The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is hosting 1,611 students from 59 countries tricking out their Tesla coils in hopes of winning $4M in awards which include a $75,000 top prize during the week of May 9-15. The Fair is the world’s largest pre-college science fair.

“Once again the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair displays the remarkable creativity and ingenuity of young people from around the world,” said Shelly Esque, vice president of Intel’s Corporate Affairs Group. “They demonstrate deep passion for math and science and remind us that these subjects are the foundation of innovation, creativity, and discovery. Every year, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair gives us reasons to be excited – and confident – about the future.”

The 2010 finalists’ independent research projects include such topics as earthquake detection, alternative energy, climate change, health care and robotics. Twenty-four percent of 2010 participants have a patent or are considering applying for one for their research.

A full listing of finalists is available atSociety for Science. You can also check out Inspired by Education on Facebook for updates and pics from the event as it happens.