Google Science Fair, however, doesn't require poster boards and it doesn't require travel. It is, in fact, the first ever online global science fair. And any student (age 13 to 18) anywhere - as long as they have a computer, a browser and Internet access - can participate.For many of us, science fairs may conjure an image of the school gym, full of students showcasing their science projects - their hypotheses, their experiments, their data. But in part due to the financial constraints of both schools and families, these sorts of events are on the decline. The
The Science Fair Goes Online
The Google Science Fair takes the traditional science fair and moves it to the Web. Participating students both build and submit their projects online - using Google Docs, Sites, and YouTube, for example - for all aspects of their research projects - from the data collection to the final presentation. Students from all over the world are encouraged to participate - from Paris, Texas to Paris, France, from Venice, Italy to Venice Beach.
To run this science fair, Google is teaming up with some of the most well-known names in science, technology, and education: CERN, LEGO, National Geographic, and Scientific American. And the judges for the event are just as prestigious, including the founder of the FIRST robotics competition Dean Kamen, the leader of National Geographic's Genographic Project Spencer Wells, Nobel prize winner Kary Mullis, and the "father of the Internet" Vint Cerf.
The prizes (oh, the prizes) include some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities: a trip to the Galapagos Islands with a National Geographic Explorer, a trip to Switzerland to visit CERN and the Large Hadron Collider, a chance to work on the development of a new LEGO robotics project.
Encouraging the Next Generation of Scientists
The Google Science Fair is an effort to help encourage students' interest in science and technology. "Google's origins are in scientific experimentation," Google's Tom Oliveri told ReadWriteWeb, noting that it was a hypothesis of two young computer science students back in 1996 that the information on the web could cataloged and searched.
To enter, you can register online and create your project as a Google Site. Registration is open through April 4, and the announcement of the semi-finalists will happen in early May. Oregon high school student Tesca has created a great sample site so you can see what an online science fair project might look like.