The Intel? On the same day last week that Intel Corp. announced that its chief executive title would be passed from Andy Grove to Craig Barrett, the chip-making giant was in the midst of another landmark transition.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company became the title sponsor for the Science Talent Search, which bestows scholarships that are often considered the Nobel Prize of high school science competitions.

Intel is only the second titled sponsor for the search, which for 57 years has been so closely linked with Westinghouse Corp. that the award itself was often known as "the Westinghouse." That company is now a media conglomerate with dwindling connections to its scientific roots.

Intel will contribute $1.1 million in its first year as sponsor of the competition, which is administered by Science Service, a Washington-based nonprofit organization.

Beginning next year, the search will award $330,000 in college scholarships through a grant from the Intel Foundation. The top prize will be a $50,000 four-year scholarship.

Over the years, finalists in the competition have gone on to win five Nobel prizes, nine MacArthur fellowships and numerous other accolades.

Ann Korando, a spokeswoman for Science Services, said Intel was one of 76 companies that vied for the role as title sponsor, including Microsoft Corp. and Times Mirror Co., publisher of the Los Angeles Times.

She said Intel was selected largely because of its strong ties to universities and the scientific community, and because the company had many innovative ideas about how to promote the contest on the Internet.

For the first time, she said, other companies will also sponsor the contest, but Intel will be the only title sponsor.

"Intel signed a contract for five years," Korando said. "But we're all hoping it will be another 57-year relationship."

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