American girls sweep first Google Science Fair

Google Science FairBucking the perception of a male-dominated science world, a trio of American girls swept the first Google Science Fair, earning $100,000 in scholarships and other prizes.

Held last week, the Google Science Fair crowned 17-year-old Shree Bose its grand prize winner for her work with chemotherapy drug cisplatin, a common treatment for ovarian cancer. The Texas student figured out a way to counteract cells’ resistance to the drug over time and allow it to maintain its effectiveness.

Sort of makes you ponder what you were doing in high school at that age, eh?

For her efforts, Bose was awarded a $50,000 scholarship, a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with a National Geographic researcher, and an internship at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Switzerland.

Joining Bose in the winner’s circle was Oregon student Naomi Shah, who won the bracket for age 15 to 16 contenders with her research on the effects of air quality on lungs and how it can affect asthmatics’ reliance on medication.

Lauren Hodge of Pennsylvania won the age 13 to 14 category with an interesting study of marinades and their carcinogen-reducing effects on grilled meats. She found that lemon juice and brown sugar significantly reduced the level of cancer-causing elements, while soy sauce actually increased the danger posed by grilling meat.

Shah and Hodge each won a $25,000 scholarship, as well as internships at Google and LEGO.

The three girls were chosen from among more than 10,000 students from 91 countries who entered the Science Fair. After the entries were narrowed down to 15 finalists – composed of nine boys and six girls – the remaining contenders presented their projects to judges last week.

Video of the awards presentation is available at the Google Science Fair website, as well as the guidelines for entering the 2012 competition.