Google July 29 announced the winners of the ninth annual Google Science Fair, with three Indian kids, from two teams, among the winners.
When Google Science Fair launched last in the fall of 2018, the company challenged students to channel their curiosity and ingenuity to invent, code or build a solution to a problem they’re passionate about.
Thousands of students participated to explore Google’s headquarters to reveal the winners. The winners were chosen from 24 finalists, who tackled issues across sustainability, healthcare and accessibility.
“We saw impressive entries that used a variety of STEM disciplines—from using AI to help detect disease in plants to finding new ways to diagnose heart disease,” Google said in a news release.
Among the winners included Aman KA and AU Nachiketh, and Nishitha KK, who won the National Geographic Explorer Award and Inspiring Educator, respectively.
Fionn Ferreira of Ireland was the grand prize winner.
“Behind every ambitious student are parents and teachers (hats off to you!) who cheer them on, and push them to keep learning. And to the students, you rock. We can’t wait to see what you do next,” the company said.
Aman KA and AU Nachiketh are two young scientists from India who found an eco-friendly way to coagulate rubber.
Rubber plantations are popular all over the world. Farmers use formic acid to coagulate rubber latex, which is very corrosive. The solution released after the coagulation of rubber latex with formic acid remains acidic and makes the surrounding soil acidic when discharged, according to the winners’ bio.
As a solution to this problem they tried an extract from Averrhoa bilimbi, commonly known as bilimbi, which produces a sour, tangy, juicy fruit. The fruit juice has a high concentration of oxalic acid, which is useful for cleaning and bleaching. It also contains acetic acid. A fruit weighing 20 g can produce approximately 10 ml of extract, it said.
As formic acid has some limitations on rubber coagulation, bilimbi extract was used on rubber latex to get better-quality rubber sheets. Their aim was to prepare the natural coagulating agent from just bilimbi fruit extract to provide better quality and environmental advantages, it said.
Nishitha KK, also from India, won the Google Science Fair 2018-2019 Inspiring Educator Award which honors the contributions of one outstanding educator who goes above and beyond to encourage their students to achieve great things.
Nishitha KK’s mentees were Aman KA and AU Nachiketh, who wrote a letter about her guidance.
“You are not only our teacher, but someone who energizes, inspires, and encourages us. You have given us hope and guided us to our destination,” the letter began.
“Your expertise in science helped us tackle many of our questions—without your diligence and hard work, we would not have been able to reach our goals. We will always be grateful to you for your support and kindness. It would be impossible to count all the ways that you've helped us with our project,” they continued.
“Thank you so much for all that you've done—we only hope we can return the favor sometime in the future,” it concluded.