Monday 11 July was the day of the big finals of the Google Science Fair, held at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.
The Google Science Fair is the first global online science fair to be held, and had invited 13-18 year olds to submit their own science project online.
15 projects in the 3 age categories were selected for the Finals and the young scientists from Canada, USA, India, South Africa and Singapore were invited to come to Google’s headquarters for 3 days of fun, excitement and competition!
The finalists had researched and looked into finding solutions in many areas like how to make railroads safer, reducing natural harmful ingredients in cooked food, creating more efficient water turbines or finding the relation between air pollution and lung diseases.
The finalists spent a lot of good time together, playing games, trying out experiments with sampling DNA from strawberries with staff from National Geographic, and were challenged by the LEGO MINDSTORMS team to control a robot to go up a ramp and place a missing bridge section – that they had to make themselves – in under 30 minutes. The robots themselves were already built, but still the challenge gave the teams sweat on their brows! The teams controlled the robots using Android phones with the MINDdroid app on it .
And the Winner is...
The judges had a hard time choosing between the fantastic and well-researched projects in the 3 categories, but found these three clear winners:
Age 17-18: Shree Bose's project
Age 15-16: Naomi Shah's project
Age 13-14: Lauren Hodge's project
Shree won among other things two scholarships worth 25,000 USD each and a trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions.
Our congratulations go to all the finalists and in particular to Shree, Naomi and Lauren Hodge for showing how power girls can make a difference in science and technology!
Among the five projects in the age group 13-14 years, Luke Taylor from South Africa had submitted a very interesting LEGO MINDSTORMS programming project in which he explores if you can program your NXT robot by using plain English and getting it translated to a programming environment the robot will react on.
Each of the 15 finalists received prizes for having made it into the finals and from the LEGO MINDSTORMS Team they received their own NXT 2.0 set, the EOPD sensor, Magnetic Sensor, Angle Sensor and extended cable set from HiTechnic and a Codatex RF ID sensor.
The three winners also received a big LEGO TECHNIC set, and will later on receive a personal LEGO mosaic image each to commemorate the event.
Over 10,000 young scientists from 91 countries submitted 7,500 projects to compete in the science fair. All continents except Antarctica were represented!
Thanks to the partners Google, CERN, Scientific American and National Geographic for making this event so special for the young researchers!
The LEGO MINDSTORMS Team
Photos: © Andrew Federman Photography