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Fifteen years ago two young computer science students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, hypothesised that there was a better way to find information on the web. After heavy research and various tests they built a search engine that literally changed the way people found information online — Google.
Ideas and inventions as profound as this can go unnoticed if people don’t have the right forum for their talents to be discovered. To help make budding scientists, in partnership with CERN, The LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American, Google is introducing its first global online science competition — the Google Science Fair.
The competition is open to students around the world who are between the ages of 13 and 18. All you need is a computer with internet access.
“We believe that science can change the world—and one way to encourage this notion is to celebrate and champion young scientific talent in the same way that athletes and pop idols are celebrated and idolised.”
Traditional science fairs require you to be in the same physical space to compete with students in your area. Now any student with an idea can participate from anywhere, and share their idea with the world. You build and submit your project — either by yourself or in a team of up to three — entirely online. Students in Ghana (or Greenland or Georgia) will be able to compete with students in South Africa (or Spain or Singapore) for prizes including once-in-a-lifetime experiences (like a trip to the Galapagos Islands with a National Geographic Explorer), scholarships and real-life work opportunities (like a five-day trip to CERN in Switzerland).
Students are also encouraged to post their local science fair entries online with Google Science Fair.
To enter, register online and create your project as a Google Site. Registration is open until April 4, 2011. A parent or guardian must give consent in order for students to compete. Judging will begin after April 4th and the semi-finalists will be announced in early May.
The semi-finalist projects will be posted on Google’s online gallery, where the public is encouraged to vote for a “people’s choice” winner. 15 finalists will be selected to bring their projects to Google headquarters on July 11 to compete in the final live event.
Scientists will select a winner in each age category, as well as a grand-prize winner.
Here are some examples of inspirational science fair projects.