Luke Taylor, a Grade 9 learner at the German International School of Cape Town, South Africa fought off fierce competition from more than 7 500 entrants from more than 90 countries, to become one of only 60 semi-finalists in the inaugural Google Science Fair.
The Google Science Fair aims to be the largest global online science competition, targeting students from the ages of 13 – 18 all over the world.
Students were invited to submit their science projects as a Google Site to compete for internships, scholarships and other prizes.
Luke (14) describes himself as a “robotics junkie” who is passionate about computer science and artificial intelligence, and always ready for a challenge. To reach the semi-finals of the competition, Luke embarked on a project to help robots understand commands written in natural human language, entitled Programming in Pure English.
He says: “I’m proud to put Africa on the map by making the semi-finals. It is my dream to win a scholarship one day that will allow me to study at a top university and connect with the most brilliant minds that will take robotics into the future. Participation in online competitions like the Google Science Fair will hopefully assist me in getting there.”
Julie Taylor, communications manager for Google sub-Saharan Africa, says: “We’re delighted to have a South African student in the semi-finals — and what’s more, Luke is one of only two young scientists selected from the Europe, Middle East & Africa region. We wish him the very best of luck.”
The Google Science Fair was launched on 11 January 2011 and judges will choose five finalists in each category. However, it is up to the global public to vote for the People’s Choice Award. The team or individual with the most votes will win the People’s Choice Award and bring home a $10 000 scholarship. To vote, visit google.com/sciencefair before 20 May.
The 15 global finalists will be announced on 23 May 2011 and will be flown to Google’s headquarters in California for the final round of judging conducted by Google’s panel of scientists and innovators on 11 July 2011.