News and notes from Google Down Under
Google Science Fair: Looking for the next generation of scientists and engineers to change the world
Thursday, January 31, 2013
At age 16,
invented an alphabet for the blind. When she was 13,
became fascinated with math and went on to write the first computer program. And at 19,
Alexander Graham Bell
started experimenting with sound and went on to invent the telephone. Throughout history many great scientists developed their curiosity for science at an early age and went on to make groundbreaking discoveries that changed the way we live.
Today, we’re launching the third annual Google Science Fair in partnership with CERN, the LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American to find the next generation of scientists and engineers. We’re inviting students ages 13-18 to participate in the largest online science competition and submit their ideas to change the world.
For the past two years, thousands of students from more than 90 countries have submitted research projects that address some of the most challenging problems we face today. Previous winners tackled issues such as
the early diagnosis of breast cancer
improving the experience of listening to music for people with hearing loss
cataloguing the ecosystem found in water
. This year we hope to once again inspire scientific exploration among young people and receive even more entries for our third competition.
Here’s some key information for this year’s Science Fair:
Students can enter the Science Fair in
The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm PDT.
In June, we’ll recognise 90 regional finalists (30 from the Americas, 30 from Asia Pacific and 30 from Europe/Middle East/Africa).
Judges will then select the top 15 finalists, who will be flown to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. for our live, final event on September 23, 2013.
At the finals,
a panel of distinguished international judges
consisting of renowned scientists and tech innovators will select top winners in each age category (13-14, 15-16, 17-18). One will be selected as the Grand Prize winner.
for the 2013 Science Fair include a $50,000 scholarship from Google, a trip to the Galapagos with National Geographic Expeditions, experiences at CERN, Google or the LEGO Group and digital access to the Scientific American archives for the winner’s school for a year. Scientific American will also award a
$50,000 Science in Action prize
to one project that makes a practical difference by addressing a social, environmental or health issue. We’re also introducing two new prizes for 2013:
In August, the public will have the opportunity to get to know our 15 finalists through a series of Google+ Hangouts on Air and will then vote for the Inspired Idea Award
an award selected by the public for the project with the greatest potential to change the world.
We also recognise that behind every great student there’s often a great teacher and a supportive school, so this year we’ll award a $10,000 cash grant from Google and an exclusive Google+ Hangout with CERN to the Grand Prize winner’s school.
Lastly, we’ll also be hosting a series of
Google+ Hangouts on Air.
Taking place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, these Hangouts will feature renowned scientists including inventor Dean Kamen and oceanographic explorer Fabien Cousteau, showcase exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of cutting-edge labs and science facilities, and provide access to judges and the Google Science Fair team. We hope these Google+ Hangouts will help inspire, mentor and support students throughout the competition and beyond.
to get started now—your idea might just change the world.
Posted by Sam Peter, Google Science Fair Team
Google Trends Reveals Australia’s New Year’s Resolutions
Friday, January 18, 2013
While 45-degree temperatures may have deterred some New South Welshmen from going for a lunchtime run today,
shows that Australian searches for
are higher than ever before in 2013. The graph below shows how searches spiked after January 1 as Australian’s turned to fulfil their New Year’s resolution to get buff.
Searches for the ‘gym’ over the last 4 years
searches fell to its lowest point of 2012 in the week leading up to Christmas and then more than doubled in the first two weeks of January 2013 - and, continue to peak every Sunday .
Searches for ‘weight loss’ over the last 3 months
Searches on how to
have also more than doubled in the first week of January compared to Christmas, but have lost momentum in the second week.
Searches for ‘quit smoking’ over the last 3 months
Dating also peaked in the first week of 2013, with many Australians turning to Google to find loved ones right from
'online dating' and 'hangover'
seem to have a pretty strong correlation...
Searches for ‘online dating’ and ‘hangover’ over the last 30 days
Following up on our Zeitgeist review of 2012, we also invited Australians to submit their
New Years resolutions for 2013
. Some of the resolutions included "health, wealth and love", "spend less, save more" and "to be the best in the grade".
Check out Google Trends (
) to see if your New Year’s aspirations are also shared by people from all over Australia looking to make a change in 2013.
Posted by Shane Treeves, Communications and Public Affairs, Google Australia and New Zealand
Students and subjects come together with Google Apps
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Today's guest blogger is Joachim Cohen, Project Officer, NSW Department of Education and Communities
In teaching, there’s something known as “cross-curricular projects” — a sort of “educational Nirvana” where teachers from different faculties bring their students together to explore a single topic in all their classes. However, with teachers being short of time, they often remain in the realm of Nirvana rather than a reality.
Not so at Robert Townson High School in Sydney’s South West where Google Apps has helped make a cross-curricular project possible. Led by history teacher Adam Olm, staff from English, Maths and History brought their Year 7 students together to explore the concept of “Black and White”.
With themes as diverse as Apartheid in South Africa, the same-sex marriage debate, World War II, and the Manhattan Project, students used web tools to be able to learn in new and innovative ways. In History, students were able to research historical figures and events related to their topic and create presentations using
with their findings. In English, students wrote speeches, diary entries and other creative writing responses about their topic in
While in Maths, students planned historical trips and literary destinations related to their topic (for example, the group investigating Apartheid virtually ventured to Johannesburg) — consulting airline schedules and working out time differences with
. To bring all of it together, students created websites, like this one on
World War II
, which showcased their presentations, documents and timetables using
Teacher Adam Olm and Students from Robert Townson High School
Drawing their their various findings and projects together online was an ideal way to highlight the links between each of the subjects and well as being a great way to show parents what they had learnt and made. Students summarised their experience of using Google Apps as being “simple” and “easy” — and that’s important for educators, because the technology should be in the background while the learning remain the focus.
Projects like this are just the beginning for Google Apps in Public Schools in NSW. Last year, twelve schools took part in a pilot program and more schools across the state will be coming online with Google Apps in 2013. We’re looking forward to seeing how these teachers and students will use this technology to enhance learning in other innovative ways.
Google Apps for Education
is free suite of cloud-based communication and collaboration tools (Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Sites) that Google offers to schools for free. This week, educators and Google representatives will deliver online learning sessions and discuss ways to integrate technology into everyday lessons at a
Google Apps for Education Sydney Summit
being held later this week.
Guest post by
Joachim Cohen, Project Officer, NSW Department of Education and Communities
Science the key to seize control of the future
Monday, January 14, 2013
This article was originally published in
The Sydney Morning Herald
As year 12 students across the country mull over their university entrance scores, they will be faced with a big decision on what course to choose.
Some will decide to try their hand in one of the many diverse subsets of science or engineering courses, but the worrying reality is that too few students consider a technical career.
As the next generation of Australia's workforce use their smartphones and tablets and chat over social networks, this trend of declining interest in science and technology suggests the uncomfortable question: are we going to be a nation of creators of the future, or just the consumers of it?
Of course it's a great thing that Australians lead the world in the use of new technology and devices. A recent report showed Australians were the biggest adopters of tablet computers while the uptake of smartphones is the second highest in the world, after Singapore. Increased technology use brings improved productivity. But the bigger potential for economic growth can only come through becoming a nation of creators. The solution lies partly inside the humble maths and science classrooms.
Maths is a bellwether for the related disciplines of science, technology and engineering, including information technology. Yet high school enrolments in maths and science in year 12 continue to fall, and those who do still choose to study the subjects are more likely to eschew the more advanced forms. When it comes to performance, a recent report into Australia's year 4 pupils showed the nation ranked behind 17 others in maths while it was behind 21 others in science.
Clearly, more needs to be done to make science, technology, engineering and maths interesting to students - and that means making it relevant. One study from the Office of the Chief Scientist shows students don't see the real world application of these subjects. For example, of those studying science, only a third thought science was almost always relevant to their future and less than half (47 per cent) thought it almost always relevant to Australia's future. For students not studying science, just 1 per cent thought it was almost always relevant to their future while 42 per cent thought it was never relevant. This led the country's chief scientist, Ian Chubb, to ponder how many students finished the survey and then used smartphones without thinking about the science behind them.
Through the program Computer Science for High Schools (CS4HS) - which funds universities to provide professional development and training to high school teachers - we often hear from staff that it's hard enough to keep up with the latest advances in technology, let alone develop compelling classroom content for it. Another challenge is the lack of a national approach to computer science in high schools, hence the need for a national curriculum and a national approach to training.
have begun to bridge this gap by showing teachers how they can develop classes that have students building and programming robots or showing them how they can create their own mobile app. When students begin to realise that it's this same "science" that builds Google products, and other services they use every day, these subjects seem a lot less remote.
Careers in sciences don't have a great reputation. I come across many students who show a keen interest in working for Google, but baulk at being a software engineer despite Google being an engineering company at heart. Google and the rest of the industry have a healthy demand for workers, so there's clearly a mismatch between what employers need and what future employees want to do.
Of course not everyone wants to be a software engineer, but science, technology, engineering and maths education are the building blocks to a whole range of industries, such as healthcare, finance, manufacturing, energy and resources. Many of the world's best-known entrepreneurs are engineers: just look at Google and Facebook. These skills are vital to the innovation economy and essential if we're to become a nation of creators in all areas.
So to the class of 2012, my plea: there is a difference between using a smartphone and creating an app that reaches millions of people (and the economic activity that's associated with it). There's been a lot of support behind the idea that Australia can have its own Silicon Beach, but we're going to need you - and your skills - to help build it.
Posted by Alan Noble, Engineering Director Google Australia & New Zealand
agencies adwords TV
Getting Aussie Business Online
Google App Engine
Google Apps for Business
Google Apps for Education
Google Art Project
Googlers and culture
Stupid Google employee tricks
Summer of Code
Give us feedback in our
Official Google Blog
Public Policy Blog
Lat Long Blog
Ads Developer Blog
Android Developers Blog