Science Fair

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Google Science Fair

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Google Science Fair 2013 has launched

Thursday, January 31, 2013

(Important note: The Google Science Fair Google+ page is now the official home of all news and announcements related to the competition. This blog will no longer be updated. Add the Science Fair to a circle today to find out about the 2013 competition, get tips about entering, and tune in to weekly hangouts with mentors, famous scientists, and more!)

At age 16, Louis Braille invented an alphabet for the blind. When she was 13, Ada Lovelace became fascinated with math and went on to write the first computer program. And at 18, Alexander Graham Bell started experimenting with sound and went on to invent the telephone. Throughout history many great scientists developed their curiosity for science at an early age and went on to make groundbreaking discoveries that changed the way we live.

Today, we’re launching the third annual Google Science Fair in partnership with CERN, the LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American to find the next generation of scientists and engineers. We’re inviting students ages 13-18 to participate in the largest online science competition and submit their ideas to change the world.

For the past two years, thousands of students from more than 90 countries have submitted research projects that address some of the most challenging problems we face today. Previous winners tackled issues such as the early diagnosis of breast cancer, improving the experience of listening to music for people with hearing loss and cataloguing the ecosystem found in water. This year we hope to once again inspire scientific exploration among young people and receive even more entries for our third competition.

Here’s some key information for this year’s Science Fair:

  • Students can enter the Science Fair in 13 languages.
  • The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm PDT.
  • In June, we’ll recognize 90 regional finalists (30 from the Americas, 30 from Asia Pacific and 30 from Europe/Middle East/Africa).
  • Judges will then select the top 15 finalists, who will be flown to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. for our live, final event on September 23, 2013.
  • At the finals, a panel of distinguished international judges consisting of renowned scientists and tech innovators will select top winners in each age category (13-14, 15-16, 17-18). One will be selected as the Grand Prize winner.
Prizes for the 2013 Science Fair include a $50,000 scholarship from Google, a trip to the Galapagos with National Geographic Expeditions, experiences at CERN, Google or the LEGO Group and digital access to the Scientific American archives for the winner’s school for a year. Scientific American will also award a $50,000 Science in Action prize to one project that makes a practical difference by addressing a social, environmental or health issue. We’re also introducing two new prizes for 2013:
  • In August, the public will have the opportunity to get to know our 15 finalists through a series of Google+ Hangouts on Air and will then vote for the Inspired Idea Award—an award selected by the public for the project with the greatest potential to change the world.
  • We also recognize that behind every great student there’s often a great teacher and a supportive school, so this year we’ll award a $10,000 cash grant from Google and an exclusive Google+ Hangout with CERN to the Grand Prize winner’s school.
Lastly, we’ll also be hosting a series of Google+ Hangouts on Air. Taking place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, these Hangouts will feature renowned scientists including inventor Dean Kamen and oceanographic explorer Fabien Cousteau, showcase exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of cutting-edge labs and science facilities, and provide access to judges and the Google Science Fair team. We hope these Google+ Hangouts will help inspire, mentor and support students throughout the competition and beyond.

Visit to get started now—your idea might just change the world.

The winners of the 2012 Google Science Fair

Monday, July 23, 2012

Twenty-one of the world’s brightest young scientists gathered at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View today to celebrate their achievements and present their projects to a panel of renowned judges at the Google Science Fair finals. Chosen from thousands of projects from more than 100 countries, these top 15 projects impressed the judges and public with their breadth of topics: from cancer research to vertical farming, 3D electronics to dementia. It was a tough decision, but we’re proud to name these three projects the winners of this year’s Google Science Fair:

  • 13-14 age category: Jonah Kohn (USA)—“Good Vibrations: Improving the Music Experience for People with Hearing Loss Using Multi-Frequency Tactile Sound.” By creating a device that converts sound into tactile vibrations, Jonah’s project attempts to provide the hearing impaired with an improved experience of music.
  • 15-16 age category: Iván Hervías Rodríguez, Marcos Ochoa and Sergio Pascual (Spain)—“La Vida Oculta del Agua (The Secret Life of Water).” Iván, Marcos and Sergio studied hidden microscopic life in fresh water, documenting the organisms that exist in a drop of water, and how those organisms influence our environment.
  • 17-18 age category AND Grand Prize Winner: Brittany Wenger (USA)—“Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer.” Brittany’s project harnesses the power of the cloud to help doctors accurately diagnose breast cancer. Brittany built an application that compares individual test results to an extensive dataset stored in the cloud, allowing doctors to assess tumors using a minimally-invasive procedure. 

Each of the winners will receive prizes from Google and our Science Fair partners: CERN, LEGO, National Geographic and Scientific American. This evening, we also recognized Sakhiwe Shongwe and Bonkhe Mahlalela, from Swaziland, the winners of the Scientific American Science in Action award.

The judges were impressed with the quality of all the projects this year—and by the ingenuity, dedication and passion of the young scientists who created them. We applaud every contestant who submitted a project to the 2012 Google Science Fair and look forward to seeing the innovations, inventions and discoveries of young scientists in the years to come.

Posted by Cristin Frodella, Google in Education

My visit to CERN

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Last week, Shree Bose, the grand prize winner of the 2011 Google Science Fair, traveled to CERN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland as part of the grand prize. We invited Shree to write about her experience.

CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The name CERN is derived from the acronym for the French Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire.

“We got it.” The Director General paused, and the cramped room I was in burst into applause. Chills ran up my spine, as I looked around at the faces of the people of CERN who had worked for years to hear those three words. A particle similar in properties to the expected Higgs Boson had been found. And I had been at CERN to see its discovery announced to the world.

Shree Bose in the ALICE Cavern. Photo source:
Tim Vernes-Lee first came up with his proposal for the world wide web while working at CERN, a one page paper with a typed diagram showing his framework that is still on display today in the visitor center. His professor at the time scribbled three words at the top in black ink, three words that would go on to describe so much more than he could have ever imagined - “vague but exciting.” Making history is what CERN does best.

My ten days at CERN were full of learning more about physics than I had ever learned in my life, from people who were passionate and excited about the work they were doing. With a 27 km long collider complete with four huge detectors, particle physicists and engineers were often seen walking around wearing construction equipment and hard hats. It usually took me a second before I remembered that they were working on the subatomic scale, colliding protons at close to the speed of light. From these collisions, these physicists were recreating the conditions of the collisions, figuring out what particles were being released and eventually bringing us one step closer to understanding where we began, what we are made of, and where the universe is going.

And there couldn’t have been a better time to visit. During a technical stop the first week, we were able to go down to the detectors, these behemoth four story machines where the proton-proton collisions happen and are recorded, and down to the tunnel where the beam pipe was right beside us. It was hard to believe that, when the collider was running, clusters of protons were shot through at close to the speed of light. Some of the coldest temperatures in the universe, required for the superconducting magnets to function, were achieved by liquefying helium. We got to visit the computer farms, where thousands of computers hummed, processing massive amounts of data recorded by the detectors. We met people who were creating antimatter which annihilated upon contact with matter just as they did in the moments after the Big Bang, talked to a theoretical physicist about dark matter, learned about proton-gluon plasma created from colliding heavy ions from the people of the ALICE experiment, learned about the beauty particle at the LHCb project, and found out what ATLAS and CMS were doing to find evidence for the Higgs Boson.

During the weekends, we got to go sightseeing, visiting Chamonix, a beautiful small mountain village in the French Alps, and across Lake Geneva to visit the medieval castles of Yvoire. During one evening, we ate a delicious home-cooked meal of pasta and seafood with our wonderful CERN guide, Silvano de Gennaro, in his house he had renovated from an old barn in the Jurra Mountains overlooking Geneva as a full moon hung over the cloudless sky. His wife, Michelle, was a member of Les Horribles Cernettes, a musical group whose album cover had been the first picture on the internet, and we got to see videos of the de Genarro family band rocking out. Perfect moments like that are just so surreal.

The day before the seminar, you could feel the energy among the people of CERN as people excitedly whispered amongst themselves about their plans for the next day. I was sitting in the communications office when Peter Higgs, one of the physicists behind the creation of the standard model, came in for an interview. When asked about the upcoming announcement of the results, he said he couldn’t believe he was alive to see this day. I couldn’t believe I was watching history be made right before me.

After the seminar and the press conference we got to sit in on, it was a whirlwind of visiting experiments specialized on the medical applications of the technologies, and before we knew it, we had said goodbye to Silvano while standing in the rain at CERN, and it was the morning of our flight. As our plane took off, headed first to London and then to DFW, I couldn’t help thinking about how much I’d learned - about the physics, about its potential for the the future, and most of all, about the power of the group effort at CERN. One mind alone is an incredible thing. But so many minds working together can really do the impossible. I guess the world of particle physics and the entire future of science is, as three simple words can put it, vague but exciting.

Shree Bose and her family in the LHC tunnel. Photo source:
You can read more about Shree’s trip here.

- The Google Science Fair Team

Google Science Fair judging – finding the top 15

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Editor's note: We've invited guest blogger Jemma Best to provide feedback from the judges. Jemma is a project manager from EdComs, the organization that coordinated the judging process.

After months of planning and preparation, the judging team was raring to go when the submission deadline for the 2012 competition finally arrived.

The preliminary judges enjoyed a hectic but fascinating April reading thousands of amazing entries submitted by young scientists in over one hundred countries to identify 90 outstanding regional finalists. The judges felt that the overall standard this year was even higher than in 2011, with more entries of very high quality to evaluate. In addition to scoring high in the judging criteria, the judges found that the best entries also:

  • surprised and excited the judges
  • were inspiring and clearly expressed
  • demonstrated meticulous scientific method
  • adhered to the judging criteria for each section
  • clearly addressed the question and hypothesis
  • could make a positive difference
  • demonstrated the entrants’ enthusiasm for their work
In May, academics and experts from high profile scientific organizations met in London to evaluate and select the 15 exceptional individuals or teams with the highest scoring projects, who will be flown to Google headquarters in California for a celebratory Science Fair event and the final round of judging. Selecting the top 15 from such a strong pool was both an honor and a real challenge for our panel, who went away inspired by the entrants’ achievements.

We’re very excited about meeting the top 15 in California, where the judges will select the Google Science Fair 2012 winners.

Jemma Best
Google Science Fair Judging Panel Coordinator

15 Google Science Fair Finalists and the Science in Action winners are off to Mountain View

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It’s been a fascinating two weeks for our Google Science Fair judges. They’ve been reviewing projects which try to solve myriad problems—from helping people with hearing loss enjoy music to saving water with vacuflush toilets—and they’ve been blown away by the inventiveness of the world’s young scientists. Today, they’ve selected 15 finalists from our top 90 regional finalists. All of these students asked interesting questions; many focused on real-world problems and some produced groundbreaking science that challenged current conventions.

After much deliberation we’re happy to announce the 15 finalists:

Age 13 - 14
Sumit Singh, India
Sakhiwe Shongwe and Bonkhe Mahlalela, Swaziland
Alexy Klozkov and Milena Klimenko, Ukraine
Martin Schneider and Joshua Li, USA
Jonah Kohn, USA

Age 15 - 16
Rohit Fenn, India
Iván Hervías Rodríguez, Marcos Ochoa and Sergio Pascua, Spain
Sabera Talukder, USA
Catherine Wong, USA
Kimberley Yu and Phillip Yu, USA

Age 17 - 18
Yassine Bouanane, Canada
Raghavendra Ramachanderan, India
Melvin Zammit, Malta
Brittany Wenger, USA
Yamini Naidu, USA

In July, these finalists will be coming to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., to present their projects to our international panel of finalist judges and compete for prizes that include $100,000 in scholarship funds, a trip to the Galapagos Islands and more. The winners will be announced at our celebration gala beginning at 7:00 p.m. PDT July 23 and the event will be streamed live on our YouTube channel, so make sure to tune in.

In addition, this year one of our partners, Scientific American, is awarding a special Science in Action prize to a project that addresses a social, environmental, ethical, health or welfare issue to make a practical difference to the lives of a group or community. After careful deliberation by Scientific American’s independent judging panel, we are thrilled to announce that Sakhiwe Shongwe and Bonkhe Mahlalela from Swaziland are the winners of this award for their project, which explores an affordable way to provide hydroponics to poor subsistence farmers. In addition to the $50,000 in prize funds, Shongwe and Bonkhe will have access to a year’s mentorship to explore how their project can help the lives of subsistence farmers in Swaziland and around the world. They are also still in the running for their age category prize and the grand prize.  

Congratulations to all the finalists and the Scientific American Science in Action winners.  We look forward to meeting you all at Google in July.

Sam Peter, Google Science Fair Team

Announcing the 90 Regional Finalists of the Google Science Fair 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Congratulations to the regional finalists of the second Google Science Fair! These top 90 entries from around the world represent some incredibly innovative and groundbreaking science.

This year’s competition was even more international and diverse than last year. We had thousands of entries from more than 100 countries, and topics ranging from improving recycling using LEGO robots to treating cancer with a substance created by bees to tackling meth abuse. Our judges were impressed by the quality of the projects, and it was no easy task to evaluate the creativity, scientific merit and global relevance of each submission to narrow down the entries to just 90 finalists.

Thirteen of our 90 finalists have also been nominated for the Scientific American Science in Action award, the winner of which will be announced on June 6 along with our 15 finalists. These top 15 and the Science in Action winner will be flown out to Google’s headquarters in California in July for our celebratory finalist event and for the last round of judging, which will be conducted by our panel of renowned scientists and innovators.

Now, let’s get excited for the results!

The regional finalists in each of the three age categories are:

ASIA (Age 13 - 14)
Sadanand Patil, India
Utkarsh Gupta, India
Anjan Venkatesh, India
Aravind Muraleedharan, India
Nitya Raju, India
Aditya Jain, India
Sumit Singh, India
Ayushi Khedkar, Shraddha Kukade, Pournima Shinde, India
Nihar dalal, India
Shravan Patankar, Abhishek Dedhe, India

ASIA (Age 15 - 16)
Ivan Jie Xiong Ang, Malaysia

Marco Ochsner, Ludwig Hruza, Singapore
Edith Loo, Li Yin Tan, Singapore
Rohit Fenn, India
Hamza Azhar, Pakistan
Benjamin Chan, Paul Jeanbart, Singapore
Xi Xu, China
Scott Guan, Cher Yeoh, China
May Ning Law, Shi Hui Ang, Ruixin Ng, Singapore
Akshat Boobna, India

ASIA (Age 17 - 18) 
Shaoxiong Luo, Singapore
Mark Borris Aldonza, Philippines
Geoffrey Tanudjaja, Singapore
Michael Teoh, Singapore
Shan Tan, Singapore
Wenqing Yan, Ronghui He, Singapore
Chung Kyu Kim, Ho Shin Cho, Joo Hee Lee, South Korea
Raghavendra Ramachanderan, India
Kay Yi Low, Singapore
Wataru Ogasa, Takeshi Kitagawa, Youta Nakagawa, Japan

EMEA (Age 13 - 14)
Sakhiwe Shongwe, Bonkhe Mahlalela, Swaziland
Carlos Vega García, Spain
Natanel Levis, Israel
Marcin Pitek, Poland
Ana María Santos Espósito, Spain
India Hannon, Naomh Hannon, Isabelle Bond, England
Isabel Medrano Sáinz, Spain
Anthony Carmoy, France
Alexey Kozlov, Milena Klimenko, Ukraine
Ralph Moran, Ireland

EMEA (Age 15 - 16)
Artem Mosiyenko, Javed Lindner, Germany
Mohammed Al Eydan, Saudi Arabia
Pablo González Recio, Alvaro Cuevas Alvarez, Alejandro Sánchez Lechón, Spain
Shahd Al Jasser, Saudi Arabia
Iván Hervías Rodríguez, Marcos Ochoa, Sergio Pascual, Spain
Gonzalo Balbás Moñivas, Spain
Judith Calvo Rull, Spain
Omar Obeya, Egypt
Karsten Roth, Germany
Menna AbdelGawad, Saudi Arabia

EMEA (Age 17 - 18)
Danijar Hafner, Germany
Eugen Hruska, Germany
Till Speicher, Paul Georg Wagner, Germany
Ibrahim Khalil, Egypt
Eduardo Sancho Calzada, Alejandra Bargues Carot, Laura García Marco, Spain
Muireasa Carroll, Mairéad Kingston, Denise Hurley, Ireland
Melvin Zammit, Malta
Abdallah Reda, Egypt
Adrián Díaz, Sandra Garrido Romero, Spain
Philip Glass, Callum Middleton, England

The Americas (Age 13 - 14)
Kriti Lall, USA
Anirudh Jain, USA
Jonah Kohn, USA
Mark Liang, USA
Andrew Chen, USA
Raymond Wang, Canada
Garima Singh, USA
Arjun Mahajan, Maya Flannery, Jonathan Berman, USA
Suruchi Ramanujan, USA
Martin Schneider, Joshua Li, USA

The Americas (Age 15 - 16)
Kimberley Yu, Phillip Yu, USA
Natalie Ng, USA
Rishabh Mazmudar, USA
Emily S. Wang, Trevor Wang, USA
Joshua Meier, USA
Catherine Wong, USA
Katherine Zimmerman, USA
Sabera Talukder, USA
Grace Brosofsky, USA
Alejandro Andres Fuentes Herrera, Chille

The Americas (Age 17 - 18)
Daniel Wang, USA
Brittany Wenger, USA
Yamini Naidu, USA
Karen Resnick, USA
Grace Pan, USA
Yuhao (Danny) Huang, Canada
Blake Smith, Vickram Gidwani, USA
Pascal Gendron, Canada
Yassine Bouanane, Canada
Ricardo Enrique Alba Torres, Jessica Alba Torres, Colombia

The Scientific American Science in Action Award nominations are:
Anjan Venkatesh, India
Sumit Singh, India
Geoffrey Tanudjaja, Singapore
Sakhiwe Shongwe, Swaziland
Carlos Vega García, Spain
Mena Abdel Gawad, Saudi Arabia
Mark Liang, USA
Andrew Chen, USA
Catherine Wong, USA
Sabera Talukder, USA
Grace Brosofsky, USA
Ricardo Enrique Alba Torres, Jessica Alba Torres, Colombia
Katherine Zimmerman, USA

Thanks to all of the students around the world who submitted projects to the Google Science Fair and congratulations to all the young scientists who were selected as regional finalists.

Posted by: Sam Peter, Google Science Fair Team

Missed registration this year? Click here to sign up for a notification when registration opens for the Google Science Fair 2013.

My journey to the Galapagos

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Last week,  Shree Bose, the 2011 grand prize winner of Google Science Fair, traveled to the Galapagos with National Geographic Expeditions as part of the grand prize. We invited Shree to write about her experience in the capital. - Ed.

Two deep chocolate eyes stared into mine as I stood a few inches away, paralyzed in the beauty of the moment and at the unique, amazing creature before me. Wrinkled eyelids drowsily closed before slowly opening again to reveal eyes that seemed to hold the wisdom of the 160 years the tortoise had been alive. He looked about at the group of tourists close enough to touch him and showed no fear, dipping his head down by his leathery neck to chomp on some more grass and the bright green poison apples only tortoises can eat. As I quietly backed away, the tortoise looked up with a bored expression before heaving up his patterned swirled shell eroding with time and ambling away in the other direction for more food. I was in the Galapagos. 

There's a huge difference between reading about a place like the Galapagos in school textbooks and actually visiting it. I road on a rubber boat motoring around the islands of the Galapagos and felt the salt water of the Pacific spraying up against my skin. I felt the red sands of the Rabida Island between my toes, and walked straight up to a giant Galapagos tortoise to say hello. I was no longer reading about a place, but experiencing it first hand. 

The ten days in the Galapagos were like stepping into a different world. I had heard that animals on this island would not show any fear because they have very few natural predators, but I had no idea what to expect. I met vibrant red, Sally Lightfoot crabs, blue footed boobies I had learned about since freshman year, Galapagos tortoises, and Darwin finches. Sea lions played happily on beaches, close enough to chase me, and one did.  A marine iguana, one of those species found nowhere else in the world, climbed up to me, its face less than a feet away before cocking his head sideways to regard me. A blue footed booby dove down into the water for fish a few feet away from the kayak my brother and I were paddling, before surfacing and coming up to our kayak and pecking on it. I come from a city where it isn't possible to get within a few feet of any bird. But there, even the tiniest of birds, like mockingbirds and finches, hopped about within a foot of our legs as we walked by. We went snorkeling in the clear, beautiful Pacific Ocean and I saw schools of brilliant fish and even a solitary turtle in there. I looked down once and realized I was directly above a school of eagle rays a few feet below, and once, I even looked down to see the shadow of a shark swimming away. 

Shree with Marine Iguanas 

The Galapagos are special for several reasons. One is that they’re so isolated, a place where humans haven't had a great impact on the natural environments. Another is the biodiversity. This island chain lies at the crossroads of three currents that carried in a wide variety of species—in fact, there are lots of species here that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. A third is its scientific history. The Galapagos are where Darwin, during his 19 days on land there, noticed the incredible diversity of species and came up with his theory of natural selection and evolution. After ten days there, I realized all of these special things about the Galapagos, and decided to add one more: inspiration to keep exploring the amazing things our world has to offer and so much more beyond.

- Shree