Competitors came from across the globe for the second annual Google Science Fair in Mountain View, California. Time Warner Cable's Daisy Gonzalez filed the following report.
Thousands of students ages 13 through 18 from more than 100 countries entered to compete in Google's Science Fair, but only 15 finalists were able to showcase their work to a panel of judges.
"There were several criteria that we were looking for. One was originality and the other was the impact of the work might be assuming it would be successful. Another one is whether or not they followed good processes and practices, scientific method, good engineering discipline," said Chief Google Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf.
This year's $50,000 grand prize winner was high school senior Brittany Wenger who wrote a computer program to help doctors diagnose breast cancer less invasively.
"I decided I wanted to do something that could really have a big impact on the world," Wenger said. "I've had a lot of family members and a lot of family friends who have experienced cancer, and breast cancer specifically. So it's something that I'm very passionate about. Being able to intertwine computer science and medical research."
As part of her prize Wenger will also have a chance to visit the Galapagose Islands and further her research studies at Google.
"As an engineer you have a responsibility to try to do things that have meaning to the world, to the planet, to the people around you. And what you're seeing here is that every single one of these students is doing that," said National Geographic Emerging Explorer Albert Lin.
"I'm using sunlight or visible light, the light with witch we see each other as an energy source to drive organic chemistry reactions," said Participant Raghavendra Ramachanderan.
"This is actually my first science fair project that I've ever done so it's just amazing to have gotten to this point with just this project," said Participant Sabera Talukder.
For the first time students also competed to win the Scientific American Science Action Award which recognizes a project that addresses a social, environmental or health issue in a practical way. The winners were two brothers who traveled all the way from Swaziland and walked away with $50,000 and a year of mentoring to continue the work in using hydroponics to grow crops in Swaziland.
To find out how to get involved in more stem opportunities in your community, visit www.connectamillionminds.com.