says he has narrowed his choice to studying math or physics at either Stanford University or Princeton University. He adds that his decision, which he must make by May 1, will be based on a comparison of "financial aid, quality of teaching, and social atmosphere" at the two institutions.

Headrick, who won a $20,000 college scholarship in the Westinghouse talent search, was recognized for his use of molecular genetics techniques to isolate for the first time the gene that is necessary for...

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