of Scott Stuppi
An incredible lineup of bright and amazing teens from all over the world participated in the prestigious Google Science Fair and the 2014 grand prize winners
were a team of three 16 year old girls from Ireland. Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow's project entitled "Combating the Global Food Crisis: Diazotroph As A Cereal Crop Growth Promoter" first began when they had a lesson about the global food crisis in their geography class.
Hickey was gardening with her mother when she saw nodules on the plants they were working with. She found out that the nodules contained a bacteria that could help the germinations process of seeds. Ciara, Émer, and Sophie experimented with the bacterial microbes (rhizobia), and saw that it accelerated the germination time of oats and barley. "Such a cereal crop performance improvement could significantly assist combating the growing global food poverty challenge and reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture by reducing fertilizer use," the girls wrote in their project proposal.
For their grand prize, the three girls will share a $50,000 scholarship, a prize pack from LEGO, a 10 day trips in the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions, a special tour of Virgin Galactic Spaceport, and one of three "experiences"
provided by LEGO, Google, and NatGeo. Their school will also get $10,000 for lab equipment or computers and one year access to Scientific American.
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