Two from Bangalore, a Lucknowite among Google Science Fair finalists

Two students from Bangalore and one from Lucknow are among the 15 finalists in the 2012 Google Science Fair. Including two from the United States, five out of the 15 finalists are of Indian/South Asian-origin.

The finalists will be taken to Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, to present their projects to our international panel of judges and compete for prizes that include $100,000 in scholarship funds, a trip to the Galapagos Islands and more, Google said.

Rohit Fenn and Raghavendra Ramachanderan qualified for the final round from Bangalore, while Sumit Singh made it from Lucknow.

Sabera Talukder and Yamini Naidu, both from the U.S. west coast, qualified for the final face-off too.

None other than the three Indian students qualified from Asia. South America too did not see any presence in the final list.

Rohit Fenn’s qualifying science project was a partial-vacuum assisted flush that conserves over 50% of the overall water used in a toilet to flush. “Vacu-flush” is a redesign of the conventional toilets, according to the project description.

Raghavendra Ramachanderan, also from Bangalore, won a place in the final 15 with a project that may one day allow us to re-convert of partially oxidized fuel (alcohols) into usable fuel.

“This way, fuel can be used multiple times and energy can be obtained from it,” Google said.

The project intends to develop a chemical reaction that converts an alcoholic substrates into their corresponding alkanes. The conversion is catalyzed by sunlight, and a few other reusable components. The reaction is absolutely ecofriendly and also near-quantitative yields have been obtained, according to Google.

Sumit Singh, the other finalist from India, designed a low-cost Vertical Multi-Level Farm. “It is affordable by small farmers who can use this method to increase crop yield in agriculture and horticulture,” according to the Lucknowite.

Sabera Talukder from Los Gatos, USA, won a place in the final for her work on cheaply and portably purifying water for developing countries.

Yamini Naidu from Tigard USA qualified for her work on identification of medication leads for treating methamphetamine addiction.

Commenting on the finalists, Sam Peter of the Google Science Fair team said, “All of these students asked interesting questions; many focused on real-world problems and some produced groundbreaking science that challenged current conventions.”

“It’s been a fascinating two weeks for our Google Science Fair judges. They’ve been reviewing projects which try to solve myriad problems—from helping people with hearing loss enjoy music to saving water with vacuflush toilets—and they’ve been blown away by the inventiveness of the world’s young scientists,” he added.

The winners will be announced on July 23 and the event will be streamed live on the Google Science Fair YouTube channel. The full list of winners can be seen here.