Canadian Hayley Todesco wins Google Science Fair prize

A Calgary teen has won a $25,000 scholarship from Google for her science project about speeding up the detoxification of oilsands tailings ponds.

Calgary teen wins age category for developing new oilsands cleanup tech

Canadian Hayley Todesco, Americans Mihir Garihella and Kenneth Shinozuka, and Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey and Sophie Healy of Ireland, left to right, were awarded Google Science Fair trophies Monday. (Google blog)

A Calgary teen has won a $25,000 scholarship from Google for her science project about speeding up the detoxification of oilsands tailings ponds.

Google Science Fair award winner Hayley Todesco, 18, has just finished Grade 12 at Queen Elizabeth Junior/Senior High School in Calgary. (Courtesy of Google)

Hayley Todesco's project beat all the other submissions from 17- and 18-year-old students around the world at the Google Science Fair.

Todesco received a Lego trophy at an awards ceremony Monday night, along with:

  • Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey and Sophie Healy, of Ireland, who won the grand prize and the 15- to 16-year-old category for their discovery of bacteria that can speed up the germination of crops by up to 50 per cent, potentially easing world hunger.
  • Mihir Garimella of Pennsylvania, who won the 13- to 14-year-old category with a flying robot inspired by fruit fly behaviour. 
  • Kenneth Shinozuka, who won the Scientific American Science in Action award for developing wearable sensors to help people with Alzheimer's disease.

The voter's choice award was claimed by Arsh Dilbagi, of India, who developed a device allowing people who can't speak to communicate by exhaling.

The Google Science Fair prize is Todesco's second big award win this month.

On Sept. 3, she received the 2014 Stockholm Junior Water Prize for her oilsands research, which came with a $15,000 award and $5,000 for her school.

This is the second year in a row that a Canadian won a top prize at the Google Science Fair.

Last year, Victoria's Ann Makosinski, who was 15, won in her age group for her project, a flashlight powered by body heat.

Hayley Todesco, 18, spent two years developing filters that use sand and bacteria to detoxify oilsands tailings. Much of her work was done in the lab of University of Calgary Prof. Lisa Gieg, who provided the bacteria and the tailings. (Courtesy Hayley Todesco)

With files from CBC News

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