Intel Has Some Science Fair Company

This past week Intel, which sponsors the Science Talent Search (STS) organized by the Society for Science and the Public, announced the Search’s 2011 finalists.  They will travel to Washington in March for recognition, final judging, and meetings with scientists.  The STS focuses on high school seniors in the U.S.  Most people are more familiar with the Intel-sponsored International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), also coordinated by the Society for Science and the Public.  That is open to grades 9 through 12 in over 60 countries.  One of the winners from the 2010 ISEF was invited to be a guest of the President and First Lady at this year’s State of the Union address.

Intel is losing its monopoly on international science fair sponsorship.  Google has recently announced its own science fair (in collaboration with Scientific American, LEGO, CERN and National Geographic).  Students from 13-18 can participate, provided they have access to a computer and a web browser.  Prizes seem comparable to those offered by Intel in size, but the experiences offered to the finalists and winners seem particularly special (and explain the participation of the other sponsors).

For the Google Science Fair, students conduct their experiments (either by themselves or in teams of up to three) and register the project with the fair and as a Google site.  The projects will be judged based on a 2 minute video or 20 slide Google Presentation.  So there are no affiliated fairs to compete through, as is the case in the Intel ISEF.  I have no idea how much of a barrier this might be to some entrants, but how many participants opt for the Google Science Fair over time may give some indication.

Experiments must be registered and completed by April 4, and finalists will be brought to Google for final competition in July.  Continue reading