THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: This week, while the Sci-bug was crawling around science journals for latest news on science, this wonderful news for kids just popped up from the pages of ‘Scientific American.’ The Internet giant Google has launched the 2012 Google Science Fair, a global online science competition for students aged 13-18.
Participants can submit a project individually or as part of a team of two or three. There are three age categories: 13-14, 15-16, and 17-18.
Well, what is fantastic about this science fair are the out-of-this-world kind of prizes. The grand prize winner, along with one parent or guardian, will have the chance to visit the Galapagos Archipelago, Darwin’s living laboratory, and the home to an abundance of wildlife. Isolated from the mainland for millions of years, this rare wilderness provides opportunities to walk among colonies of animals and snorkel amid shimmering fish.
The winner, along with one parent or guardian, will travel aboard the ‘National Geographic Endeavour’ and will have the opportunity to experience up-close encounters with unique species such as flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies, and domed giant tortoises. This ten-day excursion is filled with pristine National Geographic experiences that range from kayaking among secluded coves where sea lions frolic in the shallows, to skimming the water in a nimble Zodiac to spot the unusual ‘mola mola’ fish.
Google will cover the cost of flights for the winner plus one parent or guardian to the Galapagos. This prize is valid for one year from winning. Apart from the 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions, there are educational scholarships worth $ 25,000 and $ 50,000 to be won, a choice of internships at CERN in Switzerland, Lego or Google, digital subscriptions to ‘Scientific American’, Chromebooks, Android smartphones and much more.
This year, there will also be a special ‘Science in Action’ prize sponsored by ‘Scientific American’ which will be awarded to a project that addresses a social, environmental, ethical, health or welfare issue to make a practical difference to the lives of a group or community.
The deadline for project submissions is April 1, 2012. The submissions will be evaluated by a panel of 15 judges, including Steve Myers, the Director for Accelerators and Technology at CERN; Mariette di Christina, the editor-in-chief of ‘Scientific American’; Vint Cerf, the vice-president of Google; and Shree Bose, who was the Grand Prize Winner in 2011 for her project on cancer treatment.
Towards the end of May, 90 regional finalists will be announced. The judging panel will narrow these down to 15 global finalists. The 15 finalists, selected from these regional finalists, will be flown to Mountain View California for a chance to compete to become a finalist winner in their age category.
Find out more at Google’s Science Fair website: http://www.science.ie/science-news/google-global-science-fair.html.