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Google Science Fair quarter-finalists announced

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June 19, 2011

Google's online Science Fair gives students aged 13-18 from around the world the chance to showcase their ideas

Google's online Science Fair gives students aged 13-18 from around the world the chance to showcase their ideas

Fifteen Google Science Fair quarter-finalists have been announced as the competition moves towards the 2011 Grand Final in July. These fifteen finalists will be flying to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California for the Google Science Fair event, and final judging will take place on 11th July by a panel of acclaimed scientists. Open to all students aged 13 to 18 from around the world, the online competition is designed to champion young scientific talent and give students the opportunity to showcase their ideas. Three winners will be chosen from each age group, with an overall winner chosen from those three.

Judging of 7,500 applicants has been taking place since January 2011, and sixty of those were judged via an online competition to identify the People's Choice Award winner. Nimal Subramanian won US$10,000 towards further education for a study aiming to identify whether anti-cancer agents such as turmeric and cumin decrease the germination and protein content of seeds such as mung beans and chick peas. The remaining top projects submissions have been narrowed down to a final fifteen; the top five projects in each age category 13-14, 15-16, 17-18 years.

The studies are highly advanced for such tender years, and judges are reportedly "blown away" by the talent and standard of the entries. In the 13-14 age category the five quarter-finalists are:

  • Anand Srinivasan, USA, for his project studying direct brain interfacing of artificial prosthesis via electroencephalography (EEG);
  • Lauren Hodge, USA, for her work in identifying inhibitors of carcinogenic Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) in grilled chicken by varying marinades;
  • Daniel Arnold, USA, for his tests of fixed and spring switches in cause and prevention of train derailments;
  • Luke Taylor, South Africa, for his work programming robots to understand and execute commands given in natural human language.
  • In the 15-16 age category the five quarter-finalists are:

  • Naomi Shah, USA, for her study on effects of air pollution on asthma sufferers;
  • Harine Ravichandran, India, for a study of solutions to power sags;
  • Gavin Ovsak for his work on a fully-submersible geared water turbine;
  • Skanda Koppula, USA for designing a preliminary system to collect physical marine data about the ocean floor.
  • Finally, in the 17-18 age category the quarter-finalists are:

  • Christopher Nielsen, Canada, for his invention of an inexpensive alternative to current geo-positioning systems;
  • Vighnesh Leonardo Shiv, USA, for creation of algorithms making it easier to analyze and transcribe music;
  • Shaun Lim Hsien Yang, Singapore, for a study identifying the effect of UV light on sunflowers as a natural herbicide;
  • Matthew Morris, USA, for the invention of an improved hydrodynamic sailboat keel.
  • Projects will be judged on eight main aspects by a panel that includes Nobel Laureate Dr. Kary Mullis, big name techies from Google and CERN, scientists from National Geographic and Imperial College, and inventors and professors from the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, and the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research & Technology. Delivery must be via a two minute video presentation, or twenty slide presentation.

    The prizes are not inconsiderable; Google offers a US$50,000 scholarship contribution to the further education of the grand finalist and US$25,000 to the other two finalists. In addition, each of the award sponsors CERN, Google, and Scientific American have offered one finalist a trip to their facilities in Geneva, Zurich, New York and a virtual year-long internship at LEGO R&D.; Other prizes include digital access to Scientific American archives for the winner's school, Android phones, LEGO mosaics and goody bags, and subscription to Scientific American and National Geographic. The Grand Prize winner also wins a trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions.

    The semi-finalists from each category and the grand finalist will be chosen at the Google Science Fair at Google HQ, California on 11th July and the event will be live streamed at 6pm PST (2am GMT) on Google's YouTube Channel. Following the success and popularity of the first Google Science Fair competition, the 2012 competition already promises to be even bigger and better. Hopeful participants that missed out this time can sign up to hear as soon as the 2012 competition gets underway.



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