Last year’s debut of the Google Science Fair netted some impressive results. The global competition, which attracted more than 7,500 entries from over 10,000 students in more than 90 countries, produced research that covered an amazing breadth of topics. The winning entry, by American teenager Shree Bose, discovered a way to prevent cancer cells from becoming resistant to the chemotherapy drug, cisplatin.
In 2012, the Google Science Fair looks to expand its reach. “This year we want to make the Science Fair even more global, so we will be accepting submissions in 13 languages and selecting 90 regional finalists — 30 from the Americas, 30 from Europe/Middle East/Africa, and 30 from Asia Pacific,” says Maggie Johnson, Director of Education and University Relations at Google. “We’ve also introduced the ‘Science in Action’ award, sponsored by one of our partners, Scientific American, for a project that addresses a social, environmental or health issue to make a practical difference in the lives of a group or community.”
Any student between the ages of 13 and 18 may enter and students can compete in teams of two, three, or go it alone in the 2012 Science fair competition. Rules and other helpful information are available and have changed slightly from last year’s Google Science Fair. For a quick overview to learn how to enter, watch the video, below.
Because this year’s Google Science Fair has a focus on being bigger and better with more entries and more competition, there will also be bigger and better prizes. Competition for those prizes will be stiff and, if Bose’s award-winning entry wasn’t enough to alert you to the level of competition, consider how difficult it will be to judge the competition. Johnson, who also serves as a judge of the Science Fair, says of last year’s fair, “The breadth and quality of the projects we received last year was absolutely astonishing, so it was difficult at times to narrow the field. We were so impressed by the quality of the science, and also the ways in which these young people were looking at complex, real-world problems and finding solutions through science.”
That sounds like a daunting challenge. But does Johnson have any advice for 2012 entrants? “In addition to the basic components of the scientific method, judges also weigh factors like students’ passion for science and if they have strong reasons for submitting the project at-hand. And, with the new Scientific American ‘Science in Action’ award, the judges can also recognize students who finding a way to effect real, positive changes in their communities through science.
“Think about a problem that really interests you, no matter how big or challenging the problem might be. Then find a part of the problem that you can work on given the science you know or can learn. Don’t worry about making a big discovery or important finding. We want to see you apply the scientific method to a problem that you are truly passionate about. Whatever you accomplish will help move the science forward.”
That’s great advice and good luck to everyone entering this year’s Google Science Fair. If last year’s competition was any indication, this year’s entries will be unbelievable!