Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring is boasting three finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search, the country’s oldest and most prestigious research contest for high school seniors.

The three Montgomery Blair students tapped by the Intel Foundation as finalists in this year’s competition are:

•Shaun Datta, whose research project is “Saturated Nuclear Matter in the Large Nc and Heavy Quark Limits of Quantum Chromodynamics”

•Neil Davey, with “Early Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment through the Detection of Circulating Tumor Cells using Drop-based Microfluidics”

•Jessica Shi, with “The Speeds of Families of Intersection Graphs”

In addition, Benjamin Freed, a student at Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, also has been named a finalist. His project is “Identification of Novel Regulatory Mechanisms of the K-Ras Oncoprotein.”

There were no finalists from Virginia.

The Intel Science Talent Search, a program of Society for Science & the Public (SSP), chose 40 finalists from about 1,800 entrants across the country. They were judged on the originality of their research projects as well as their achievement inside and outside the classroom, according to contest organizers.

The finalists created projects that touched a variety of scientific disciplines, including behavioral science, biochemistry, bioengineering, chemistry, computer science, earth science, engineering, environmental science, materials science, mathematics, medicine, microbiology, physics and space science.

The 40 finalists will gather in Washington March 6 to 12 to compete for $630,000 in awards. They will undergo a judging process, meet prominent scientists and national leaders and show their work to the public at the National Geographic Society.

The top 10 winners will be announced at a March 11 black-tie event at the National Building Museum. The first place winner will receive $100,000 from the Intel Foundation. The Science Talent Search has been awarding annual prizes to high school seniors since 1942.

“We celebrate these 40 students because their contributions to the world of science will help solve some of our most pressing challenges,” said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation. “The Intel Science Talent Search encourages hands-on experience with math and science, which is imperative in enabling young people to think critically, solve problems and understand the world around them.”