Tag Archives: Google Science Fair

Ask your question in the 2012 Google Science Fair

Are human beings born curious, or can curiosity be nurtured through environment, competition or a good teacher? Everyone’s got a question—that’s ours. But we’re sure you’ve got tons of questions, too. Today, we’re inviting students around the world to pose their most pressing questions about the world around them and answer those questions through scientific inquiry.

Along with our partners CERN, The LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American, today we’re launching the second annual Google Science Fair, the largest online science competition in the world, open globally to students ages 13-18. Either individually or in teams of up to three people, students pose a question, develop a hypothesis and conduct science experiments to test it. The entire process is detailed and submitted online, via a website template participants fill out themselves, so all you need to participate is curiosity, an Internet connection and a browser.

Last year, we received entries that strove to solve a wide variety of needs, from “How can I cure cancer?” to “Can I teach a robot to learn English?” to “Can I build a faster sailboat?” The breadth and depth of these projects was incredibly impressive, and this year we hope to see even more entries from the next generation of brilliant young scientists.

This year’s fair will be even more global than the last: We’re now accepting submissions in 13 languages (Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish and Russia). We will also be recognizing 90 regional finalists (30 from the Americas, 30 from the Asia Pacific and 30 from Europe/Middle East/Africa). From these 90, to be announced in May, our judges will select the top 15 finalists, who will be flown to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. for our live Google Science Fair final event on July 23, 2012. At the finals, a panel of distinguished international judges (like Vint Cerf, Sylvia Earle and Nobel Laureates David Gross and Ada Yonath) will select top winners in each age category (13-14, 15-16, 17-18).

We’re also introducing a new category for this year’s competition—the Scientific American Science in Action award. We were so inspired by 2011 finalist Harine Ravichandran’s project, which attempted to solve energy surges in rural villages, that we decided to recognize an outstanding project that addresses a social, environmental or health need to make a difference in the lives of a group or community, as Harine’s project did for her grandparents’ village in India. The winner will also be flown to Mountain View for the finalist event in July.

The Google Science Fair opens today, January 12, worldwide, and we’ll accept submissions until Sunday, April 1 at 11:59 GMT (or 6:59pm ET/3:59pm PT). In addition to satisfying your curious mind, your brilliant project can also help to win you some pretty cool prizes, like a $50,000 college scholarship from Google, a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with a National Geographic Explorer or an internship at Google or any one of our partners. Our Scientific American Science in Action award winner will earn $50,000 and year-long mentorship to make their project goal a reality.

The winners of last year’s inaugural Google Science Fair became something like scientific rock stars. Shree Bose, Naomi Shah and Lauren Hodge met with President Obama, were invited to speak at big events like TEDx Women and were featured in Wired magazine. Shree, our grand prize winner, was named one of Glamour magazine’s 21 Amazing Young Women of the Year. White House visits and Glamour aside, every student in the Google Science Fair has the chance to do hands-on research that can truly change the world.

Visit google.com/sciencefair and ask your most burning questions at the top of your voice for the world to hear. Google itself was founded through experimentation and with the Google Science Fair, we hope to inspire scientific exploration among the next generation of scientists and engineers, celebrate scientific talent, create scientific role models and unite students around the world in the quest for learning.

Two days in D.C. for the winners of the Google Science Fair

(Cross-posted on the Google Student blog and the Google Science Fair blog)

Last week, 17-year-old Shree Bose from Fort Worth, Texas, the grand prize winner of the Google Science Fair, visited Washington, D.C. at the invitation of the White House. We invited Shree to write about her experience in the capitol. – Ed.

Adrenaline. I turned around as the brilliantly polished door behind me opened, and suddenly I was face to face with a man I’d seen so many times on television. The President of the United States calmly extended his hand to shake mine and those of Naomi and Lauren, the other two winners of Google’s first-ever Science Fair. He knew about our projects and was genuinely excited to talk with us.

The Oval Office is more than just a room. It has a palpable aura of grandeur, with the presidential seal in the center of the deep blue carpet and a portrait of George Washington hanging on the wall. The desk, where presidents of the past have contemplated some of the most important decisions in the world’s history, was polished to a gleam. President Obama leaned against it as he talked to us.

He asked us how we became interested in science, what our plans were for the future and which colleges we were interested in. Smiling, he told us to stick with science. We left the Oval Office feeling like our individual futures were important to the nation’s future; like we could change the world.

Our trip to Washington, D.C., also included visits to the National Institute of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Over our two days, we were given the opportunity to sit down and talk with many of our country’s leaders who have not only been extraordinarily successful in the fields we wish to go into in the future, but who also encouraged us to follow our own dreams. It was more than just meetings; it was inspiration.

Naomi Shah, Shree Bose and Lauren Hodge meet President Obama in the Oval Office
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

My BOLDest summer yet: A recap from the frontlines of a Google internship

Lie down and remember that dream you had about something that seemed impossible—now imagine waking up and looking around to realize you were never sleeping. From strawberry funnel cakes to five-story cruise ships and hangouts with Larry Page, my summer of Building Opportunities in Leadership and Development (BOLD)—a Google summer internship program—never looked, tasted or sailed so well. Every day this summer I’ve jumped out of bed and into my real-life dream, working on products that I believe will change the world and contributing to a melting pot of proactive teamwork.

BOLD, one of Google’s student and diversity initiatives, brought 100+ undergraduates from all over the U.S. to Google in 2011. The program began in 2008 as a way to expose historically underrepresented students to the technology field. Whether it be sharing tofu with co-founder Sergey Brin or rubbing elbows with some of the world’s brightest minds at the Google Science Fair, Google interns worldwide have collected a plethora of unforgettable moments.

Being an intern here is much more than making coffee and photocopies. As one of Google’s largest sources of full-time hires, internship programs contribute to the company’s diversity, culture and future. Sure, I’ve made a few coffees during my internship—caramel mocha cappuccinos to be exact, from the espresso machine in the microkitchen. But my summer at the Googleplex was a packed, 11-week adventure within the Global Communications & Public Affairs apps and enterprise team. My projects ranged from working with my manager on the Google+ Project launch to staffing press at the inaugural Google Science Fair. Other BOLDers worked on major products like Android and YouTube, and even launched newbies, like Games in Google+. We attended weekly workshops, talks about technology and skill-building seminars led by company leaders like director of online sales and operations Stacy Brown-Philpot and chief legal officer David Drummond.

I was even able to scratch my creative itch for event coordinating and community service. On my second day at Google, I painted hallways alongside my team for a community GoogleServe project at middle school in San Francisco. Soon after, I coordinated a weekly intern discussion series with a few amazing mentors from the Black Googlers Network.

To share a few other perspectives beyond my own, I caught up with Brandon Jackson and Eoin Hayes from the BOLD and Online Media Associate Program (OMAP) bunch. I asked them to share a few of their experiences this summer:

  • Brandon, a two-time BOLD participant and rising senior at Stanford, worked with the technology human relations team, focusing on transitioning new Googlers to the company. He told me: “BOLD represents family. The program coordinators find some of the brightest, most intellectually curious and warm hearted students in the world. Coupled with inspiring mentors and an incredible university programs team, BOLD is a community that never stops looking out for each other.”
  • Eoin, a master’s student at London Business School who worked with the OMAP AdSense team in Dublin, said he not only gained deep product knowledge during his internship, but also leadership and management skills. A highlight was his visit to Google’s headquarters with four other international interns.

Eoin with other European and U.S. interns at a Googleplex TGIF

Although my internship officially ends today, my professional development is just beginning. I have a new perspective on life and career options after college, like having had a refreshing sip of “Googlemonade” in the Sahara of post-college stress. As a senior this year, I’ll be serving as UC Merced’s first Google Student Ambassador and I can’t wait to connect my college to all of Google’s collaborative learning resources and leadership opportunities.

Me (with the purple pants) & fellow BOLDers on the 80s-themed intern boat cruise around the San Francisco Bay

This summer was an unforgettable cruise and I will never forget those who set sail with me. If you’re interested in student opportunities at Google, visit the Student blog.