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Education: Up from the Farm

Is the farm-boy tinkerer a vanishing American breed? Jerome George ("Jerry") Spitzner, 17, lives on his father's 160-acre farm, 4 miles outside of St. James, Minn. (pop. 5,005). Last week, in a field of 29,000 bright high school seniors from every state in the Union, Jerry walked off with the top $7,500 award in the annual Westinghouse Science Talent Search. His winning project: an ion accelerator made of such handy items as a Christmas-tree ornament and a float from a pig watering trough.

Built in a shack behind his house, the homemade atom smasher...

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