Growing up in the Arab world, science fairs for us as students were non-existent. I actually only learned of the concept of science fairs when I was much older and heard about the Cheltenham Science Festival held in the UK.
Nowadays things are slightly better, there are some efforts to promote events akin to a science fair, but nothing too fancy or big unfortunately. But the internet may be poised to give young students in the Arab World a change to actually participate in what could become the biggest science fair in the world.
Today is the launch event for Google Science Fair, the world’s first online science fair. Anyone between 13 and 18-years-old can take part either alone or in teams of two or three to create their own science project.
The event, sponsored by CERN, LEGO, National Geographic and Scientific American, will run all the way up to the 4th of April, 2011, with entrants competing to be amongst the top 15 global winners who will be flown to the Google Headquarters in California, USA, to present their projects to a panel of renowned scientists.
Google have created a simple, clear video explaining the whole process which you can watch below
I know there are some excellent, innovative students in Arab schools who would be able to create really interesting science projects with the limited resources they have. The problem will sadly still be the will. Unless they are excited by science and the prospects of science, there is little change they will pick up the challenge and take part in this international opportunity.
Hopefully, some smarter schools in the region can encourage students to take this up as part of their school science projects and support them in actually interacting and becoming part of an international community excited about science. Google has also provided its full array of services as resources that can help students create their dream science entry.
And to get people excited even more, they have put together a Wallance and Grommit contraptions style video to promote the event. Growing up, it is these possibilities that excited us the most about science. Hopefully things haven’t changed too much since then.