Google ups ante for third annual international science fair

The 2013 Google Science Fair is adding a people's choice award, so to speak, along with a good amount of cash for the grand prize winner's school.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Now in its third year running, Google is giving its international science fair a bit of a boost in prizes for both students around the world and their schools.

Here are a couple of new items for this year's contest:

  • Google will award a $10,000 cash grant to the grand prize winner's school

  • There will also be a new category, dubbed the "Inspired Idea Award", which will be voted on by the public for the project with the greatest potential to change the world.

Other awards up for grabs include a $50,000 scholarship from Google, a trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions, and a $50,000 Science in Action prize from Scientific American to a project that makes a practical difference by addressing a social, environmental, or health issue.

Now that we know what's at stake, here are the dates to know:

  • Students between the ages of 13-18 can enter starting January 30, 2013

  • The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PDT

  • In early June, Google will reveal 90 regional finalists (30 from the Americas, 30 from Asia Pacific, and 30 from Europe/Middle East/Africa)--including students from Brazil for the first time

  • In late June, judges will pick the top 15 finalists

  • The finalists will be flown to Google HQ in Mountain View, California for the final event, scheduled for September 23, 2013, which is a bit later than the mid-summer dates of the last two years.

Leading up to the event, Google will be hosting tri-weekly Hangouts. With a focus on science and discovery, topics will range from talks with bright minds such as inventor Dean Kamen and oceanographic explorer Fabien Cousteau to "exclusive" behind-the-scenes tours of labs and science facilities.

According to the Internet giant, it has grown to become "the largest online science fair in the world," with students between the ages of 13 and 18 from more than 90 countries.

Some of the projects that have been entered (and later won) range from a device that converts sound into tactile vibrations to a cloud service running on the Google App Engine to catalog potentially cancerous masts.

For more information about the 2013 Google Science Fair, check out the event page, which launches today.

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