Google’s Mountain View, California, Googleplex was transformed into a science hub yesterday, as the search engine giant pooled together young scientists from around the globe to reveal this year’s winners of the Google Science Fair.
The judging panel of the science competition, which apparently attracted entries from thousands of projects from more than 100 countries, included the father of the internet Vint Cerf, who is now Google’s chief internet evangelist; T H Culhane, the explorer with National Geographic; the oceanographer and explorer Sylvia Earle; and Mary Lou Jepsen, CEO and founder of the start-up Pixel Qi Corporation.
Belfast-born Steve Myers, who is the director of Accelerators and Technology at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider was also a judge. CERN recently sent ripples across the world’s physics community when its scientific experiments at the LHC revealed that a new boson particle discovery that could be the Higgs boson. (We had an exclusive interview with Myers following the boson find in early July).
So who were the winning young scientists at Google yesterday?
Google said it whittled down the entries to 15 entries that covered everything from cancer research to vertical farming, and 3D electronics to dementia.
In the 13-14-year-old category, Jonah Kohn from the US won for his ‘Good Vibrations’ device that attempts to help people with impaired hearing enhance their experience of music. Apparently, Kohn’s device uses multi-frequency tactile sound.
A Spanish trio won the 15-16 age category for their environmental project ‘La Vida Oculta del Agua (The Secret Life of Water)’. Iván Hervías Rodríguez, Marcos Ochoa and Sergio Pascual studied hidden microscopic life in fresh water. Google said they documented the organisms that exist in a drop of water, and how those organisms influence our environment.
Finally the grand prize went to a US cloud computing project for people with breast cancer. Brittany Wenger won the overall prize and the 17-18-year-old category for her project that is aiming to harness the power of the cloud to help doctors accurately diagnose breast cancer.
Google revealed that Wenger built an application that compares individual test results to an extensive dataset stored in the cloud, allowing doctors to assess tumours using a minimally invasive procedure.