Organized by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, a science competition that enables students aged 13-18 to enter engaging and illuminating short videos on scientific concepts that interest them most, is now in the final stages of its 2022 judging process. The technology investor Yuri Milner and his wife Julia established the Breakthrough Junior Challenge as part of their Giving Pledge, in which they pledged to support science in its current and future developments.
A Total of $400K in Challenge Prizes
The annual video competition offers competing students the chance of winning three fantastic prizes: a $250,000 post-secondary scholarship, $50,000 for one of the winning student’s teachers, and a $100,000 science lab. Constructed at the winning student’s school, this lab provides the winner’s fellow students with up-to-date science facilities so they can learn and excel.
The wider education space benefits too: Thanks to the interest and engagement this competition creates each year, high school students from seven regions around the world share their scientific interests and learn from each other.
Entering the Breakthrough Junior Challenge
Operating on a global scale, the Breakthrough Junior Challenge welcomes video submissions of no more than one and a half minutes that deliver on any concept or theory in the life sciences, physics, or mathematics. It’s like science class meets TikTok and allows students to get creative and enthused about a concept they particularly enjoy or thoroughly understand.
Selecting The Winner of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge
Students who compete in the Breakthrough Junior Challenge undergo a series of judging and voting rounds. First, they engage in a Peer-to-Peer Review, in which each competing student must review and score at least five other videos. Then, scholars and science leaders select the 75 videos that best fit the judging criteria in an Evaluation Panel Review.
From here, the Breakthrough Prize Foundation invites the public to select their favorite videos in the Popular Vote process. Finally, a Selection Committee chooses up to five finalists to proceed to the final round of the competition alongside the Popular Vote winner(s). The 2022 competition is now in this stage of the judging process.
The judges consider four criteria when assessing the videos. These criteria measure how engaging a video is, whether it illuminates the student’s chosen concept or theory, how creative the delivery of the subject matter is, and the level of difficulty concerning the concept or theory.
Past Breakthrough Junior Challenge Winners
Previous winners of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge include Amber Kwok from Mauritius, who won last year’s challenge with her video entry on Van der Waals and Casimir forces. Additionally, Gornekk Suwattanapong from Thailand received the 2021 Space Exploration Champion Award for his video on black holes and Einstein’s theory of relativity. The 2020 winner was Maryam Tsegaye from Canada for her video on quantum tunneling, and the 2019 Prize went to Jeffery Chen, from the U.S., who discussed neutrino astronomy.
Yuri Milner’s Giving Pledge and Breakthrough Prize Foundation
Julia and Yuri Milner demonstrate continued support in their contribution to scientific development and educational enrichment in line with their Giving Pledge, a philanthropic initiative that involves influential individuals donating part of their wealth to good causes.
To honor their Giving Pledge, the Milners launched the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, which powers the Breakthrough Junior Challenge. Every year, the Breakthrough Junior Challenge continues to inspire the next generation of scientific minds in the ongoing development of science and technology.