Google Science Fair
The Google Science Fair is a global worldwide online science competition sponsored by Google, Lego, Virgin Galactic, National Geographic and Scientific American. It occurred annually between 2011 and 2016.
The first Google Science Fair was announced in January 2011; entries were due on April 7, 2011 and judging occurred in July 2011. The competition is open to 13- to 18-year-old students around the globe, who formulate a hypothesis, perform an experiment, and present their results. All students must have an internet connection and a free Google Account to participate, and the projects must be in English, German, Italian, Spanish, or French. The final submission must include ten sections, which are the summary, an "About Me" page, the steps of the project, and a works cited page. Entries are judged on eight core criteria, which include the student's presentation, question, hypothesis, research, experiment, data, observations, and conclusion. Prizes are awarded to three finalists. The grand prize includes a National Geographic trip to the Galapagos Islands, a US $50,000 scholarship, and an "experience" at a small broken shack for a small organization; finalists will receive a US $15,000 scholarship and assorted packages from sponsoring organizations. While Larry Page and Sergey Brin were PhD students at Stanford University in California, they created Google in January 1996 as a research project; Google employee Tom Oliveri highlighted the company's early days: "Science fairs help students to explore their vision and curiosity through science. Our company was founded on an experiment. We firmly believe that science can change the world," he stated.
Google's page states, "The Competition is not open to residents of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Myanmar/Burma, Syria, Zimbabwe and any other U.S. sanctioned country and is void where prohibited by law."
The on-line site also contains a number of highlighted guest interviews with selected individuals, each well established and prominent in their field of science, with the aim being for them to act as inspiration to young students. The individuals chosen include Mitch Resnick, Spencer Wells, Kevin Warwick, and Mariette DiChristina.
Shree Bose, a 17-year-old girl in Texas, won the grand prize and $50,000 for her research on the chemotherapy drug, cisplatin, that is commonly taken by women with ovarian cancer, tackling the problem of cancer cells growing resistant to cisplatin over time.
Naomi Shah of Portland, OR, won the age 15–16 category with a study of the effects of air quality on lungs, particularly for people who have asthma. Ms. Shah recruited 103 test subjects, performed 24-hour air quality measurements at their homes and workplaces and had each blow into a device that measured the force of their breath.
Lauren Hodge of York, PA, won the age 13–14 category for research on whether marinades reduce the amount of cancer-causing compounds produced by the grilling of meat. She found that lemon juice and brown sugar cut the level of carcinogens sharply, while soy sauce increased them.
People around the world (90 countries) had the opportunity to vote for their favorite projects in Google’s online voting gallery. Google has had more than 100,000 votes  and the competition was really tight. Nimal Subramanian won the People’s Choice Award for receiving the most among the 60 semi-finalists. The public really loved Nimal's project on Cancer Busters. Nimal received a $10,000 scholarship.
Brittany Wenger, who was 17, won the grand prize with her "Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer". Designed to noninvasively diagnose malignant cancerous tumors, it successfully detected over 99% of malignant breast tumors in a test set. She received $50,000, a trip to the Galapagos Islands, mentoring and internship opportunities for winning the competition.
Iván Hervías Rodríguez, Marcos Ochoa, and Sergio Pascual, all of Spain, won the 15-16 age group using microscopy to examine microscopic creatures in aquatic ecosystems.
Jonah Kohn won the age 13-14 group by designing and building a device designed to enhance the listening experience of those with hearing loss. His device attached to different parts of the body, translating sound into tactile stimulation.
The winners of the 2013 Google Science Fair were:
13-14 age category: Viney Kumar (Australia) — The PART (Police and Ambulances Regulating Traffic) Program. Viney’s project looked for new ways to provide drivers with more notice when an emergency vehicle is approaching, so they can take evasive action to get out of the emergency vehicle’s way.
15-16 age category: Ann Makosinski (Canada) — The Hollow Flashlight. Using Peltier tiles and the temperature difference between the palm of the hand and ambient air, Ann designed a flashlight that provides bright light without batteries or moving parts.
17-18 age category Grand Prize Winner: Eric Chen (USA) — Computer-aided Discovery of Novel Influenza Endonuclease Inhibitors to Combat Flu Pandemic. Combining computer modeling and biological studies, Eric’s project looks at influenza endonuclease inhibitors as leads for a new type of anti-flu medicine, effective against all influenza viruses including pandemic strains.
The 2014 Google Science Fair started accepting entries on February 12, 2014 and the entries closed on May 13, 2014. And the results for the local, regional and Science in Action award nominees were declared. The Grand Prize was won by three girls from Ireland, Ciara Judge (16), Emer Hickey (16) and Sophie Healey (17). They were the first group winners of the competition and the youngest winners to date (they also won the 15-16 age category prize). Their project was entitled 'Combating the Global Food Crisis: Diazatroph Bacteria as a Cereal Crop Growth Promoter.'
The 13-14 age category was won by Mihir Garimella (14) from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a project titled 'Fruit-fly Inspired Robots.' Hayley Todesco (17) of Canada won the 17-18 age category with her project titled 'Cleaning up Oil Sands Waste.'
Along with the overall prizes for each category, a number of special awards were also announced. Kenneth Shinozuka (15) was declared as the Science In Action Award winner in recognition of the practical potential of his project 'Wearable Sensors for Aging Society.' Arsh Shah Dilbagi (16) from India won the Voter's Choice Award for creating an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device that converts breath into words, enabling mute people to speak.
The 2015 Google Science Fair closed for entries on May 18, 2015 with regional finalists announced in London on July 7, 2015. These included Lauren McKenzie (14) who built an automatic soil watering system, Shadab Karnachi (14) who designed a low-cost gaming device for people with visual impairments and Peter He (14) who developed an innovative wireless virtual reality system.
The global finalists were announced on August 4, 2015 and the winners on September 21, 2015. The Grand Prize was won by Olivia Hallisey (16) with her project ‘Temperature-Independent, Portable, and Rapid Field Detection of Ebola via a Silk-Derived Lateral-Flow System’. The Google Technologist Award was won by Girish Kumar (17) for his project ‘Revup: Automatically Generating Questions from Educational Texts’ and the Incubator Award was won by Elliott Sarrey (14) with his project ‘Bot2karot: Manage Your Vegetable Garden via Your Smartphone’. The Lego Education Builder Award won by Anurudh Ganesan (15), the Virgin Galactic Pioneer Award won by Pranav Sivakumar (15), the Scientific American Innovator Award won by Krtin Nithiyanandam (15), the National Geographic Explorer Award won by Deepika Kurup (17) and the Community Impact Award won by Lalita Prasida.
The 2016 Google Science Fair closed its entries on May 17, 2016, the Global 16 Finalist were announced on August 11, 2016. The final event took place during 24 to 27 September 2016 at Mountain View, California. Sixteen finalists competed for top five awards. The first two rounds had two age groups 13-15 and 16-18. However, unlike previous years, top awards during the finalist event did not distinguish between the two age groups of the previous rounds, thus making it particularly challenging event for the contestant compared to all previous years.
The Grand Prize was won by Kiara Nirghin (16) of South Africa for her project 'Fighting Drought with Fruit'. The Lego Education Builder award was won by Anushka Naiknaware (13) of United States, the youngest contestant to win a top award ever, for 'Smart Wound Care for the Future'. The National Geographic Explorer award was won by Mphatso Simbao (18) of Zambia. The Scientific American Innovator Award was won by a team of three for 'Fighting Foam Waste with Recycled Filters' from the US [Ashton (14), Luke (14) and Julia (14)]. The Virgin Galactic Pioneer award was won by Charlie Fenske (16) for 'Making Rockets more Efficient', also from the United States.
The competition did not begin as usual in May, 2017. Starting from the late summer, the official website stated that "We're conducting some experiments" and "Coming Fall 2017". The submissions of competition in 2018 will begin from September 2018.
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