In the pursuit of science for good

For the three recipients of the 2022 Gordon E. Moore Award for Positive Outcomes for Future Generations, one might say it was a fluke. The Liver Fluke, to be precise.

It was at the 2022 International Science and Engineering Fair that the young scientists were awarded the prize. Chris Tidtijumreonpon, Napassorn Litchiowong, and Wattanapong Uttayota – all students at The Prince Royal’s College in Chiang Mai, Thailand – won for their science project and invention, called BiDEx. BiDEx screens and rapidly detects patients with liver fluke infection.

While liver fluke infections may not be common in the United States, they do occur.  Humans can get liver fluke parasites from eating raw or undercooked seafood. The risk of infection increases with travel to areas where the parasites are widespread, including parts of Europe and Asia – and the classmates’ home country of Thailand.

Fittingly, the person who presented the Gordon E. Moore Award to the winners was a Moore Inventor Fellow Awardee – Marta Hatzell, an associate professor and Woodruff faculty fellow at Georgia Institute of Technology. What sets the BiDEx award winners apart is the same thing that sets Marta Hatzell apart. It’s one of the core aspirations for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation: making an enduring difference for future generations through science, discovery, and invention.   

Hatzell, Tidtijumreonpon, Litchiowong, and Uttayota are now part of a larger story. They are participants in a tradition of science and discovery for good. They follow in Gordon’s footsteps toward a future that needs science more than ever.

Gordon Moore

Gordon helped shape what we now recognize as Silicon Valley and the technology sector and has long been committed to scientific discovery. He co-founded Intel Corporation, creator of the world’s first microprocessor, in 1968. He became Intel’s president and chief executive officer in 1975 and held that post until he was elected chairman and chief executive officer in 1979 and chairman emeritus in 1997. A rule-of-thumb prediction made by Gordon in 1965, later dubbed “Moore’s Law,” became a guiding principle for the delivery of ever more powerful semiconductor chips at proportionally lower costs.

But long before he became a technology trailblazer in the semiconductor industry, Gordon was a kid who gravitated toward science. It was a friend’s chemistry set that captured his imagination.  He reminisced about his experiments in an interview with the Chemical Heritage Foundation:

“In those days, you’d get some really neat chemicals in a chemistry set … potassium chlorate, for example – which, mixed with a lot of things, makes some pretty neat explosives.”  

He was hooked. As he grew up, he built a significantly more elaborate home laboratory, which meant he could further explore his interest in explosives. Small productions, of course.

“My standard yield of nitroglycerine was about 63 CCs, if I recall – which I turned into dynamite. I had to make mercury fulminate to detonate the dynamite,” he continued.

Considering the experimental possibilities was thrilling. And shopping for supplies was fun.

“I would order all the chemicals I wanted; they’d be delivered to me by freight. I could even order things like picric acid, which is the equivalent of TNT.”

Apparently, all a person had to do was dry it out and detonate it.

“And I did,” he laughed. “I dried it out, and I detonated it.”

That passion for figuring out how things worked, for creating and inventing things, fueled him from high school through college and grad school. It was a driving force throughout his career.

Science and discovery for good

In 2000, Gordon and his wife Betty established their foundation to make a significant, measurable, and positive impact in the world. They wanted to use their resources to tackle big, important issues and create lasting, durable change. Betty and Gordon knew that science and the type of rigorous inquiry that guides science are keys to achieving the outcomes they hoped to achieve. It was clear from the start that scientific methodology would be a cornerstone of nearly all the foundation’s efforts.  

In its 22 years, the foundation has funded and supported initiatives focused on the environment, patient care, the Bay Area, and science. 

So vital is science to the success of any project funded by the foundation, the organization established the Curiosity-Driven Science Initiative, which aims to cultivate a scientifically minded public. To meet its goals of tackling significant issues and creating lasting change for years to come, the foundation must nourish the future of science today. The long-term success of scientific efforts hinges upon a curious and open-minded citizenry that values and respects science and relies on evidence-based decision-making in all aspects of life.

To make a real impact, projects are developed and identified to reach communities who have been historically underrepresented in the sciences – especially young people. The International Science and Engineering Fair’s Gordon E. Moore Award is just one example of projects the foundation supports. Other experiential opportunities include interactive science and technology museums, underwater explorations through virtual reality simulations, total solar eclipse viewing experiences, and many more.

Celebrating Gordon

The ISEF Moore Award is a tribute to Gordon’s living legacy – as is the Moore Inventor Fellows program, his foundation, and his life’s work. All of these celebrate him – and the values he has lived, holds, and promotes, even today.



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Regeneron ISEF 2022 - Grand Awards Ceremony

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Meet the team who won the 2022 Gordon E. Moore Award (Regeneron ISEF)


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