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Winners of the 2019 UNSW Bragg Prize announced

Are fertility tracking apps backed by science? Does automation really make us safer? Are we ready for driverless cars?

These are the fascinating and timely questions explored in the winning essays of this year’s UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing.

High school students around Australia were invited to submit 800-word essays in response to the 2019 theme: “Not-so-smart technology”, identifying and discussing a problem in our world that is yet to be solved by contemporary science and technology.

“The quality of writing in this year’s competition was exceptional – from the limits of AI to replacing teachers with robots and technology for people with dementia, young writers explored what technology means to them and how the rapid rise of tech is still leaving unexplored problems to solve,” says Heather Catchpole, one of the 2019 judges and head of content at Refraction Media, which publishes Careers with STEM.

“The judges were impressed with the subject choice, creativity and journalistic capability of all of the entries.” Three winning essays were selected from dozens of high calibre entries.

Here are the winners of the 2019 UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing:

WINNER: The science (or lack thereof) behind period and fertility trackers

Arwyn Stone (Year 9, Abbotsleigh, NSW) questions the science behind increasingly popular fertility tracking apps. Read her winning essay in full here.

RUNNER UP: Errare humanum est (To err is human)

William Flintoft (Year 10, Melbourne Grammar School, Vic) explores our increasing reliance on automation and Artifical Intelligence. Read his essay in full here.

RUNNER UP: Driverless cars: are we there yet?

Phoebe Adam (Year 8, Presbyterian Ladies College Croydon, NSW) , punctures some of the hype around driverless car technology. Read her essay in full here.

An initiative of UNSW PressUNSW Science and Refraction Media, the Bragg Prize is designed to encourage and celebrate the next generation of science writers, researchers and leaders.

The Bragg Prizes are named for Australia’s very first Nobel Laureates, the father-and-son team of William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg.

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