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Flu-fighting teenager takes home top prize at Google Science Fair 2013

Matt Brian, @m4tt

Google Science Fair 2013 came to a close yesterday, as 15 young scientists aged between 13 and 18 demonstrated their projects in front of Google's expert panel. With over a thousand submissions worldwide, only four entrants were able to take home prizes, but it was 17-year-old Eric Chen who walked away with the biggest prize. By combining computer modeling and biological studies, Chen's research focused on leads for a "new type of anti-flu medicine" to help fight the spread of the influenza virus. Australian Viney Kumar and Canadian Ann Makosinski took home awards for an early warning app for oncoming emergency vehicles and a flashlight that operates without batteries or moving parts, respectively. This year, voters got the chance to affect the outcome, awarding a new prize to Elif Bilgin, from Istanbul, who showed it was possible to create plastic from banana peel. Each winner took home a trophy built from Lego, as well as prizes from National Geographic and Scientific American. Chen, however, walked away with a $50,000 scholarship, a trip to the Galapagos Islands and his school gets both $10,000 and a Hangout with the boffins at CERN. Well deserved, we'd say.

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