11 incredible teens who came up with genius science fair projects

Shree Bose Google Science Fair's First ever grand prize winnerAndrew FedererShree Bose: Google Science Fair’s first Grand Prize Winner

Google just hosted its fifth annual Science Fair and we couldn’t believe the amount of talent demonstrated by the contest’s teenage finalists.

The company even invited Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old who was arrested after he brought a homemade clock to school, as a guest of honour.

Meet the winners of this years competition, and some past champions too.

This year's grand prize winner came up with an easier way to diagnose Ebola.

Google Hangout
Hallisey on stage, receiving her award

Olivia Hallisey, a 16-year-old from Connecticut, took home Google Science Fair's top award last night for her work on a Ebola test that gives results in 30 minutes and doesn't require refrigeration (a prerequisite of the Ebola tests used today).

She used silk fibres to stabilise the chemicals, which she used to determine whether Ebola antibodies are present in the blood. She found that the test could still be effective even after sitting at room temperature for three weeks.

Hallisey received a $US50,000 scholarship from Google as her prize.

Learn more about her project here.

A 15-year-old who came up with a genius way to transport vaccines won a prize, too.

Anurudh Ganesan with his prototype.

Anurudh Ganesan won the Lego Education Builder Award for proposing a new way to transport vaccines during the critical 'last leg' of their transportation journey.

When healthcare workers are transporting a vaccine to the person who needs it, they have to make sure it remains at a very consistent temperature to remain effective.

Unfortunately, they often have to travel long distances over rough terrain, making either ice packs or electricity untenable cooling solutions.

So Ganesan came up with and tested a simple vapour-compression refrigeration system that requires only a little bit of power, which can easily be supplied by people or animals.

As his prize, he'll get to visit Lego headquarters and a Lego exec will mentor him for six months.

Learn more about his project here.

So did Eliott Sarrey, who won the 'Incubator Award' for his gardening robot.


Sarrey, a 14-year-old from France, won the prize for the 13-to 15-year-old age range for his Bot2Karot invention. Sarrey wanted to figure out a way to maintain a vegetable garden with limited time and mobility, so he created a rolling robot that could be controlled from a smartphone.

Sarrey received $US10,000 from Google and a yearlong mentorship to work on his project. Next, Sarrey wants to take this technology to the next level to automate a hen house.

Learn more about Bot2Karot here.

Girish Kumar won Google's Technologist award for his question-generating software.


Girish Kumar, a 17-year-old from Singapore, developed a software called RevUP.

The system pulls from academic websites and uses that information to create multiple choice fill-in-the-blank questions.

Kumar received $US25,000 and a yearlong mentorship with a Google employee.

Learn more about his project here.

Last year, three teens from Ireland won the grand prize by coming up with a bacteria-based plan to solve the food crisis.

Google Science Fair

Ciara Judge, Sophie Healy-Thow, and Emer Hickey were 16, 17, and 16 respectively when they won the grand prize in 2014.

In a paper called 'Combating the global food crisis: Diazotroph Bacteria as a Cereal Crop Growth Promoter,' they used nearly a year of research to show that treating certain plant seeds with bacteria caused them to sprout faster. Ultimately, using the bacteria could help farmers grow more food, faster.

Learn more about their project here.

Eric Chen won the 2013 grand prize for finding new ways to fight the flu.

Google Science Fair

Chen, who won the prize at 17, used a computer program and biological testing to identify a chemical that could work to inhibit a key protein in the flu virus, which would keep it from spreading. Having a speedy way to find new drugs is key to stopping future epidemics.

Chen went on to win the Intel Science Talent Search before heading off to Harvard University, where he'll graduate in 2018.

Learn more about his project here.

In 2012, a young woman snagged the top honour by creating a computerised 'brain' for diagnosing breast cancer.

Andrew Federman

At 17, Brittany Wenger won big at the Google Science Fair for creating a cloud-based tool that could help doctors more accurately diagnose breast cancer. Her app was based on program she wrote that mimicked a brain's neural network (Google itself uses artificial neural networks to identify photos).

Today, Wenger attends Duke University and her tool, Cloud for Cancer, is still online.

Learn more about her project here.

Shree Bose won Google's first Science Fair grand prize for her novel way to treat ovarian cancer.

Courtesy of Shree Bose

Bose's work on drug-resistant ovarian cancer earned her the top prize at Google's first ever Science Fair.

She identified a protein that was changing cells in the body from responding to chemotherapy treatment, to resisting it. That way, she could find a way to inhibit that protein, and help the chemotherapy on its way to kill the cancer cells.

Since her win, Bose cofounded a startup that teaches kids to code by having them build their own computers. She's now a senior at Harvard and wants to pursue medicine and science after graduation.

Learn more about her project here.

Another impressive project that caught our eye: In 2014, a 15 year old came up with a simple way to help Alzheimer's patients.


Kenneth Shinozuka won the Scientific American 'Science in Action' award in 2014 for his project about finding a way to stop Alzheimer's patients from wandering at night.

Because Shinozuka's grandfather suffered many accidents because he would wander out of his bed at night, Shinozuka created a system that would wirelessly triggers an alert on a caregiver's smartphone when he stepped out of bed.

In March of this year, President Obama honored Shinozuka's invention at the White House Science Fair. At the time, the teen said he was working on the commercialization of his device.

Learn more about his project here.

Here's Ahmed Mohamed hanging out with all the finalists.


'It's imperative for us to support and encourage our young people to explore and challenge the world around them through scientific discovery,' Scientif American editor in chief and Google Science Fair judge Mariette DiChristina wrote in a blog post. 'So we're especially glad that Ahmed Mohamed -- the 14-year-old clock maker from Texas -- took us up on our invite to attend this year's event. Curious young scientists, inventors and builders like him should be encouraged and empowered.'

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