Gone are the days when an exploding volcano would cut it at a science fair.
Since the launch of the Google Science Fair in 2011, winners of the competition have been designing some truly incredible inventions – from robots that retrain brains, to flashlights powered by the heat of a hand, to magic seeds that transform polluted water into drinking water. Teenagers from all over the world have been solving real-world problems through a mixture of science, technology, engineering and math and in recent years, with the help of the Google Science Fair, they’ve been sharing their ideas with the world.
Virgin Galactic, along with National Geographic, Lego Education and Scientific America, is a proud partner of the fair and is calling all young inventors, dreamers, coders and problem-solvers to register now for the 2018-19 competition.
For the fourth year, Virgin Galactic will award the Virgin Galactic Pioneer Award to the student who comes up with the most innovative, hands-on approach to solving the competition’s engineering challenges. The winner will be taken on a tour of Virgin Galactic’s spaceship factory, meet the extraordinary engineers turning the Virgin Galactic dream into reality, and will be given the opportunity to get acquainted with Virgin Galactic’s spaceship, VSS Unity. The Pioneer Award winner will also receive a $15,000 educational scholarship and a one year Virgin Galactic mentorship.
Charlie Fenske, a Google Science Fair finalist in 2016, entered the competition after hearing about the Virgin Galactic award. Charlie first started building his own rockets aged 12 and wanted to find out if he could create faster and cheaper rockets, in a more efficient way.
“I have always been interested in aerospace engineering and the opportunity to visit Virgin Galactic seemed like a dream come true. The most rewarding part of the experience was meeting people who share my interest in science and engineering. The science fair was held on the Google campus, which is packed with innovation,” said Charlie. “Visiting Virgin Galactic was one of the best experiences of my life. I saw a test flight, met the incredible Virgin Galactic pilots, and presented my project to the entire team.”
Charlie now studies Aerospace Engineering at MIT and credits the Google Science Fair for pushing him to experiment and challenge himself. “The most effective way to learn science and engineering is by experimenting. I spent hundreds of hours experimenting on my project. The Google Science Fair recognised that, and rewarded me for it,” he said. “Even if you enter and are not selected, writing the application will be good practice. When I applied, I thought there was no chance of me winning anything, but I applied anyway and it paid off!”
If you’re 13-18 years old (or if you know a young problem-solver who is), it’s time to register in this year’s fair. Download your resource toolkit on the Google Science Fair website now. Entries close on December 12th. Good luck!