The Popular Vote stage of Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Junior Challenge, a worldwide science video competition for high school students, has now ended, and the contest has confirmed its 2022 finalists. The top scorer in the Popular Vote has joined the selection committee’s five additional top entries, and these finalists are now awaiting the announcement of the Challenge winner.
Here, we’ll explore the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, its Giving Pledge origins, and some of the 2022 finalists’ fantastic videos.
An Overview of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge
The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is a competition that invites high schoolers to bring a concept or theory in the fields of physics, mathematics, or the life sciences to life in video format. Winners of the Challenge receive amazing prizes, including a $250,000 college scholarship, $50,000 for a teacher who inspired them, and a $100,000 science lab built at their school.
To enter, students from the ages of 13 to 18 from countries across the globe must submit an original short film, one and a half minutes in length at most, describing a grand idea in science. The contest appraises submissions on the creator’s ability to communicate complicated ideas in creative and illuminating ways that make the concept fun and simple to follow.
The Breakthrough Junior Challenge provides a global platform for young people to demonstrate their skills in explaining scientific ideas to their peers and gain recognition for their efforts. In addition to an overall winner, each year, there are several regional champions from Asia, Australia and New Zealand, North America, Central, and South America, Europe, India, Africa, and the Middle East.
The Judging Process
Before videos reach the Popular Vote stage of the judging process, they must pass the Peer-to-Peer and Evaluation Panel Review stages. During the Popular Vote, people from all over the world take part in the judging process by voting on social media for their favorite entries.
The video with the highest Popular Vote score bypasses the next phase of judging, the Selection Committee Review, and goes straight to the final round. This year, that top-scoring video is all about life and entropy, and Croatia’s Ema Donev, age 14, is the creator. Ema is now in with a chance of securing the title of ultimate Challenge champion, and her submission will join five other finalists put forward by the selection committee for final consideration.
This year’s competition has included some fantastic videos that explain the advanced scientific subject matter. Alongside Ema, other 2022 finalists include Kyle Christian Cloma from the Philippines, discussing Gaussian curvature; Abel Dagne from the U.S., who explains noise cancellation; and Milo Shan from South Africa, with a video about GPS and time dilation.
Yuri Milner’s Giving Pledge
In 2012, Israeli technology investor, science philanthropist, and billionaire Yuri Milner and his wife Julia signed the Giving Pledge and, in doing so, dedicated more than half of their combined lifetime wealth to furthering scientific causes. The Milners’ Giving Pledge commitment has led to the launch of the Breakthrough Foundation, which annually organizes and funds the Breakthrough Junior Challenge.
The Breakthrough Foundation’s goals are to raise the status of scientists, spark the public’s interest in science, and inspire younger generations to get involved in scientific ideas. This third goal lies at the heart of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge.