July 11, 2011 at 9:15 PM ET
Bose's stash of geeky goodies includes $50,000 in scholarship money, a ticket for a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands, a chance to visit one of four big science institutions ... and a custom-made set of blocks from Lego, one of the sponsors of the contest.
Lauren Hodge and Naomi Shah were also winners in the judges' eyes. Hodge won in the 13- to 14-year-old category for her project on the effects of marinades on carcinogens in grilled chicken. Shah looked into the effect of air pollution on asthma — research that won her the top prize in the 15- to 16-year-old category. Shree Bose was the winner in the 17- to 18-year-old category as well as the winner of the Google Grand Prize.
All three winners were given trophies made of Lego blocks.
Google announced the science-fair competition in January and was flooded with 7,500 project entries from more than 10,000 participants in 90 countries. Judges whittled this list down to 15 finalists in the three age groups.
The winners were selected by a cast of research bigwigs, including the director general of CERN, the editor-in-chief of Scientific American, National Geographic explorers, science filmmakers, and Google's own director of research, Peter Norvig.
The teens who made the list of finalists investigated problems we already have, and some even built solutions. Who wouldn't want a safer sailboat or a safer herbicide?
The finalists in the 13- to 14-year-old age group are:
The 15- to 16-year-olds stepped it up a notch:
The 17- to 18-year-olds that made the finals were:
After a weekend of visiting and touring the Google HQ in Mountain View, Calif., the 15 finalists presented their projects to the judging panel before the awards ceremony.
The prize winners were announced at a gala event at Google's headquarters, presided over by Mariette DiChristina, the editor-in-chief of Scientific American. There were other speakers, too: Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who joked that he wanted to hire all 15 finalists; and inventor Dean Kamen, whose advice to the young scientists included the Google motto: "Don't be evil."
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