BellaNaija is constantly on the lookout for exciting opportunities that can empower our BN readers. We recently featured an entrepreneurial competition and we were surprised when several commenters complained that the maximum age for entry was too low (24 Years Old).
This time, we have a global science competition from Google. We sincerely hope that a young African scientist is on the winner’s list this year!
The Google Science Fair is an online science competition open to all students aged 13 to 18 from around the world.
Why is Google hosting an online science competition?
Google believes that universal access to technology and information can make the world a better place and that the need for access to useful information crosses all borders. The Google Science Fair was designed to support these goals by championing young scientific talent and giving students around the world the opportunity to participate and showcase their ideas.
What exactly is a ‘science project’?
A science project is an in-depth investigation of a scientific question that involves forming a hypothesis, testing your hypothesis with an experiment, making your observations, drawing conclusions and presenting the findings.
Like many science fair competitions, the Google Science Fair asks students to approach their science projects using the steps of the scientific method: a useful framework that helps structure scientific inquiry by breaking down the process into manageable steps.
Make sure to read the Official Rules carefully, because some types of projects may not be allowed. For clarification of the rules on what you can and can’t do, see Experiment Guidelines.
Can I choose any topic?
Yes, as long as it fits into one of the following categories:
- Computer Science & Mathematics
- Earth & Environmental Sciences
- Behavioral & Social Sciences
- Flora & Fauna
- Energy & Space
- Inventions & Innovation
- Food Science
- Electricity and Electronics
Are there any restrictions about experimenting on animals, human subjects or using hazardous materials?
Yes, there are restrictions around using human subjects, animals, biological agents and hazardous materials. Please refer to the Official Rules for more details. For clarification of the rules on what you can and can’t do, see Experiment Guidelines.
Can anyone help me with my project?
All work must be completed by an individual or a team of up to 3. Depending on your project you may need some adult support, e.g. to find materials, to stay safe and use unfamiliar equipment or techniques. This is fine as long as you acknowledge the support received on the acknowledgements page of your online project submission.
Entry and Registration:
How do I enter the Google Science Fair?
Students can sign up to enter the competition from 12 January 2012 by visiting google.com/sciencefair and clicking the blue “Start your project” button at the top of the screen. For more details about entering, visit the How to Enter page.
Do I need a Google account in order to enter?
Yes, you will need a Google Account in order to register and to create your Science Fair project site. If you do not have a Google Account you can create one now by clicking on this link.
My school uses Google Apps, can I enter using my Google Apps account?
Yes you can but there are a few things you need to check first as some schools may restrict access to Google Sites:
Do you have access to Google Sites with your Google Apps Account?
Can you share a Google Site outside your school from your Google Apps Account?
If you are unable to access Google Sites or share a Google Site outside your school then we would recommend you use your Google account. If you do not have a Google account you can create one here.
Is there a registration fee?
No. The Google Science Fair is completely free to enter.
Who can enter?
The competition is open to all full-time students and home schooled students aged 13 to 18 (14-18 in Spain and South Korea, 16-18 in the Netherlands), from around the world. Students may enter as individuals or as teams of up to three. See Official Rules for additional restrictions regarding eligibility for entry.
Can Students from outside the United States enter?
This is a global competition and students from all over the world can enter. However, the Competition is not open to residents of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Myanmar/Burma, Syria, Zimbabwe and any other U.S. sanctioned country and is void where prohibited by law. The competition is also void in Brazil.
Is the competition divided into different age categories?
Yes, there are three:
13 to 14 year olds
15 to 16 year olds
17 to 18 year olds
We are 14 and 15 and we want to enter together. Will we be placed in the 13 to 14 or the 15 to 16 category?
You will be placed in a category based on the age of the oldest member of your team. In this case you would be judged in the 15 to 16 category.
Can I enter as a team with a friend from another school or do we need to be in the same school?
You do not have to be in the same school or even the same country. The great thing about the Google Science Fair being online is that you can work on your project collaboratively using some of the great tools we have highlighted on our site.
How old do I have to be to enter?
The Google Science Fair 2012 is open to young people aged 13 to 18*. You need to have been born:
on or after 2 April 1993
on or before 12 January 1999
*If you are from the Netherlands, you need to have been born:
on or after 2 April 1993
on or before 12 January 1996
*If you are from Spain or South Korea, you need to have been born:
on or after 2 April 1993
on or before 12 January 1998
Can a student enter more than once?
No, Google are only accepting one submission per person, either as an individual or as part of a team.
I signed up to enter a project in the Biology category but I have now decided to enter a Chemistry project. Do I need to register again?
No, there is no need to register again, you can change your project category when you submit your project.
How will I know when my parent or guardian has consented?
Log in to the My Project section of www.google.com/sciencefair to check the status of consent and send a reminder request if you haven’t yet received it. You can still continue to work on your project in the meantime!
Well, a world-class science fair calls for world-class prizes. They include once-in-a-lifetime experiences like a scientific trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions, unique scholarships and real-life work opportunities in iconic science centers of excellence like CERN in Switzerland.
NEW Science in Action prize
This year there will also be a special Science in Action prize sponsored by Scientific American which will be awarded to a project that addresses a social, environmental, ethical, health or welfare issue to make a practical difference to the lives of a group or community.
So why not get started?
There will be 90 regional finalists who will each receive a Google Chromebook*. 15 finalists, selected from these regional finalists, will be flown to Mountain View California for a chance to compete to become a finalist winner in their age category:
13-14 15-16 17-18
One of the 3 finalists winners will be selected as the Grand Prize winner.
The Grand Prize
A National Geographic Expedition
The grand prize winner along with one parent or guardian will have the chance to visit the Galápagos Archipelago, Darwin’s living laboratory, and the home to an abundance of wildlife. Isolated from the mainland for millions of years, this rare wilderness provides opportunities to walk among colonies of animals and snorkel amid shimmering fish. The winner, along with one parent or guardian will travel aboard the National Geographic Endeavour and will have the opportunity to experience up close encounters with unique species such as flightless cormorants, blue footed boobies, and domed giant tortoises. This ten day excursion is filled with pristine National Geographic experiences that range from kayaking among secluded coves where sea lions frolic in the shallows, to skimming the water in a nimble Zodiac to spot the unusual mola mola fish.
Google will cover the cost of flights for the winner plus one parent or guardian to the Galapagos. This prize is valid for one year from winning the prize.
The Grand Prize winner will also receive:
A scholarship from Google
The Google scholarship is worth $50,000 and is intended to be used towards the Grand Prize winner’s further education costs. If the Grand Prize is won by a team, the value of the scholarship will be split equally between team members.
A once-in-a-lifetime experience
The Grand Prize winner will have first choice of a hands-on experience at one of the following partner organizations: LEGO | CERN | GOOGLE
A personalised LEGO prize
A personal LEGO colour mosaic (one for each team member, to build her/himself) and 1 set of LEGO MINDSTORMS signed by the design team of LEGO MINDSTORMS, the CEO and the owner of LEGO.
Digital Access to Scientific American archives for your School
The winner’s school will enjoy digital access for one year, commencing in July 2012.
Finalist Winner Prizes
A Scholarship from Google
A scholarship worth $25,000, intended to be used towards each finalist’s further education costs. To be split equally between team members should a team win.
A once-in-a-lifetime experience
The Finalists will have second and third choice by random selection of one of the remaining experiences at one of the following partner organizations: LEGO | CERN | GOOGLE
A personalized LEGO Prize
A personal LEGO colour mosaic (one for each team member, to build her/himself) and 1 personal, exclusive LEGO box – specially made for the occasion.
Google Chromebooks for your classroom
Google will donate 1 Chromebook classroom kit to the winner’s school. Each kit includes:
1 Chromebook Charging Cart
1 Google Cloud Print Printer
Digital access to Scientific American archives for winner’s school
The finalists’ schools will enjoy digital access for one year, commencing in July 2012.
NEW Science in Action Prize
Scientific American will be providing $50,000 USD in funding and a year’s mentoring to the winner of the special Science in Action prize. This is to assist the winner to further their research and possibly to develop the project. The winner, along with one parent or guardian will also join the 15 finalists in Mountain View, California to present their project to the judges and receive the award.
All 15 Finalists will also receive:
A LEGO Goodie Bag including:
A LEGO MINDSTORMS set
2 LEGO TECHNIC sets (the 2 largest sets in the 2012 portfolio)
A Google Goodie Bag including an Android phone
A subscription to Scientific American magazine for 12 months
All prize experiences include return airfare and accommodation for up to 2 nights, depending on the experience.
LEGO will offer the Grand Prize or Finalist winner(s) (plus a guardian if necessary) a 2 day trip to the LEGO HQ in Billund, Denmark. The trip will include a behind the scenes tour of the LEGO factory where the winner(s) will have the opportunity to see how LEGO bricks are produced and to spend time with the LEGO Mindstorm design team to understand how LEGO Mindstorms are developed. There will also be a visit to LEGOland Denmark and a sightseeing tour of the surroundings of Billund. This experience is valid for one year from winning the prize.
CERN, working with Fermilab, will offer the Grand Prize or Finalist winner(s) (plus guardian if necessary) the opportunity to spend up to a week living the life of a particle physicist working at the high-energy frontier, taking in two of the world’s leading particle physics research centres. The experience will begin at Fermilab, where the winner(s) will meet a scientist mentor working on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. While at Fermilab, they will have the opportunity to run shifts in Fermilab’s remote operations centre for the CMS experiment at CERN. The winners will then transfer to CERN, accompanied by their mentor, where they will play an active role in the experiment’s control room. This experience is valid for one year from winning the prize.
Google will offer the Grand Prize or Finalist winner(s) (plus a guardian if necessary) the opportunity to spend three days at the Google research site in Zurich where they will be able to take part in a tour, workshops and get involved in some hands-on work. This experience is valid for one year from winning the prize.
*If Google is unable to ship Chromebooks to your country of residence, Google reserves the right the provide a prize of similar average retail value.