Everyone has a question. What’s yours?
The annual Google Science Fair opens today, calling anyone and everyone 13 to 18 years old to push the edges of our knowledge and help pave the way to the future. Just like a school science fair, entrants submit their idea, perform their experiments and then present the results to be judged. What sets this event apart is the worldwide participation, world-renowned judges, and life-changing prizes. (How to enter the fair.)
One of those judges is NG Emerging Explorer and 2010 Adventurer of the Year Albert Lin, who was also involved in the 2011 Google Science Fair. He was struck last year by the quality of the entries, and how students made “fundamental discoveries that could save lives.” (Read about last year’s contest and winners.) He also noted how “from one side of the planet to the other, you see the same curiosity” driving people to discovery. What makes it really exciting is that there are “different perspectives in every country,” he said, “and that’s a good thing.”
As the father of a toddler, Albert also appreciates the energy and fresh perspectives that young people bring to the search for knowledge and solutions to questions and problems facing the world. “Every day [my son] makes a discovery about something I take for granted…something I think I have all figured out,” he said. Seeing things for the first time though, kids can help adults realize “maybe we haven’t really figured it all out.” It’s this openness to and enthusiasm for discovery that Albert sees both as part of being a National Geographic Explorer, and one of the biggest lessons of the Google Science Fair.
The Google Science Fair is run in partnership with National Geographic, CERN, The LEGO Group, and Scientific American. Besides Albert Lin, the judges also include National Geographic Explorers like ocean legend Sylvia Earle and alternative energy innovator and evangelist T.H. Culhane, as well as major figures from Google, CERN, and more. The prizes include an NG trip to the Galápagos Islands, opportunities to work hands-on at CERN, LEGO, and Google, a $50,000 scholarship and more. 90 regional finalists will be announced at the end of May, 2012. Then 15 global finalists will be flown to Google Headquarters in California for the final round of judging on July 23.
Don’t let the pedigrees of the judges intimidate you though–the fair isn’t just for would-be-cast-members of “The Big Bang Theory.” As Google puts it, “Geniuses are not always A grade students. We welcome all mavericks, square-pegs and everybody who likes to ask questions.” So watch the video above, learn how to enter, and let the fair begin!