August 14, 2012

The Google Science Fair

Some of the smartest teens in the world went head to head this summer.

Maggie: Now who doesn’t like a good science fair?

But these days, it takes a lot more than a baking soda volcano to bring home the prize, especially at a competition like this year’s Google Science Fair. Thousands of teenagers from more than 100 countries around the world entered the second annual Google Science Fair over the summer. It all came down to the finalists, who got to bring their projects to Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.

“Hi, guys. Welcome to Google.”

Maggie: They are some of the smartest teens on the planet.

The finalists in the Google Science Fair, out of thousands, only 15 teams made it this far, earning them a trip to Google to show off their projects to the judges — ideas from new treatments for brain disease, to 3D electronics, to innovative ways to grow more food in a smaller space.

Jonah Khan: Frequency range of four-forty.

Maggie: Fourtneen-year-old Jonah Khan designed a device to help people with hearing loss experience music by converting sound into vibrations that can be felt with touch.

Jonah: Your brain just disregards the tactile sounds because it doesn’t need it.

Saber Talukdar: What it does, it removes the twigs and leaves and algae in the water.

Maggie: Saber Talukdar’s project could help save lives in poor countries by providing safe and affordable drinking water.

For fewer than $25, how can I also portably purify the water for developing countries? This is how.

“There’s the physical filtration, killing the bacteria, the final filtration, and the power system.”

Josh Lee: Martin and I have both made flash games in the past, ever since we were in fifth grade.

Maggie: Martin Schneider and Josh Lee from Pennsylvania used their love of video games to make a game that helps kids learn more in class.

High school junior Brittany Winger from Lakewood Ranch, Florida…

Brittany Winger: …Actually create ten different networks for the conclusive logic.

Maggie: …wrote a computer program to help doctors more accurately diagnose breast cancer. She says it worked in more than 99% of cases.

The judges were impressed.

And at a big awards ceremony, it was Brittany who took home the grand prize. Brittany won a scientific trip to the Galapagos Islands, and a $50,000 scholarship, and, of course, a Lego trophy.


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