Google Science Fair Winner Makes Cancer-Detecting Artificial Brain

This year's winner of the Google Science Fair is 17 year-old Brittany Wenger, who has coded a cloud-based computer program to think like the human brain and locate malignant tumors. 

What's the Latest Development?

The winner of this year's Google Science Fair, a competition created for 13 to 18 year-olds to showcase their scientific achievements, was given top prize for writing a cloud-based computer program that makes diagnosing breast cancer a less invasive procedure. "17 year-old Brittany Wenger tested her method with 7.6 million trials to see how accurately it would detect cancerous tumors. It succeeded with a 97.4 percent success rate in prediction and 99.1 percent sensitivity to malignancy when analyzing samples collected from FNA." Making the software available to doctors could mean less invasive tumor assessments. 

What's the Big Idea?

Similar to incentive-based competitions like the X Prize, Google's Science Fair awarded Wenger with a $50,000 cash prize, a trip to the Galapagos Islands and a year's worth of mentoring and internship opportunities. Called the 'Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer,' Wenger created her computer programs coded to "think like the human brain and then used them to locate mass malignancy in breast tissue samples." When asked about her plans for the future, Wenger said she intends to major in computer science and then attend medical school, attesting to the importance of technology in the medical profession. 

Photo credit:

Car culture and suburban sprawl create rifts in society, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less