The Google Science Fair is an online science competition sponsored by Google, Lego, Virgin Galactic, National Geographic and Scientific American. The first ever Google Science Fair was announced in January 2011; all entries were due at 11:59:59 pm Eastern Daylight Time on April 7, 2011 and judging occurred in July 2011. The competition is open to 13- to 18-year-old students around the globe, who formulate a hypothesis, perform an experiment, and present their results. All students must have an internet connection and a free Google Account to participate, and the projects must be in English, German, Italian, Spanish, or French. The final submission must include ten sections, which are the summary, an “About Me” page, the steps of the project, and a works cited page.
Entries are judged on eight core criteria, which include the student’s presentation, question, hypothesis, research, experiment, data, observations, and conclusion. Prizes are awarded to three finalists. The grand prize includes a National Geographic trip to the Galapagos Islands, a US$50,000 scholarship, and an “experience” at a sponsoring organization; finalists will receive a US$25,000 scholarship and assorted packages from sponsoring organizations. While Larry Page and Sergey Brin were PhD students at Stanford University in California, they created Google in January 1996 as a research project; Google employee Tom Oliveri highlighted the company’s early days: “Science fairs help students to explore their vision and curiosity through science. Our company was founded on an experiment. We firmly believe that science can change the world,” he stated.