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Girl power was quite apparent at the Mountain View headquarters of search engine giant Google last week, as officials got ready to announce the winner of its first global science fair - Nine of the fifteen quarter finalists were girls! It therefore, should come as no surprise that the winners in each of the three categories were also . . . . Girls!
Open to teens aged 13-18 years old, the competition attracted entries from 7,500 budding scientists representing 90 countries. Contestants were categorized into three age categories, with one semi-finalist selected from each. From this final group, one lucky contestant was declared the grand prize winner.
In the youngest age category (13-14) it was Pennsylvania teen, Lauren Hodge's experiment, which tested the effects of different marinades on the harmful carcinogens found on grilled chicken, that impressed the judges the most. She discovered that lemon and brown sugar are helpful in destroying the cancer-causing agents, while Soy sauce actually helps increase them - A handy tip, just in time for the grilling season.
Naomi Shah from Oregon was declared the semi-finalist in the 15-16 age category, thanks to her research on how to improve the quality of indoor air so that people suffering from asthma could cut their dependency on medications.
The final category (17-18) and overall grand prizewinner was Texasresident, Shree Bose. Her research involved investigating why women suffering from ovarian cancer develop a resistance to chemotherapy drugs after they have been using them for some time and, what could be done to prevent that. Through experiments performed on cell cultures, she discovered that adding a protein called AMPK to the mix in the later stages of the treatment, helped mitigate the issue. Though further research and tests need to be done, her project may end up helping millions of women who suffer as a result of the drugs becoming ineffective - Pretty awesome!
The two finalists each took home a Lego trophy, a $25,000USD scholarship and earned themselves an internship at Google and Lego. Shree also received a Lego trophy, a National Geographic Expeditions trip to the Galapagos Islands, a $50,000USD scholarship and best of all, an internship at world's largest particle physics laboratory, CERN, where she will rub shoulders with some of the world's smartest researchers! Way to go ladies! To find out how you can compete in Google Science Fair, go to www.google.com/events/sciencefair.