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Google Holds Global Science Fair

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-cheating-kid dept.

Education 52

theodp writes "Google put out an APB Tuesday, looking for young Einstein and Curie wannabes for its new global online Google Science Fair (nice Rube Goldberg YouTube promo, btw). Students between the ages of 13-18 with access to a computer, the Net and a browser can compete for prizes that include a trip to the Galapagos Islands, scholarships, and a five-day trip to CERN. Google hasn't yet figured out a way to web-enable science fair boards, so projects like Crystal Meth — Friend or Foe will have to be created as Google Sites (example). Unlike a typical local school science fair, the judges here are the real deal, so you can forget about blaming scientifically-clueless students, parents and teachers for your loss this time, kids!"

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This time... (1)

cozzbp (1845636) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852096)

I suppose the judges will be at least slightly more qualified than the school gym teacher.

Re:This time... (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852688)

Well how in the hell am I going to win now? Making up Jargon to my gym teacher made it easy for him to give me an awesome score, but now I would just look stupid (I am also older than 18, but if I were 18 again)

You know... (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853122)

If they're looking for young Einstein, it shouldn't have been Google, but rather Yahoo! Serious.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Einstein [wikipedia.org]

Re:This time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852840)

Even funnier then the completely unqualified high school teachers is watching a bunch of electronic warfare types judging a science fair. Nutrition? We reject that concept, but electricity=sparks=fun.

Alright! (2)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852122)

Time for people to start investing in vinegar and baking soda, since the demand is going to skyrocket in the next couple of days.

Re:Alright! (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852794)

Unfortunately, that's about the extent that you can expect in a public school. If Google is really looking to engage and facilitate critical thinking and discovery among children, they might truly be able to offer something for those children who want to have the encouragement and resources for advanced learning, but are typically not served by or even discouraged by the public school system. I was a pretty awful student, when it was my turn, but things like having the same Earth Sciences text book in high school that I had already used in the fifth grade didn't really promote curiosity or education - nor did the teachers who (by choice or force) were stuck catering to the common denominator -- which often meant just trying to get through a class without students humping each other or the teacher getting hit with a text book.

I'd love to see more of this. Companies that bitch about the supposed lack of knowledgeable young people as justification for flooding H1Bs actually doing something about it - even bypassing the public education system, if necessary. Whatever people may say about kids "this generation" (it's always "this generation - fifty years ago, today, and fifty years from now) -- there are always a ton of them who will enthusiastically embrace an opportunity and excel if given just a bit of guidance and resources.

Hell, I'm an adult and I totally want to participate in a Google science fair!

Bazinga! (0)

mcneely.mike (927221) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852132)

Where's Sheldon?

Re:Bazinga! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852936)

Everyone knows that physics experiments never work.

Plus, Sheldon is a theoretician.

Can't figure out a way to host the fair? (3, Interesting)

Deathnerd (1734374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852180)

Put up a message board where the kids post their project and a detailed summary with pictures, research, etc. The judges then pick out the outstanding ideas, and google flies them out to give a real life presentation. Maybe 50 or so projects could be selected. They could hold a public event as well. Fixed that for ya, Google.

Re:Can't figure out a way to host the fair? (1)

Deathnerd (1734374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852226)

Didn't read any of the links till after I posted. Still, it's a fairly simple fix, especially if you have resources like Google.

TEH GOOGLE IS LOOKING FOR FUTURE BRAINIACS !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852182)

Are you a brainiac ?? Do you have veins pulsing visibly on your head ?? Do you have a hard time find suitable head gear ?? Are you, point-blank, A FREAK ?? If so, TEH GOOGLE WANTS YOU !!

Nerd Bribe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852338)

This science fair cost Google $50,000 to buy media headlines. Forget the fact Google search doesn't work any more or they're in bed with the nastiest SEO deadbeats going. Just swallow the buzzwords "science", "children", and "global". Rah, rah, rah.

Nerds are so easily fooled.

Re:Nerd Bribe (-1, Troll)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852808)

Google feels more evil every day, but they do just enough wonderful things that they keep us thinking "yeah, but . . .". Grr.

Re:Nerd Bribe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34855010)

Google's passed that point already IMHO.

Being marked down for criticising the nerd god Google is no surprise. Got marked down for calling Julian Assange reckless and self-serving only for it to blow up in Slashdot's face a few weeks later. Be interesting to see what happens here.

Re:Nerd Bribe (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860988)

It just shows the ignorance of a small group of people on Slashdot. I guess they somehow missed all the comments about how Google believes privacy is only for people doing things they shouldn't be doing and assume that because a mission statement from the original founders' college days of "do no evil" will continue to apply well into public corporation phase.

I dig google. I use google. I am also suspect of google, like anyone should be.

Re:Nerd Bribe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34860894)

How is this guy's comment marked "troll"?

No need to apply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34852398)

Students between the ages of 13-18 with access to a computer, the Net and a browser....

What I read: Poor smart kids from poor impoverished countries need not apply.

We're too web centric, people.

Most of the greatest scientists EVER did wondrous things without computers or the internet.

Re:No need to apply (1)

mldi (1598123) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852968)

Students between the ages of 13-18 with access to a computer, the Net and a browser....

What I read: Poor smart kids from poor impoverished countries need not apply.

We're too web centric, people.

Most of the greatest scientists EVER did wondrous things without computers or the internet.

So, libraries are keeping poor kids out now?

Re:No need to apply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34853086)

Students between the ages of 13-18 with access to a computer, the Net and a browser....

What I read: Poor smart kids from poor impoverished countries need not apply.

We're too web centric, people.

Most of the greatest scientists EVER did wondrous things without computers or the internet.

So, libraries are keeping poor kids out now?

How many libraries are in Africa? Or in the countryside of India or China? Or what about those incredibly impoverished South East Asian countries? Or even countries that have oppressive Governments? And if they do have libraries, do they even have computers?

I was talking about children outside of the US and Western European countries.. From what I see about this contest, it's global. I take that to mean to include children outside of the US - I may be wrong.

But even then, in the case here in the US, the library's computers are never free (as in open to use by someone) because there's not enough of them to go around and you can never get access to one.

Re:No need to apply (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853588)

How many libraries are in Africa?

Quite a few in South Africa, Libya, Morroco, and so on. Or did you mean to list a few of the more impoverished African countries? Or did you think Africa is a country?

From what I see about this contest, it's global. I take that to mean to include children outside of the US

There's the problem: global, which I take to mean imposing the standards of the host country on foreign applicants. It should be international, meaning it has standards to suit all comers.

Re:No need to apply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34853740)

If the feed and clothe Sally Struthers commercials don't make a distinction, I don't have to either!

Re:No need to apply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34854090)

How many libraries are in Africa?

Quite a few in South Africa, Libya, Morroco, and so on. Or did you mean to list a few of the more impoverished African countries? Or did you think Africa is a country?

I see, so it should have been specified to Ethiopia, Congo, etc.... - basically typed out every country meant to suit a pedantic such as yourself. I think everyone, including people from (predominately) Arab Africa (Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Egypt and a couple of others) and the big cities of South Africa (of course you didn't mention some really poor areas of that country that have little services let alone libraries). Anyway, you're just splitting hairs to troll.

From what I see about this contest, it's global. I take that to mean to include children outside of the US

There's the problem: global, which I take to mean imposing the standards of the host country on foreign applicants. It should be international, meaning it has standards to suit all comers.

Splitting hairs again. Nice pedantic troll.

Re:No need to apply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34854262)

South Africa 2009 internet users about 11%, which is about the same as Africa as a whole. 5% in Libya, 33% (!) in Morocco.
http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats1.htm

The penetration of internet in Asian population is 20.1 percent. European population is 803 million out of which 53 percent population has an access to internet. About two-third of the number of residents of North America enjoys the facility of the internet. The penetration of internet in the African population is 8.7 percent

Source: http://www.suite101.com/content/internet-usage-data-and-statistics-worldwide-a235149

Re:No need to apply (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859306)

From what I see about this contest, it's global. I take that to mean to include children outside of the US

Maybe it's "global" in the same way that the US has "world series" baseball i.e. North America only.

Oh Wow (1)

gamrillen (1972402) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852538)

If only I were 18 again. I would love to participate in this.

Re:Oh Wow (1, Interesting)

thoughtfulbloke (1091595) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852868)

If my child was 13, she would love to participate in this.
Last year she won the regional science fair here (which was open to 11-17 year olds), but could not progress to the national contest (which was open to 13-17 year olds).
For reference, a link to her project site [google.com] . Hopefully, this will continue to run in the future, when she is eligible.

Re:Oh Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34853496)

Science fairs - why nerds have children.

Re:Oh Wow (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853834)

Neat project, but I'm more impressed that your 11 year old daughter can write python. It's rare to see even amongst boys of that age.

Re:Oh Wow (2)

thoughtfulbloke (1091595) | more than 3 years ago | (#34855292)

Neat project, but I'm more impressed that your 11 year old daughter can write python

In teaching her python, the key explanation that made things understandable was:
hey_you.do_this(with_this)
Which covered enough understanding of object orientation to make useful progress.

Nice, but Google needs to focus (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852542)

There's already the Intel Science Talent Search [societyforscience.org] , which used to be the Westinghouse Science Talent Search back when Westinghouse mattered.

Google's people are working on cool stuff. Sudoku solving for Android. Trying to acquire Groupon. Buying a yacht. Meanwhile, Google search quality is slipping. [businessinsider.com] Google needs to focus.

Re:Nice, but Google needs to focus (1)

Singularitarian2048 (1068276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34855574)

So Google does something to promote science education, and you turn around and say, "Hey, focus on your profits."

Re:Nice, but Google needs to focus (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859456)

So Google does something to promote science education, and you turn around and say, "Hey, focus on your profits."

No, GP meant "focus on your core products."

My take on Google's resources: They're Misdirected (1, Offtopic)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852638)

And here's why:

Save for search, Two Google key products hereunder need serious updating as outlined:

1: GMail: The interface needs more functionality. Heck, one cannot sort! Imagine that. Functionality like that of CloudMagic [cloudmagic.com] would not hurt if inbuilt by default and not having to get it via an extension.

2: Google Docs: The Spreadsheet needs serious love to make freezing rows, coloring columns according to programmable logic a snap.

Why 'waste' resources of these so called science fairs? Who is advising folks at Google?

Re:My take on Google's resources: They're Misdirec (1)

Deathnerd (1734374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852934)

I forget who said it, but someone high up in Google's ranks said it very plainly and it explains a lot: "We're an advertising company." Google, like every company ever made, needs PR. What better way to make good PR than to help kids with their science fairs? It's all about advertising, my friend

Re:My take on Google's resources: They're Misdirec (2)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852976)

You're the first person I've seen who thinks cultivating scientific understanding and curiosity among teenagers is a waste of money compared to being able to more easily color spreadsheet data. The world would be a much better place if other gigantic corporate entities did things like this more often.

Re:My take on Google's resources: They're Misdirec (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859406)

You're the first person I've seen who thinks cultivating scientific understanding and curiosity among teenagers is a waste of money compared to being able to more easily color spreadsheet data. The world would be a much better place if other gigantic corporate entities did things like this more often.

Once a company starts concentrating on PR-based activities like this instead of making their own products usable, they are in serious trouble.

Education is the job of parents, government and schools, not advertising companies like Google. If they're that bothered, why don't they invest some of the money they have been recently spending on big boys' floating toys on donating laptops to poor kids, or something.

Re:My take on Google's resources: They're Misdirec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34867266)

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Re:My take on Google's resources: They're Misdirec (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853852)

The USA is not doing so well at science and math so I think Google's idea is just fine. After all, I really don't care how they spend their money but this is a good use of it. I expected the Slashdot crowd would appreciate this.

Re:My take on Google's resources: They're Misdirec (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34855268)

Perhaps Google is thinking they can do something to save math and science education in this country so they will have a future work force to hire folks from that are able to do something useful.

Re:My take on Google's resources: They're Misdirec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34856596)

And here's why:

Save for search, Two Google key products hereunder need serious updating as outlined:

1: GMail: The interface needs more functionality. Heck, one cannot sort! Imagine that.

don't have to imagine that - what is the point of sorting mail? I only sort mail on lcient that don;t have decent search capabilities to find a particular message
gmail search works much better than a manual filter operation.

Functionality like that of CloudMagic [cloudmagic.com] would not hurt if inbuilt by default and not having to get it via an extension.

that looks interesting - have to try it out.

2: Google Docs: The Spreadsheet needs serious love to make freezing rows, coloring columns according to programmable logic a snap.

those two things are a snap what are you on about?

Uh, about that Nobel Laureate... (4, Interesting)

jheath314 (916607) | more than 3 years ago | (#34852944)

Google boasts that they've assembled a "panel of acclaimed scientists including Nobel Laureates, tech visionaries and household names". The only Nobel Laureate on their list is Kary Mullis, who has a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction. His bio [google.com] conveniently does not mention his AIDS denialism, Climate change denial, and his belief in astrology.

It's too bad I'm no longer a teenager... I'm sure would you have loved my project "Why Astrology is Bunk, and AIDS Denial is Dangerous"

Re:Uh, about that Nobel Laureate... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853504)

I'm impressed you managed to cover both topics on one trifold without confusing anybody.

Re:Uh, about that Nobel Laureate... (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853596)

Newton, the father of classical physics, became a believer in alchemy. Tesla, arguably the greatest inventor of his time, made kookish claims like being able to split the earth using a few explosives.

All this demonstrates is that even the greatest minds can believe things that are false. Perhaps they couldn't get other Nobel laureates on board because they were busy working?

Re:Uh, about that Nobel Laureate... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34854380)

"Newton, the father of classical physics, became a believer in alchemy"

Newton lived in a completely different time where the state of knowledge was vastly different. Apples and oranges.

Re:Uh, about that Nobel Laureate... (1)

Gravitron 5000 (1621683) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860606)

Also of note is that alchemy was the Newton era term for chemistry. Turning lead into gold (alchemy's best known folly) was one small part of alchemy, kind of like how perpetual motion machines are one small part of physics.

Re:Uh, about that Nobel Laureate... (2)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34854316)

So long as he is only judging in his area of experience, do his other beliefs matter?

Re:Uh, about that Nobel Laureate... (3, Insightful)

rnaiguy (1304181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34857056)

Except that is area of expertise is biology, making the AIDS denialism very relevant.

What people forget about scientists (2, Informative)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 3 years ago | (#34855448)

What most people forget about scientists is that they are human beings like you and me. They are not angels, prophets or saints or robots. They are fallible and have their own beliefs and values that might not be compatible with yours but they are as entitled to it as you are. A Nobel laureate might be the leader of his field of expertise but might be useless at repairing his car, for example. So, do not automatically accept what they say when they are talking about stuff outside their field. Thisd does not however, reduce what they have contributed to the advancement of knowledge.

References? (2)

Deathnerd (1734374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34853006)

I wonder if they'll restrain the kids to only citing references from books, because, you know... you can't trust everything you see on the internet, right?

Young Einstein??? But Einstein was young when... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34853656)

I know the famous photos of Einstein came when he was old, but when he first came up with his ideas, Einstein was a teenager. When he first published his general theory of relativity, he was only 26. How much younger did he have to be to make you change the way you think of him?

What if (2)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#34854528)

prizes that include a trip to the Galapagos Islands, scholarships, and a five-day trip to CERN

Wouldn't it be sad if some kid from Galapagos Islands won?

Dissapointed - can't read science projects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34856868)

Am I the only one who looked at the kids science project pictures and thought "Why the hell didn't they include a close up of the work?" It would be interesting to see at what level this work was done.

---
The more educated I become the clearer my ignorance.

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