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.