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Google launches search for next generation of scientists

For the third year in a row, Google is giving high school students an opportunity to change the world with their science projects.

The company announced its annual science fair Wednesday. In a statement announcing the science fair, the search giant noted that it is offering a $50,000 scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands to the young scientist who can make the most valuable contribution to the world of science and medicine. In addition, the winner’s school will receive a $10,000 grant and access to Scientific American’s digital archives.

The competition is inspired by world-famous scientists who made groundbreaking discoveries at an early age, according to Sam Peter, who works with Google’s Science Fair Team.

“Throughout history many great scientists developed their curiosity for science at an early age and went on to … change the way we live,” Peter said in a blog post earlier this week.

The competition has generated all kinds of fascinating projects. Past winners have designed novel ways to diagnose breast cancer and developed technologies to help people with hearing loss enjoy music.

The submissions will be judged by a 15-member expert panel. According to Google’s summary of the competition, contestants will be judged by eight criteria. The panel will evaluate the contestants’ creativity, assessing how relevant their work is to the real world. The judges will also take a close look at how well the contestants follow the scientific method, by critiquing the quality of their research and experiments. Each participant, or team of participants, will be given an opportunity to explain their project in a 20-slide presentation or two-minute video.

The internet giant will also be hosting a series of Google+ Hangouts with this year’s judges and other renown scientists to help inspire and support participants throughout the competition.

The competition is open to students all over the world. Ninety regional finalists will be selected in June, and 15 finalists will be flown to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, where they will present their work in a final, live event on September 23, 2013.  The submission deadline for the competition is April 30, 2013.

Thousands of teenagers from all over the world participated in the competition in 2012. Last year’s winner–17-year-old Brittany Wenger from Lakewood Ranch, Florida– designed software that helps doctors accurately diagnose breast cancer. The program allows experts to assess tumors by comparing individual test results to a large online database.

Environmental scientist T.H. Culhane has served as a judge for the last two years, and says the competition has yielded phenomenal results so far.

“Two years of Google Science Fair challenges have already laid the groundwork for a game changing way to approach problem solving … These remarkable young people – all those thousands of students from every walk of life who worked on and submitted projects and ideas from around the world in 2011 and 2012, created the bedrock,” Culhane noted.



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