Changing Planet

Google Science Fair Finalists Named

Over the past two weeks, the judges of the 2011 Google Science Fair have been whittling down the list of 60 semifinalists to just 15 who will advance to compete for the ultimate prizes.

All of the students’ entries “asked interesting questions, many focused on real-world problems and some produced groundbreaking science that challenged current conventions,” Google said on its blogs.

Given such outstanding work by the students, it’s no surprise that an impressive team of judges has been assembled to pick the winners. The judges include Google big wigs, a Nobel Laureate, and three National Geographic Explorers: T.H. Culhane, Tierney Thys, and Spencer Wells.

In addition, the People’s Choice Award winner was also announced. This project involved scientifically testing the natural anti-cancer properties of traditional spices like turmeric, cumin, pepper, and ginger.

The judges will select one winner in each age category and one Grand Prize winner on July 11 at 6PM PST. In the meantime, watch summary videos of all 15 finalists and get your own wheels turning–the next big world-saving idea just might be your own.

Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. He is currently beginning a new role as communications director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish. Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010. He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history.

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