Take a look at what some clever American teens have come up with as an idea for an experiment on the International Space Station!
The 60 global finalists for the YouTube.com/SpaceLab competition were announced Tuesday, January 17th. Recall from my post in November, that YouTube challenged 14-18 year-old students to design a science experiment that can be performed in space. The two winning experiments will be conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and live streamed on YouTube later this year.
The U.S. led with 10 finalists, followed by India with nine. Rounding out the top five countries in terms of total submissions are Poland, Canada, and Spain. U.S. finalists hail from states including California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Vermont.
Space Lab invited budding scientists in two age categories, 14-16 years old and 17-18 years old, either alone or in groups of up to three, to submit a YouTube video describing their experiment to YouTube.com/SpaceLab. The Space Lab channel itself, which serves as a launch pad for discovering the best space and science videos on YouTube, has received more than 40 million combined video views worldwide. The YouTube public was able to vote for projects from January 17th-24th.
More of the press release can be read below.
I spoke with one of the finalists, Shawn Albert, a senior from The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology in Georgia, an aspiring molecular biologist who has previously worked on many independent science projects throughout high school.
Shawn found out about the contest through his school, whose office called him in as they thought he would be interested. To begin work on the project, Shawn consulted his chemistry teacher, his go-to person for Science Olympiad and Science Fair work, about what steps he should be taking. She suggested that he take a look on NASA for other projects that have been done in the past. Ultimately, he decided to look into the idea of testing insulin production in bacteria.
Most impressive is how this project was a joint effort from many people within his school, including the student tech team which helped him film and edit the final video. Shawn expressed his appreciation of all of the efforts of the school personnel to make this happen.
I asked Shawn how he felt about being selected, “It was surreal to get the email indicating I am one of ten finalists in North and South America for my age range for this contest! I find it hard to believe that Stephen Hawking and others will be judging my project!”
Best of luck to Shawn and his team!
More of the press release:
The majority of entries, approximately forty percent, came from India, followed by the U.S. with fifteen percent. The remaining top ten countries in terms of submissions include the U.K., Russia, Israel, Canada, Spain, Italy, Poland and Japan. Seventy-eight percent of the entries came from the 14-16 year old teams with twenty-two percent from the 17–18 year old teams. Nearly half of the youth entered the competition on their own, while teams of two and three students comprised slightly more than 50 percent.
“Space Lab brings together the brightest young minds in the world today – and we’re impressed with all of the thought-provoking entries,” said Michael Schmedlen, worldwide director of education, Lenovo. “From a global education standpoint, we’re seeing a strong correlation between the entries received and the results from our Global Student Science and Technology Outlook survey, which reveals students in emerging countries – India, Mexico and Russia – have a greater interest in and prioritize science-related careers over students in other developed countries.”
Six regional winners will be announced in February and will gather in Washington, D.C., in March to experience a ZERO-G flight and receive a Lenovo IdeaPad laptop. From them, two global winners, one from each age group, will be announced and later have their experiments performed 250 miles above Earth aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and live streamed on YouTube from a ThinkPad laptop as part of a global event celebrating science and space. Additionally, the global winners will get to choose a unique space experience as a prize: a trip to Japan to watch their experiment blast off in a rocket bound for the ISS, or once they are 18 years old, a one-of-a-kind astronaut training experience in Star City, Russia, the training center for Russian cosmonauts.
YouTube Space Lab Finalists
14 – 16 year olds
Mark Liang – USA (San Marino, California)
Natalie Ng – USA (Cupertino, California)
Luis Tapia and Ben Miller – USA (Castro Valley, California)
Pranav Singh – USA (Irvine, California)
Sara Ma and Dorothy Chen – USA (Troy, Michigan)
Cheyenne Hua, Erica Lin, and Karina Xie - USA (New York City, NY)
Europe, Middle-East and Africa
17 – 18 year olds
Brian Barr, Shawn Albert, and Aditya Ragunathan – USA (Dacula/Snellville/Duluth, GA)
Emerald Bresnahan – USA (Plainville, Massachusetts)
Emily O’Brien, Jillian Stoneburg, and Art Sherman – USA (Barberton/Copley/Akron, Ohio)
Grady Ward, Colin Watts, and Charlie Wu – USA (Essex Junction, Vermont)
Europe, Middle-East and Africa