Google Science Fair 2012 Finalist Gala

Uploaded by GoogleScienceFair on 23.07.2012

[ Google Science Fair introductory video playing]
>>> Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats.
The program will begin shortly. Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats.
The program will begin shortly.
[ Cheers and applause ] [ Cheers and applause ]
>>> Please welcome senior vice president at Google and science enthusiast, Susan Wojcicki.
[ Applause. ] >>Susan Wojcicki: All right. So good evening,
everyone. It's really an honor to be here at our second annual science fair.
I am so honored to be here and to be part of this exciting event.
I'd like to start by thanking all of our partners: CERN, LEGO, National Geographic, and Scientific
American. What an amazing group of companies that have come together to support all of
these young scientists. I also want to thank all of the judges. This
is going to be a very tough task -- I do not envy them -- from this very amazing set of
finalists that we have here. Now, just to give a little bit of background,
these finalists were chosen from thousands of submissions from over 100 countries. And
this was an entirely global competition. Anyone who had an Internet connection could participate.
And this year's finalists are evidence of the global nature of our science fair. They
come from Canada, India, Malta, Spain, Swaziland, Ukraine, and the United States.
[ Applause. ] >>Susan Wojcicki: Now --
Woo-hoo! [ Applause. ]
>>Susan Wojcicki: Now, all of these finalists, all of you, took on really tough problems:
Drug addiction, water quality, cancer, dementia, pollution, world food shortage. Now, you guys
definitely think big, definitely. But it reminds me a little bit of a story
our founder and CEO, Larry Page, has told, that when he was a kid, he went to a summer
camp, and the summer camp had the slogan of "have a healthy disregard for the impossible."
Now, that stayed with him. Expect as you can see, it had a lot of benefits. He took on
a lot of things that seemed very difficult but was able to accomplish a lot of great
things. I hope that it stays with you, all of that
ambition, and that you keep working towards that goal, that you never give it up, and
that you keep working on developing your science skills and working to make the world a better
place. Now, I think about this from three perspectives:
As a parent -- and I actually have some of my little ones here, my young scientists here
-- I know how exciting it is to participate in this. And I know as a parent how exciting
it is to have your kids participate. And I'm hoping that at some point, my kids participate
in an event like this as well. I also see it from the point of view as a
Googler. We believe in science, technology. It's really core. It's part of our DNA and
part of what we think can make Google great and make the world a better place.
And I see it also as a citizen of the world. There's so many things that science has given
us: Medicine, communications, technology, all of which have made our life better in
so many ways. And our generation of scientists have worked
and will continue working. But you are the next generation. And you will be able to build
upon all of the things that we've done. And it's such a pleasure and an honor to see this
next generation and to see your enthusiasm and to see your focus and devotion to science
and trying to work on so many important problems. So with that, I would like to just say that
no matter who wins, I know that all of you will go on to do amazing things. And I hope
you continue your love of science, and I hope you continue thinking big, and I hope you
continue your ambitions, and I hope you keep trying for things that go well and things
that don't go well. That's part of being a scientist, is trying to figure out what worked
and what didn't work and then making it better the next time.
And so lastly, I would just like to say congratulations to all of you. Keep going. Keep thinking big,
and keep working on all of that amazing science. And with that, I'd like to turn it over to
the rest of the show. Have a great night. Thank you.
[ Applause. ] >>> Please welcome tonight's host, BBC presenter
and one of the Google Science Fair judges, Adam Rutherford.
[ Applause. ] >>Adam Rutherford: Hello, everyone. I'm your
host. Welcome to the second annual Google Science Fair. We are here tonight to celebrate
the achievements of 21 outstanding, brilliant young scientists.
Tonight, we'll be choosing the winners in three age categories. And one of those will
be crowned the grand prize winner of the 2012 Google Science Fair.
Hello to everyone at home who is watching on live stream. Just in case you're wondering,
we are in an aircraft hangar in California with all of the finalists and their families,
and just in case it gets a bit too much for you, there's an airplane right there. So,
you know, just help yourself. [ Laughter ]
>>Adam Rutherford: We have had over 5,000 entrants to this competition, from more than
100 countries, from every single continent, apart from Antarctica. Antarctica, sort that
one out. Me and the other judges, we've had the privilege
of hanging out with these 21 finalists and their 15 projects for the last couple of days.
And I've got to say it is a privilege and an honor. These people are truly inspirational
young scientists. And they and the people that they represent, they are everyone's future.
Now, this year, we gave all of the finalists video cameras so that they could record and
chart their journey, their scientific journey, and their actual journey from their hometowns
all around the world to here tonight to the final.
So without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to the Google Science Fair 2012 finalists.
[ Applause. ] [ Video. ]
>>> My interest in science can be summed up by a quote from Albert Einstein: Imagination
is more important than knowledge >>> This is where the cool stuff is happening. I mean,
where else are you going to find field work, you don't just predict the future. You can
come up with test ideas that might just be the future.
>>> (indiscernible) interests in science, because we are the future of the world. And
everything in the whole world exists because of science.
>>> If the young people didn't care about science, they wouldn't grow up to be scientists
later in life and nothing would be invented. >>> Science to solve problems.
>>> We entered the Google Science Fair to help raise awareness for the need for education
and educational healing. >>> We got to show what we did and have fun
doing it. >>> It's essential to get young kids, young
people interested in science at an early age, because raising the next batch of scientists
is really raising the next batch of leaders. >>> Science is never subjective. Whether you're
rich or poor, science always has the same answer.
>>> You can find things out, you can discover things, we can build things that can make
a difference. >>> The thing I'm most passionate about is
the environment and -- with the kind of damage we do to our environment on a daily basis,
it just seemed like the responsibility for us to clean after ourself.
>>> We're the future doctors. We're the future programmers. We're the future engineers, the
future environmentalists. And we're going to be the people on the frontier, solving
tomorrow's problems. [ Dog barking ]
>>> I'm very curious. I have a lot of questions, and science always answers them.
>>> We are aware of the problems around us, and we have an adult perspective. And at the
same time, we still have the ideas and creativity and out of the-box thinking.
>>> The biggest inspirations that I have are (indiscernible). Simple, superficial processes
can be so intriguingly complex. >>> I don't remember a time when I didn't
like (indiscernible). >>> Being a finalist in the Google Science
Fair is the biggest achievement. >>> It lets me know that my age does not limit
my (indiscernible). >>> I can't wait until it happens in July.
I'm very excited. >>> Be there!
[ Video concludes. ] [ Applause. ]
>>Adam Rutherford: Okay, everyone. That's them. I'd like to bring them up on stage.
Please, everyone give it up for all of them in person.
Come on up. Come on up. [ Cheers and applause ]
(Standing ovation). >>Adam Rutherford: Bunch up a little bit.
Bunch up a little bit. Come on up. Keep coming. Two rows. All the way down. All the way down.
All the way down. All the way down.
Okay. [ Applause. ]
>>Adam Rutherford: Okay, okay. Come on off. We've got to get on with the show. Thank you
so much, everyone. Go, go, go. Go, go, go.
Wow, there is a lot of geek love in the room tonight.
Okay. Now, you've met the finalists. And during the course of the evening, you'll also be
meeting some of the judges, some very special people, who are coming up to talk about how
science has inspired them. Now, you may have noticed in the news in the
last couple of weeks the large Hadron collider has been quite rightly in the news a lot.
I'm very proud to welcome to the stage CERN's director of accelerators, Steve Myers.
[ Applause. ] >>Steve Myers: Good evening. Ah, good.
So I'm here to talk about the LHC, Higgs particles and so on. Behind me is a view of Geneva and
the LHC. It's a 27-kilometer circumference machine in a channel straddling the Franco-Swiss
frontier. What we do at CERN is to study what happened
immediately after the big bang. When I say "immediately," I mean between a millionth
of a second and a thousandth of a millionth of a second after the Big Bang.
We are seeking to answer questions about the fundamental building blocks of the universe
and the forces that control them. So one of the big questions which has been
around for the last 50 years is, what is the origin of mass. In doing this research, CERN
advances also the frontiers of technology. And we also bring nations and cultures together
through science. The LHC is an enormous engineering endeavor,
and the construction of the LHC and the detectors provides huge technology transfer to our contractors,
our European contractors. At the moment, CERN has 20 member states,
and more than 11,000 scientific users from all over the world.
So what do we do? The LHC accelerates protons to very high energies
and then smashes them together. These collisions, when they cross each other, produce new particles.
And these new particles only existed immediately after the Big Bang. They do not exist now.
They only existed then. So the properties of these short-lived particles
are measured by the experimental detectors which are around the collision points. So
in this way, we reproduce in a very, very small way the conditions which existed just
after the creation of the universe. Now, the two major experiments on the LHC
are called Atlas and CMS. Interestingly, the "C" in CMS means "compact," but it's an enormous
detector. They are shown behind me. They're hugely complicated
detectors, which involve the work of several thousand physicists in each experiment. Atlas
is 3,000. CMS is about 3,000 as well. Now, what the detectors do is they take -- basically,
they take rapid digital photographs of the results of the proton collisions. And using
these photographs or these measurements, the experimenters can evaluate the properties
of the newly generated particles. Now, as you all probably know, on July 4th
this year -- it's a very funny date to find a Higgs -- Atlas and CMS announced the discovery
of this elusive Higgs Boson. We've been looking for it for 50 years. And, finally, on the
4th of July, it was announced. The Higgs Boson is the mediator of mass and
explains the origin of mass in the universe. Without the Higgs force, there would be no
mass. And without mass, the universe as we know it today would not exist.
So the Higgs discovery, for me, is the most significant physics event certainly of my
lifetime. So the beautiful image behind me shows one
of the events, the Higgs Boson, decaying into four neurons, showing the four blue tracks.
With this discovery, we are now entering a new era of physics using an incredible part
of the LHC. This is a very exciting time for science and for physics.
Thank you very much. [ Applause. ]
>>> Please welcome back tonight's host, Adam Rutherford.
[ Applause ] >>Adam Rutherford: Thank you very much. I
don't need that. You can take it. >>Steve Myers: This is to assess my project.
>>Adam Rutherford: Not bad. Keep working on it. Steve, I'm sure he's got a lot of work
that he still needs to do. [ Laughter ]
>>Adam Rutherford: Our next guest is another one of the judges and someone who is truly
inspirational. She is an oceanographer. She has more than four decades of underwater field
research. She is an author of more than 175 scientific papers. She is a lecturer. She
is a National Geographic Explorer in Residence. And if that weren't enough, she has walked
untethered on the bottom of the sea at a depth lower than any other woman. It is my great
pleasure to welcome to the stage Sylvia Earle. [ Cheers and Applause ]
>>Sylvia Earle: So what does it take to make a scientist?
Well, you start with a kid, and then you do what kids do. You ask questions. Who? What?
Why? Where? When? How? With a sense of wonder. And we certainly have seen that in you. It's
there. Don't ever lose it! That's what scientists
have that much of the population of the world somehow lets drift away somewhere along the
way. But it's the key to being an alive human being.
You're probably the luckiest generation ever to come along. You might not think so when
you think about all the problems facing the world today. But imagine this. A hundred years
ago, the images of Earth from space, mars, Google Earth, Google mars --
[ Laughter ] >>Sylvia Earle: -- didn't exist. You have
just so much going for you in terms of the knowledge that now exists that did not exist
when I was a kid. You have more at your disposal in a cell phone than Galileo or Copernicus
or Charles Darwin or many of the giants who preceded you. It's there to build on, and
you are doing just that. So, huh, think about it, the opportunity that
you have that hasn't come before and may never come again.
We are actually turning our beautiful blue planet ever more to be like that red one.
We're mars-a-forming Earth. Even as some are trying to terraform mars, we are turning the
blue planet into something that is less whose hospitable for our species. But now we know.
We didn't know 30 years ago that Earth had limits to how much land you could convert,
how much ocean you could trawl, how many fish you could take from the sea, how many trees
you could cut and still have a planet that works.
We have entered, on your watch the antepriscene. A time when human activities are so modifying
the nature of nature that it's a different planet.
I tell people sometimes "I come from a different planet," and it's true. And some of them say,
"Yes, we knew that." [ Laughter ]
>>Sylvia Earle: But there were only 2 billion people on Earth when I arrived. Now there's.
You're likely to see 10, maybe more. Earth doesn't get any bigger. And we're drawing
down the resource space that makes life, well, certainly prosperous for us.
Fortunately, we learned how to harness the energy sources on this planet, and it's been
a great gift to us. There's a down side, of course, to fossil fuels, but there's an up
side, too. Powering our way into space. Giving us the communications network. Actually giving
us a quality of life that we now enjoy. And yet, the best thing that fossil fuels
have given us so far is the gift of knowledge. Knowing that now we have to look for other
ways. The world has changed, owing to what we have done with fossil fuels, with the many
ways that we have altered the nature of nature. So now we know. 50 years ago, we couldn't
have this graph. Now we can measure the changes. We can report the changes. We're not making
this up. We're reporting on those changes and what it means back to us.
Coral reefs that I knew as a child, about half of them are gone or are in a state of
great decline. This is not good news. The good news is not
only do we know it, we didn't know we wouldn't have the capacity to understand that a hundred
years ago. Now we know. That's the key. We can see the correlation between global
warming, carbon dioxide, ocean acidification and the decline of coral reefs, and right
back to us. What does that mean? Plastics are a great gift to our species,
from our species, but I come from the pre-plasticazoac. I know we can get along without them, even
though I enjoy them. The problem is single-use plastics and plastics that we just throw away
as if there is an "away" on this little blue speck in the universe.
There's a down side to these things that have given us such benefits as humans. The real
key is knowing. And the real key is you. I mean, help is on the way. It's you. We now
have the means to do what Darwin couldn't do, what the Challenger scientists who were
the first to explore the ocean globally couldn't do. That we can go under the sea, and if you
haven't done it yet, don't wait much longer. My mother waited until she was 81. She will
tell you don't wait until you're 81. [ Laughter ]
>>Sylvia Earle: Start as soon as you can. Just this time last week, I was living underwater,
one of those things that was possible only starting 50 years ago when Jacques Cousteau
and Ed Link and the U.S. Navy, George Bond, actually pioneered the technique that made
it possible for me, and I have done it now ten times, to stay for prolonged periods underwater.
Here I am with my fellow aquanauts. There are were actually two others who couldn't
get in the picture. 50 feet down we stayed for actually eight days living at two and
a half atmospheres of pressure. But think about the deepest part of the ocean
where Jim Cameron went with his little submarine just in March of this year, with 16,000 pounds
of pressure per square inch pushing down on his little shell of a submarine where just
50 years ago two people did a similar feat. But why did it take 50 years, 52 years for
there to be a return? Getting into the ocean. I hope you will do
it, all of you, everywhere, because it's the blue part of the planet that keeps us alive.
It's where most of the water is. 97% of Earth's water is in the ocean. Well, fresh water is
a big deal these days because as terrestrial fresh-water requiring creatures, we must have
fresh water, but only 3% of Earth's water is fresh water, and 97% of that is locked
up in polar ice. Well, less and less every minute, of course.
But we indeed to come to grips, as we now can as never before, with what makes the world
function and how do we function within it. How do we live within our means? How can we
do what some of us were doing last week, go cruise around in places inaccessible to our
species until fairly recently? And here's another thing. I love it that one
of the requirements, the considerations for considering your projects and who is going
to emerge as winners, and all of you have emerged as winners in this category, you communicate.
It's not good enough to know. You must share what you know, something that scientists,
historically, have not been very good at doing. Increasingly, it's vital that you not only
explore, not only know, not only find out things, but you tem the world. Not just your
little circle of scientists who understand with you what is really significant, but to
find the ways to share that with as wide an audience as possible.
I had a chance while standing underwater with my little helmet on last week to do a little
piece for Fox news. We had a Google National Geographic hangout? How about that? From under
the sea. Hanging out on the reef. With the world. So even with that little helmet, I
could speak via the Internet, then to a surface buoy, and then wirelessly all over the world.
Little submarines, it's the next step beyond actually being under pressure personally,
to package yourself in a chamber. So inside, it's the same atmosphere you have here in
this room, one atmosphere, 14.7 pounds per square inch, and go down and visit with the
creatures below. Here is a Russian version. They have three
submarines that can go to 6,000 meters. This is one of the two MIR subs that have made
history in recent times. And insights into the nature of the creatures
that share life with us, most of them too small to be seen or without special microscopes
that now exist that Charles Darwin didn't have at his disposal that the Challenger scientist
did that, none of us did when I was a kid. Now you do.
You have the power to see things that no generation before you could see, and with it are these
issues, the opportunity to turn things around from this time on my watch, when I've seen
a decline of the natural world. We must see that time. And you're the ones
to do it. The next ten years may be the most important in the next 10,000 years.
We're pushing the limits of CO2 in the atmosphere, of fresh water, of 90% of many of the fish
gone since I was a kid. There is time, but not a lot, to get to know
the creatures who share space with us, not just in the forest and deserts, mountain tops,
but let's go look under the ocean, into the fresh water as well. The ocean, all water
is alive. It's not just a physical phenomenon, water. It's not just chemistry. It's home
for most of life on Earth. It's dark in most of the ocean. Most of the
world lives in the dark, if you think about it. Go down a thousand feet. There are creatures
there, many creatures there. But we're just beginning to access them and put it on the
balance sheet. What do their lives mean to us? And just earlier this year I met this
bird, an albatross named Wisdom. We know exactly how old she is because she was banded in the
1950s. She is 61 years old, and she is sitting on her latest egg.
When I sat with her for a while out at Midway Island halfway across the Pacific, I reflected
what that 61-year-old animal has seen in her lifetime. Lots of change. More change than
all the history of bird-dom or humankind, either.
She may wonder what's happened, what's different since she was an egg or a hatchling. Well,
she doesn't know why, and even if she knew why the changes were taking place, she wouldn't
know what to do with it. But you do. You are empowered with knowledge. You are empowered
with the technology to act on that knowledge. This kind of fish, orange roughy. You can
get it in a supermarket up in Oakland, California for 8.95 a pound. It may be 100 years old
or 200 years old. Think of the changes in the lifetime of those little creatures. Or
of tunas, now really in sharp decline. The biggest fish in the sea vulnerable to
our actions, whale sharks. All sharks down to just 10% of what they were.
It's on our watch, on your time, that we have a chance.
And here's the good news. That's not the good news, but it's coming. Just one last look.
You have the chance, your voice, your knowledge, your power, to turn things around. This is
the time, as never before. Because now we know. Now you know to use your power, to leave
the planet in better shape, to celebrate those little guys who share space with us on this
little blue speck in the universe. I can't wait to see what you're going to do
next. Thank you.
[ Applause ] [ Cheers and Applause ]
>>> Please welcome back tonight's host, Adam Rutherford.
>>Adam Rutherford: Thank you so much to Sylvia. She truly is an inspiration. I've just worked
out what this is. This is basically the Oscars but for really smart people.
[ Laughter ] >>Adam Rutherford: And it's quite important,
too. Now, backstage it's a little bit like a Tron
convention. You're too young to remember Tron so forget that. We now have a per performance
and it requires us to be absolutely pitch black. You have to stop tweeting, get off
Facebook. It might be a Harry potter spell, but whatever,
they are magic. Welcome to the stage iLuminate. [ Cheers and Applause ]
>>> Please welcome back performer and founder of iLuminate, Miral Kotb.
[ Applause ] >>Miral Kotb: Hi, everybody. Hope you enjoyed
that. [ Cheers and Applause ]
>>Miral Kotb: So you have to just imagine that usually this happens in pitch black,
but we're in a hangar so that was a little bit hard to achieve. But this is a technology
that I created about three years ago, and my background is very similar to many of you
here. I'm a scientist at heart, and I have been writing software since I was nine years
old but I have also been dancing since I was about three and I used to keep them separate.
When I wanted to dance, I went to dance class, and when I wanted to think of problems to
solve or just have fun hacking, that was kind of the cognitive time, I guess you could say.
But I thought at one point -- I went to Columbia. That's where I got my degree in computer science,
and the reason I did it there was so I could dance in New York. And once I graduated I
actually had a bout with cancer which made it impossible for me to dance for a while,
so I focused on software more. And that's where I came up with the idea behind iLuminate.
And so if what you see what you just saw, it's just a tool. Let's say I've done something,
I've invented sort of the piano for dancers or artists because all this is is a technology
where, wirelessly, we're controlling the lights to go on and off with millisecond accuracy
which you can now have with computers. That's just the basic idea, and I'm sure many of
you guys could do that. You guys are very intelligent. But this isn't just about the
basic technology. That's about what people can do with it.
So that's what I'm really interested in seeing as the company grows, is getting this tool
that I've created into many people's hands and seeing what kind of illusions would they
create. What would you do if you could do something like this in pitch black? People
appear, people disappear, arms can grow, legs can grow, you could have a whole light show
on a human body, which is the most pliable thing you have.
So like I said, I'm a software developer, I'm a scientist like many of you. And when
I have an idea, I don't sleep until I see it come to life.
And the same thing happened when I founded this company. I would never have thought of
myself as a businesswoman. But it was that same drive to find solutions to problems and
see them come to life that made me be able to take this company to the next level.
And today, we have two shows at Six Flags, and they're the most successful shows Six
Flags have had. I think about 5,000 people a day see the show.
We have our own off broad way show coming up this spring -- no, this winter, actually,
and we're about to do a tour. Amongst many things, we've performed in Egypt and South
Africa and Singapore, many places. And I guess what the future holds is we just
want to keep on creating and we want to bring the technology to people's hands and see what
people can do with it. And I think what's the most exciting is that
I've found a way to employ people all over the world. I think I have, give or take, about
100 people working for me within the last year.
So I think what's so amazing about this is that, just like you, I just had an idea and
I wasn't going to leave my apartment until I saw it come to life.
So just use that same kind of energy, that same -- that same drive that you guys have
to get you to where you are today, because you'll be amazed. You'll become a businessman
or a businesswoman and you won't even know you had it in you.
So this is just a little bit of what I did out of an apartment in Brooklyn and I hope
you enjoyed it. And I'm very impressed. I read a about what
you guys are doing. I'm so impressed, and I just want to say keep going for it.
Thank you so much for having us. [ Applause ]
>>> Please welcome editor and chief of Scientific American and one of the Google Science Fair
judges, Mariette DiChristina. [ Applause ]
>>Mariette DiChristina: So hello. I'm Mariette DiChristina, editor in chief of Scientific
American. Last year, when we did the first Google Science
Fair, we all felt so inspired by projects that sought to help a group or community through
their work, that sought to make the world better with science.
So this year, we decided to create the Science in Action Award. The Science in Action Award
recognizes a project that addresses a social, environmental, or health issue in a practical
way, to help make a difference in the lives of a group or community.
The award is $50,000, and a year of mentoring to help continue the work. The mentors include
my fellow Google Science Fair judge T.H. Culhane and notable scientists Dan Kammen and Michael
Webber. So this year, we had 13 amazing Science in
Action finalists, several of whom actually made it to the finalist form of the Google
Science Fair as well. These projects were so inspiring, and I have to tell you, to me,
every one of them is a winner. But our distinguished panel of judges ultimately
had to pick just one project, so I'm going to show you a video now of that project which
has Sakhiwe Shongwe and Bonkhe Mahlalela and it was filmed in their native Swaziland. Let's
take a look. [ Video ]
[ Video concludes. ] [ Cheers and applause ]
>>Mariette DiChristina: And now -- it
was beautiful, wasn't it? It was just beautiful. And now
I'd like to ask Sakhiwe and Bonkhe Mahlalela and also their mentor and teacher, Titus Sithole,
please come up. We'd like to give you your award.
[ Cheers and applause ] (Standing ovation).
>>Mariette DiChristina: Congratulations. Excellent. Congratulations to the Science in Action winners.
[ Applause. ] >>Adam Rutherford: Okay. Thank you. That was
so awesome. Okay. That's quite touching, in fact.
Right. Compose myself. The next guest, this is a guy who has a really
quite enigmatic job title. It is the Rapid Evaluator Lead for Google X. If you don't
know, and no one is meant to know, Google X is the slightly mysterious department within
Google that is charged with finding the next big thing.
It's so secretive, I can't tell you whether or not he works in a very mysterious secret
lab which is filled with robots, space elevators, and talking refrigerators.
Please welcome Google X's Rich DeVaul. [ Applause. ]
>>Richard DeVaul: Hi. I'm Rich DeVaul. Yes, I am the mysterious enigmatic researcher from
Google X. I'm a scientist, an inventor. I may or may not be a responsible adult.
[ Laughter ] >>Richard DeVaul: But I am here this evening
to tell you about a topic that is near and dear to my heart, which is the process of
innovation, which is how we learn, we as individuals, we as a species. I am going to frame this
as advice, advice to sort of maybe my 13-year-old self, or 14-year-old self. I'm not going to
tell you just how many years ago that was. But maybe some of you who are about that age
can take that advice, too. And also advice to those really fortunate adults who can mentor
and influence the next generation of amazing scientists, engineers, artists, and discoverers.
Before I get into that, I want to just say how incredibly honored I am to be on stage
here this evening. I mean, Sylvia Earle's presentation just totally blew me away.
Thank you so much. That's super important for our planet.
And, you know, the director of CERN. I never thought I'd share the stage with the director
of CERN. But more than those luminaries, it's you, you, the participants; you, the science
fair kids, who are blowing me away. And the thing I just saw back there -- I was
watching it, too -- that was incredible. That's science in action addressing a huge, important,
major issue for our day. So awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome.
So this kind of raises the question of sort of why am I here? Why do I get to stand up
on stage and talk to you guys? Well, I am this sort of serial innovation
professional type. I work for Google X. And, yes, it's the lab
full of space elevators and robots and all of that, if you believe the New York Times.
I can tell you it's an incredibly cool place, and I have the best job in the world. I am
not kidding you. The best job in the world. Unfortunately, I can't tell you about it.
[ Laughter ] >>Richard DeVaul: But I'm not here to tell
you about my job. I can tell you that we're the folks who did Project Glass, that really
cool thing that you may have seen at Google I/O. Google X also brought you the self-driving
cars. Both of these things are going to change the world in really big ways.
But how did I get here? [ Laughter ]
>>Richard DeVaul: Okay? How did this pimply-faced kid -- and I tried
to find a 13-year-old picture of me. But this is my passport photo. It's the closest I could
come, from 1990 -- how did this kid end up on stage tonight to talk to you about innovation?
And I'm supposed to be a responsible adult and say, "Get good grades. Work hard. Be smart."
Well, you're obviously really smart. And I think some of you are getting really good
grades. But you know what? I didn't get good grades. Not really. I was not a straight-A
student until my third graduate degree, working on my Ph.D. at the MIT media lab. I'm serious.
Okay? And there are a lot of people who are as smart
as I am who have fancy degrees from places like MIT who don't have a job as incredibly
cool as mine. And I think there is a reason for that. And part of it is luck. Okay? I
got really, really lucky. I'm incredibly thankful for that. But there is another really important
reason. Okay? And that is, I am better at failing productively --
[ Laughter ] >>Richard DeVaul: -- faster than many anyone
any of you know. You're also world experts at this. Because it's the process of failing
through which we learn. So the organizers here this evening wanted
me to find a picture of me failing dramatically, you know, some photo of maybe me flying through
the air. I couldn't do that. I was trying to find something
from my past that would show this kind of productive failure.
But what I do have is, this is actually a Web page of a company that I founded. So after
doing a Ph.D. at MIT where I did all kinds of crazy things with wearable computers -- and
you'll see a little bit of that in a moment -- I founded a company. And we did amazing
contract research work for the U.S. Olympic team, the Canadian Olympic team. It was a
lot of fun. Then we decide, this is great. Let's create a product.
And we took that product to market. You know what? People really liked that product. And
it was awesome. And we were going to close our second round
of financing. Well, that was August of 2008. Guess what happened? We didn't get that financing.
That's when the wheels came off the whole global economy. And you know what? We failed.
We failed really hard. I took money from friends, people I'd known for a long time. They put
their faith in me and my colleagues. They invested in us. And you know what? We blew
it. But the thing was, as a kid, I had the experience
of trying things that didn't work. My parents encouraged me to do all kinds of stuff, all
kinds of crazy things. They bought me a computer in 1980, when that was totally crazy. And
they let me play with that. And I had the experience of trying to make things and have
them not work the first time. Not work the third time.
And because of that experience, that got me through school, which was really pretty hard
for me when I was younger, and eventually through graduate school. So when I had a company
that didn't work out, well, that was really rough, but you know what? I went on to work
for Apple. Doing technology advancement at Apple. An incredibly cool job that I can't
tell you anything about. [ Laughter ]
>>Richard DeVaul: Suffice to say that it was an amazing opportunity, and then ended up
at Google X. So I want to show you something else from
my past. This actually happened a little bit before
that company. This is a couple of prototype wearable computers back from my days at MIT.
All of that stuff that you see there weighed two or three pounds. It got really warm. But
we had this crazy idea that someday, in the far future, maybe somebody could make a little
wearable device that would be on your glasses, that would show you the world in new ways.
Okay? And as you can see up there at the very top, those glasses with that little thing
clipped on it. Now, when we did this work, you know, it wasn't totally clear that this
was successful; right? We did crazy stuff. We got in the news. It was all really nifty.
But did it change the world? Well, for about five years, seven years later, I don't really
think you could say it changed the world. But maybe some of you recently saw Project
Glass at Google I/O. Okay? Was that cool or what?
And I'm not taking credit for Project Glass. Let me be very clear about that. But I can
take a small amount of credit for being in that group of people who very early on thought
there might be something there. And that seed grew. And that's the process of science and
innovation. It's not always you who gets to realize the direct benefits of your work.
But the world will. So I want to get back to kind of the theme
of my talk, which is advice. And free advice is worth everything you pay for it. But I
have seen some absolutely amazing work at the Google Science Fair, fantastic projects,
projects addressing things like cancer, clean water, the low-cost hydroponics -- by the
way, awesome. That is fantastic. All of these projects are just the tip of
the iceberg, because you, I think, know how to play, not to study, not to work hard. I
know you know that. But I love the intro where we got to see so many kids with musical instruments
and art and doing things they love. Because the process of play, the process of constructive
play, where you go out and do things because you want to, because you learn, and you make
something, that's how you learn to do science. That is the essence of science. Because if
we knew how to do it, if there were already a recipe for it, we wouldn't have to try over
and over again. And through play, we learn to try, even when it doesn't work the first
time. All right?
So you as kids, keep playing! Make time for doing the things that you love, because the
things that you love will lead you in the direction of learning about the world and
making your big contributions. And I am so fortunate, but I had parents who,
even when they had this kind of dorky kid who didn't seem to be very good in school,
but was really interested in computers and really interested in science, they let me
play. They let me go down to the basement and do all kinds of crazy things that they
had no idea what was going on. I might have been down there hacking into computers on
the early Internet. I might have been down there working on an
acetylene gas mortar that could shoot an orange a mile. In fact, both of those things are
true. And, actually, it's a good thing Google never figured out about my past as a computer
criminal -- oops. But it was because my parents supported me
in playing that I learned the stuff that got me where I am today. It's because I had a
business that failed that I learned to be a good businessperson that gave me the business
skills is actually part of why Google X hired me to be a rapid evaluator, because we evaluate
things not just on the basis of technology, but also on the basis of business potential.
And so now my advice to people who aren't currently 13 years old. If you are an adult
who has the privilege of mentoring or teaching some amazing young person, you can change
the world more than any of us highfalutin luminaries on the stage this evening. And
I am serious about that. You have an opportunity to be that adult who will encourage kids to
play, not just to work hard, because working hard really is important, and not just to
get good grades, because good grades really are important. Trust me, I did it the hard
way. Get good grades if you can. But it is being that person who can encourage these
wonderful young people who are our future to go out and follow their dreams, to go and
do the things that they want to do and to give them the space to try things and have
it not work out that's absolutely essential. Because the process of science isn't getting
it right the first time or the fifth time or the tenth time, because we have to explore,
and we have to fail productively in order to learn.
And I am so glad that you are all here. I am so glad that we have people like you, you
amazing young folks, who are going to make this a future which I think we're all going
to look forward to. Despite these amazing problems, Sylvia Earle was right. We have
the greatest opportunity, you have the greatest opportunity anybody has ever known. So let's
make the most of it. Thank you so much.
[ Applause. ] >>Adam Rutherford: Please welcome last year's
Google Science Fair grand prize winner, Shree Bose.
[ Cheers and applause ] >>Shree Bose: All right. Hey, everyone!
How's everyone doing? [ Cheers ]
>>Shree Bose: I have literally always wanted to do that. It's so exciting.
So I have to tell you something. This event, if you couldn't tell, is kind of important
to me. See, last year, I was sitting exactly where you're sitting right now. I was on the
verge of a nervous breakdown. And I was waiting for an announcement that would go on to change
my life in ways I could have never imagined. So today, it is my pleasure to be here. It
has been my honor to have judged all of the incredible 21 finalists sitting before me
now. And it's my pleasure to be speaking with you this evening.
Now, as the first grand prize winner of the first Google Global Science Fair, this past
year has taken me on a crazy whirlwind journey all over the world, full of moments that are
just indescribable, moments that have just taken my breath away, moments like getting
to be on a stage with Chelsea Clinton, speaking at Google Zeitgeist. Getting to give a TED
talk. Being called out by Emma Stone as she announced my name as one of Glamour Magazine's
Amazing Young Women of 2011 in Carnegie Hall. They're just incredible moments.
But there are other moments. And I mean the literally breathless moments. I don't just
mean the oh-my-goodness-I-can't-believe-I'm-here moments, because there's a lot of those. I
mean more along the lines of, oh-my-goodness-there's-a-sea-lion-chasing-me-down-the-beach-in-the-Galapagos kind of moments. If you have never had a sea
lion chase you, I highly recommend it. Makes you value your life a lot more.
[ Laughter ] >>Shree Bose: There's getting to be at CERN,
doing a really, really historic time, watching history be made before me as Peter Higgs found
out about the discovery of what could be the Higgs Boson.
There's getting to spend my summer interning at NIH. And, yes, there's getting accepted
to spend my next four years at Harvard. [ Cheers and applause ]
>>Shree Bose: And, of course, I can't leave out this moment, the moment when I turned
around to come face to face with President Obama opening the door of the Oval Office.
[ Cheers and applause ] >>Shree Bose: But there's so much more. See,
that's what makes this science fair special. It makes it different from any other kind
of science fair. This fair doesn't just promote kids in science. It turns finalists, winners,
participants, it turns them into scientific rock stars. It really does. It doesn't just
give you this platform to get your research out there; it lets you go and see the kind
of impact you can have in the world directly. If you love what you're doing, it shows you
how you can change the world. And, see, those moments, they aren't just
breathless. They're -- they're really heart-stopping. They're moments like getting to stand up in
front of 100 women who have battled through and survived ovarian cancer. There's the emails
from hundreds of people all over the world for whom my work is hope for their treatments.
There's kids who email me saying that they're inspired to get into science, to get into
engineering, to do these kinds of projects because they see how far science can take
you. This fair is really special, because right
now, being on this stage, knowing that your lives are about to change in this incredible,
wonderful way that you could have never imagined, that's one of those heart-stopping moments.
This -- this really does give you the platform to give back. The more people I've gotten
to meet, the more I've been constantly humbled by how many people believe in me and how little
I really know. I really don't know that much. To the incredible 21 finalists here, I have
to tell you, I didn't believe in myself when I first started this journey a year ago. I
didn't believe that I could have the sort of impact in the world that I wanted to have.
I -- I grew up thinking that I could change the world. But I never saw how I could do
that. But being here, and the places where you will
go from here, they will show you how you can change the world.
So the wonderful people of Google, LEGO, CERN, National Geographic, and Scientific American,
they believe in you already. I believe in all of you. You guys inspire me. So believe
in yourselves. Believe in your abilities to go out and your power to make the world a
better place. Go out there and do it. Enjoy your moments. Keep in touch with your
fellow finalists, because you're all going to change the world.
And, as my own personal piece of advice, you know, you see all of these cameras around
you. Try and make a better face than this one. It's not that --
[ Laughter ] >>Shree Bose: Somehow, those pictures stick.
[ Laughter ] >>Shree Bose: Congratulations to the finalists
of the 2012 Google Global Science Fair. There's an exciting world of opportunity and possibility
ahead of us. So let's go exploring. [ Cheers and applause ]
>>Shree Bose: So now it
is my great honor to invite a very incredible man to the stage. I would like you to please
welcome one of Google's Chief internet Evangelists, one of the men widely recognized as being
the founding father of the Internet and one of my personal heroes, the ever-inspiring
Vint Cerf. [ Cheers and Applause ]
>>Vint Cerf: Hi, everybody. It's lovely to see you back here on the stage
again, Shree. >>Shree Bose: Thank you.
>>Vint Cerf: This has been a special treat for me as it has been for all of the other
people who participated so far. I have to tell you that one thing that I envy
you young people is you're too young to know you can't do that, and as a result, you go
off and do some pretty amazing things. This company is a lot like that. We have a
lot of young people who don't know you can't do that, and they do.
So some people will ask you what do you want to do when you grow up? The answer is, "I
don't want to grow up." [ Laughter ]
>>Vint Cerf: I want to be as curious and as energetic and willing to try anything as I
can. So I sort of pretend like I'm about eight
years old because that's a more interesting way to be.
Well, I know you have been sitting here listening to all these things and what you really want
to know is what's going to happen now. So first of all, you should know that everyone
walks away a winner in this whole contest. Every finalist is going to get a Chromebook,
a Android tablet and a LEGO Mindstorm kit. So you walk away with a nice bag of really
cool stuff. There are some other things, too. The category
winners, remember 13 to 14, 15 to 16 and 17 to 18, all get a $25,000 scholarship from
Google. They get to choose whether they can go to CERN or to the Fermilab or LEGO or Google
Zurich. You get to choose any one of those possibilities. And the other folks will have
opportunities as well. The Chromebook classroom set, which means if you are one of the winners
in the category, you get to bring Chromebooks to your school, so when you come home, there's
more than just what you took away. You'll get also access to the Scientific American
archives for a year. Just imagine how that will be valuable in doing your work. And finally,
you'll also get a personal LEGO mosaic. Now, after we get through the category winners,
then we select the Grand Prize, and that includes a trip to the Galapagos Islands, which you
have already done. >>Shree Bose: I have.
>>Vint Cerf: And an additional $25,000 scholarship. So this is a big deal all the way around.
And the nominees in the first category are.... [ Slide with winner's name ]
[ Cheers and Applause ] >>Shree Bose: Congratulations!
[ Cheers and Applause ] >>Vint Cerf: Keep you on stage.
>>Shree Bose: So now, in the 15 to 16 age category, the nominees are.....
[ Slide with winners' names ] >>Vint Cerf: Hey!
[ Cheers and Applause ] >>Shree Bose: Congratulations! Congratulations!
Congratulations! >>Vint Cerf: Who wants to hang on to this?
There you are. [ Cheers and Applause ]
>>Vint Cerf: And now in the 17 to 18 year category, the nominees are....
[ Slide with winner's name ] [ Cheers and Applause ]
>>Shree Bose: Congratulations! [ Cheers and Applause ]
>>Shree Bose: So now, from these incredible winners, the moment you have all been waiting
for. The 12 Grand Prize winner of the Google global Science Fair is....
[ Slide with winner's name ] [ Cheers and Applause ]
[ Standing ovation ] >>Adam Rutherford: Okay. Thank you very much.
That is it for this evening. Congratulations to all of the winners. Thank you very much.
And let's have a round of applause for everyone. [ Cheers and applause ]
>>Adam Rutherford: Come up on stage. You guys, come forward. Come forward.