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

The Americas

Katie Gwozdecky - Canada

Michael De Lazzari, Erik Friedman, and Jenny Zhang - Canada

Valentina Mazzanti and Sebastian Escobar - Columbia

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

Tobias Antensteiner - Austria

Victoria Tarisai - Austria

Simon Kopf - Germany

Ariel Berko and Yoav Levi - Israel

Jaime Costa - Morocco

Maciej Giza - Poland

Michał Styk, Maria Leniarska, and Jakub Jabłoński - Poland

MrMooblo 3 - Poland

Rafał Wesołowski, Marcin Ruchniewicz, and Krzysztof Kallas - Poland

Laura Calvo and María Vilas - Spain

Luis Alvarez Ayuso and Marina Lopez Gonzalez - Spain

Reuben Thomas-Davis - UK

Harry Green and Jack Goodwill - UK


Thomas Gambuti, Francesca Mcgrath, and Ruby Wright - Australia

Wyatt McCoach and Forrest Gerner - Australia

Abhishek Shastry and Animesh Shastry - India

Megha Sharma and Karan Sapolia Sharma - India

Nitya Raju - India

Patrick Zeng and Derek Chan - New Zealand

Ping-Chun Lin & Wei-Ting Hsiao - Taiwan

17 - 18 year olds

The Americas

Habeeb Ahmed and Annas Khan - Canada

Jesse Bettencourt, Alex Kasper, and Mackenzie Richardson - Canada

José Arce Gamboa and Brandon Solórzano - Costa Rica

Claudio Nahmad - Mexico

Mariana Infante - Mexico

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

Amr Mohamed - Egypt

François Tirvaudey - France

Michael Judt - Germany (lives in UK)

Adam Debreceni - Hungary

Peter Egri and Gábor Galgóczi - Hungary

Bartosz Krzowski - Poland

Patrik Kopcinski - Poland

João Pereira and Vasco Ferreira - Portugal

Miguel Ferreira, Guilherme Aresta, and Daniel Carvalho - Portugal

Miguel Moral Sola and Rafael Ferrer Fernandez - Spain

Nicolás Marí Hernández, Olivier van Donselaar, and Pere Balaguer Gimeno - Spain


Luke Ditria and Johnny Udall - Australia

Nasir Uddin and AKM Shoaibul Islam - Bangladesh

Ali Ashraf Mohd Rozaiddin, Muhammad Irsyad Aripin, and Mohd Aizat Mohd Ezmir - Malaysia

Bhoomika Agarwal and Shruthi C - India

Mohit Singhala - India

Nesar M.N. - India

Kavin Sundar Nath - India

Sachin Kukke - India

Shri Shankari - India

Anna Yang and Cindy Chen - Taiwan

Sakomizu Wei-yu and Eileen Hess - Taiwan