Teens Win $15,000 National Geographic Explorer Award at 2019 Google Science Fair

Aman K A and A U Nachiketh from Karnataka state in India, were named winners of the National Geographic Explorer Award at the 2019 Google Science Fair competition in Mountain View, California, on Monday. 

Google Science Fair is a global competition that inspires teens to solve real-world problems through the application of science, technology, engineering and math. This year’s 23 finalists worked on projects that ranged from an AI-powered plant disease detection system to turning food waste into a source of renewable energy. 

The finalists traveled to Google Headquarters to present their projects to a panel of international STEM experts. Among the global judging panel were educator and National Geographic Fellow Peg Keiner and National Geographic Explorer TH Culhane. The competition was also judged by student and former Google Science Fair Grand Prize Winner Kiara Nirghin, and experts from the field including Chief Judge Mariette DiChristina, Editor in Chief at Scientific American®; Vint Cerf, Google’s VP and Chief Internet Evangelist; Pelle Normann Brix, Senior Model Design Manager at LEGO® Education; and Dr Tarah L. Castleberry, Flight Surgeon at Virgin Galactic

Fionn Ferreira from Ireland was named the grand prize winner of the 2019 Google Science Fair competition. Ferreira’s project is titled “An investigation into the removal of microplastics from water using ferrofluids,” and focuses on finding an environmentally responsible way to extract harmful microplastics from water.

LEGO® Education, National Geographic, Scientific American® and Virgin Galactic co-sponsored this year’s global competition, and supplied academic scholarships and travel-based prizes for partner winners.

The National Geographic Explorer Award honors an outstanding project with an experimental approach and creative solution to one of the toughest challenges facing our planet. Winners receive a $15,000 educational scholarship, divided equally among teammates, and a year-long mentorship to realize and achieve the goal of their project. 

A U Nachiketh and Aman’s project is titled “Averrhoa Bilimbi – A Natural Coagulant For Rubber Latex”. Rubber plays an important part in modern life, but chemicals used to solidify rubber during manufacturing can make soil infertile. The students discovered that a locally abundant fruit named the Bilimbi can be used as a cheap, environmentally-friendly alternative.

For more information about the Google Science Fair, or learn more about this year’s winners, please visit: www.googlesciencefair.com 

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