“Get your hands dirty, start early, fail as fast as you can, and take risks.”Words from a sage old entrepreneur? No — that’s advice from 17-year-old Singaporean Girish Kumar, one of the winners of last year’s Google Science Fair, dishing out tips for anyone thinking of submitting their science or engineering projects that could change the world and win some pretty amazing prizes.
Girish’s invention—a web-based study tool that automatically generates multiple-choice questions from educational texts online—won him the Google Technologist Award. Girish told us that participating in the competition helped bring his work that spans artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing from theory to the next level, and really bring it to life. It was also a way for him to make new friends who share a passion for taking research and putting it in the hands of everyday people.
If that inspires you, and if you have an awesome idea that you think can help make the world a better place, then it’s time to sign up for the 2016 competition.
Girish wasn’t the only winner representing Asia at last year’s Science Fair. 13-year old Lalita Srisai from Odisha in India showed us how corn cobs can be used to filter water. She was inspired to a find a way to build a cheap but efficient water filtration system using the part of the corn that usually goes to waste.
These are just some of the innovative ideas that young people around Asia have come up with to help solve problems—big and small. If you’re between 13 and 18 years old, now’s the time to submit your project to show how scientific enquiry and problem solving can change the world. And if you’re looking for advice on how to get ahead, or possibly even win, just remember what Girish said. :)