Fast Company

Girls Dominate Google's Science Fair With Projects On Cancer And Asthma Treatment

Google's Internet-based science fair brought in awe-inspiring teenage scientific contributions from 91 countries around the world--with three girls taking home the gold in all age groups.

winner in Google's online science fair

Girls dominated the intellectual battleground of Google's online science fair, which amassed impressive contributions from 10,000 young prodigies in 91 countries. Of the 15 brainiacs flown to Google headquarters to be personally judged by an all-star panel of scientists, three girls, from age groups 13 to 18, took home a coveted trove of scholarships and Lego-based trophies for their contributions to cancer treatment and asthma reduction.

Competition was stiff. These adorably cheery gladiators rose above competitors with everything from brain-controlled prosthetics to natural language computer coding for robots. The grand prize winner, Shree Bose, will be whisked away for an all-expense paid trip to the Galapagos Islands to study marine life at the very footprint of Charles Darwin's own inspirations over 150 years ago.

Bose's awe-inspiring entry uncovered underlying problems with a popular ovarian cancer treatment (testing actual cells). The sophisticated language of her presentation far exceeded anything anyone would expect from a teenager. Not one mention of Bieber.

"...Cisplatin damages DNA by crosslinking until the cellular repair functions activate apoptosis when repair proves impossible. While the drug does affect ordinary cells, the significantly higher replication frequency of cancer cells causes cisplatin to have greater impact on malignant cells...By using flow cytometry, cell staining, and western blotting techniques, this experimentation provides proof that AMPK plays a role in the development of resistance to cisplatin."

Bose's younger compatriot winners in the 13-14- and 15-16-year-old categories won for equally impressive and socially conscious discoveries. Lauren Hodge produced eerie findings on the cancer-inducing quality of grilled chicken, which can bind toxic chemicals to seemingly harmless marinades. Watch the video below as Hodge shyly dances between multi-syllabic scientific language and warning restaurants to use more lemon-based marinades (and avoid soy):

Winner Naomi Shah statistically analyzed a mini-medical study of asthmatic patients, complete with her own "novel mathematical model" to quantify the effects of air quality on symptoms. In the video below, she casually admonishes the U.S. Clean Air Act for ignoring the damaging effects of the compounds she studied:

The trio of girl champions narrowly beat out boys of equal mental prowess. Anand Srinivasan, in the 13-14 group, hooked his own brain up to an EEG scanner to test a self-designed method of improving mind-controlled prosthetic limbs:

All finalists received a heap of swag, including a Lego scientific play set and a Google Chrome notebook. The winners also received something that might be even better than gadgets and cash: coveted internships at Google, Lego, and CERN to set themselves up for a lifetime of geeky goodness.

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Read More: How NASA, DARPA Are Keeping Kids Interested In Space

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8 Comments

  • Daira Hopwood

    "The sophisticated language of her presentation far exceeded anything
    anyone would expect from a teenager. Not one mention of Bieber."

    Could this have been any more patronizing? Next time (and there will be a next time, because bright teenagers are actually quite common), please try to avoid marring otherwise excellent articles with comments like this.

  • Elaine

    This is very wonderful news but did you really have to mention Bieber? Do you think all teenage girls even give a shit about Bieber?

  • CTong

    Have to voice my agreement with the commentators below - for both the writer and editor to be completely unaware of how gender-biased their language was has gross implications, especially for this magazine. This was one of the few mags that tries to highlight the lack of female entrepreneurship, leaders, and designers, this is just just so disappointing.

  • juliet

    Gee, she managed to get through a whole project on ovarian cancer without mentioning Justin Bieber? How f*cking patronizing. And we wonder why women in the sciences have such a hard time being taken seriously.

  • prettygurlshop

    "These adorably cheery gladiators"  --- this is why nothing will change to bring respect to YOUNG women and adult women.  That a Fast Company reporter would even THINK (or not) of a description like this and that their editor also THOUGHT (or not) to EDIT a comment like that just goes to show you who truly wears the pants in our country, let alone some other countries we claim to fight for other people/women's rights. Pa-leeze. And a note to women and gurls out there: If you can open your own bank account, can get a job on your own, can marry who you please without a dowry, can express your opinions, can inherit property from your father, can VOTE .. you are a feminist and I don't ever want to hear that you think you are not. I am tired of hearing young women say this after SO many women have been beaten, fought, continue to fight, have taught and mentored young women for these rights to land at your feet. Not to mention all the blacks and white men who have suffered for women's rights which were an extension of civil rights. Congratulations, young girls, and pay it forward with your strength and knowledge.

  • RobinZaleski

    Kudos to these students, and thank you fellow commenter Mike, you took the words right out of my mouth. The story is inspirational no matter the gender of the winners, why do we continue to encourage the idea that girls need to apologize for being smart? It is this type of cultural attitude that keeps young women from pursuing math and science degrees and careers.

  • Mike Tangorre

    How wonderful! The girls' projects sound amazing. Though, I had to roll my eyes a little at this article itself, which describes these girls as "adorably cheery" and jokes that one of the girls managed to speak without mentioning Justin Bieber. (Gasp!) I highly doubt boy winners would have been described in such terms ("adorable"), etc. It's off-putting that the author feels the need to be cutesy about girls who clearly need to be taken very, very seriously. (As if he had to assure us that they are sweet and likable in addition to being smart....) But thanks for sharing these girls' successes--it's very inspiring!