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Google Completes Inaugural Online Science Fair
Google has named the winners in its premiere Google Science Fair, a global online science competition held in partnership with CERN, Lego, National Geographic, and Scientific American. All of the winning entries dealt with health issues, including carcinogens in marinades, indoor air quality, and even an improved treatment for some chemotherapy patients with ovarian cancer.
The Google Science Fair called on students aged 13 to 18 to participate alone or in small teams and allowed them to tackle any scientific issue deemed "interesting, creative, worded scientifically and relevant to the world today." Judging criteria focused on quality of the data, the writeup, and the significance of the concept for the project, as well as the quality of the video or presentation that the students had to produce for the project.
Prizes were awarded to 15 finalists selected from a group of 60 semifinalists, along with a one winner from each age group and a grand prize winner. Top prizes included a $50,000 scholarship for the grand prize winner and $25,000 for each finalist or finalist team. Prizes for the students' schools and families were also awarded. (Additional details about prizes can be found on the Google Science Fair site.)
The grand prize winner and winner in the age 17 to 18 age group was Shree Bose of of Fort Worth, TX, who, according to Google, "discovered a way to improve ovarian cancer treatment for patients when they have built up a resistance to certain chemotherapy drugs."
In the age 15 to 16 group, the winner was Naomi Shah of Portland, OR. Shah's science fair project focused on indoor air quality and the implications for people with asthma.
And in the age 13 to 14 group, the winner was Lauren Hodge of Dallastown, PA, whose project tackled the effects of marinades on carcinogen levels in grilled chicken.
In a blog post today, Cristin Frodella of the Google education team wrote, "Our judges said the unifying elements of all three young women were their intellectual curiosity, their tenaciousness and their ambition to use science to find solutions to big problems. They examined complex problems and found both simple solutions that can be implemented by the general public--like changing your cooking habits or removing toxins from your home--as well as more complex solutions that can be addressed in labs by doctors and researchers, such as Shree's groundbreaking discovery, which could have wider implications for cancer research."
Google has not yet announced details for the next science fair. Additional information about the science fair and this year's winners can be found on the Google Science Fair site.