Thursday, April 07, 2011

Google Enters The Science Fair Scene

Young scientists wishing to compete on a national (or international) stage have lots of options these days: The Davidson Fellows program, the Intel Science Talent Search, the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, and ... Google.

Yes, Google has created a Google Global Science Fair (accepting applications until midnight eastern tonight!) for young scientists to demonstrate their experiments. Google hopes to differentiate its program by being strongly virtual: students upload information about their projects, and lots of people will be able to see what's been entered and judged. The vast majority of humanity will never attend a science fair in a conference center or school gymnasium, but people might check out a cool uploaded video on YouTube (hopefully demonstrating something more profound than the whole baking soda and vinegar volcano bit, but hey, the Diet Coke and Mentos video was pretty popular, so you never know...) The prizes also sound like fun, including a trip to Switzerland and a visit to the Galapagos islands.

The New York Times had a somewhat skeptical article about the contest a few days ago, asking if this was a bit of a marketing ploy to get young people hooked on Google's office products, but I figure hey, the more options the better! Anything that makes science more lucrative and interesting for young people is probably a good thing.

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