Google Launches Worldwide Science Fair

Google has launched an online science fair, allowing any student with an Internet connection and a Google account to take part in the competitive event.

“You may have participated in local or regional science fairs where you had to be in the same physical space to compete with kids in your area. Now any student with an idea can participate from anywhere, and share their idea with the world,” Google wrote in a blog post.

The Google Global Science Fair 2011 is open to students aged 13-18 years old, working solo or in groups of up to three. Applicants should come up with their own hypothesis, create an experiment to test it, and present the results and conclusion in either a two-minute video or a 20-slide presentation. Current entries from offline local science fairs will also be accepted when embedded into Google’s application. Registration is open through April 4, 2011.

In partnership with the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN), the LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American, Google is awarding 12 prizes, including the grand prize of a 10-day trip to the Galapagos with National Geographic Explorer and a Google scholarship worth $50,000. Select winners will also receive internship opportunities with the sponsors.

For more details on entry rules, judging criteria, and prizes, visit the Google Science Fair website.

Google’s pitch to students includes a feel-good little story about how Google co-founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page (pictured), discovered Google through a simple science experiment as well: the two hypothesized that there was a better way to find information on the Web.

“They did their research, tested their theories and built a search engine which (eventually) changed the way people found information online,” the blog entry reads.

“Larry and Sergey were fortunate to be able to get their idea in front of lots of people. But how many ideas are lost because people don’t have the right forum for their talents to be discovered? We believe that science can change the world—and one way to encourage that is to celebrate and champion young scientific talent as we do athletes and pop idols.”

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