This year’s Breakthrough Junior Challenge is currently approaching the final selection stage as finalists wait to hear who is the 2022 Champion of Yuri Milner’s video competition for science students around the world. The science philanthropist and technology investor is also the thought leader behind the Breakthrough Prize and the Breakthrough Initiatives.
The Challenge inspires young, aspiring scientists to engage with their peers on a global scale, promoting conversations about important science questions so these stay at the forefront of public consciousness. Students aged 13-18 can enter videos of up to 90 seconds that discuss a topic in the areas of mathematics, the life sciences, or physics.
The Breakthrough Junior Challenge’s Roots and Aims
Following the success of the Breakthrough Prize, Julia and Yuri Milner launched the Breakthrough Junior Challenge for young people in 2015 with funding from Julia and Yuri Milner to fulfill their Giving Pledge. Through this contest, they provide a global, educational opportunity that unites teenagers who are passionate about science.
Young people can be particularly good at explaining ideas to their peers in a way they can relate to, and this is a mission that the Breakthrough Junior Challenge encourages.
How the Judges Select a Winner
There are four selection stages that participants must progress through to have a chance of becoming the Breakthrough Junior Challenge winner: the Peer-to-Peer Review, the Evaluation Panel Review, the Popular Vote, and the Selection Committee Review.
The first selection stage requires contestants to review at least five of their fellow contestants’ videos. The next round sees a panel review of the 75 entries that made it through the first stage. The panel scores the videos on their creativity, difficulty, engagement, and illumination. For the third selection stage, the public watches and votes for their favorite video on Facebook or YouTube. There is a Popular Vote winner from each region, representing the seven eligible regions. The overall Popular Vote winner bypasses the Selection Committee Review, which sees judges select an additional five contestants to go through to the final.
The Challenge is currently in the Selection Committee Review, and finalists are awaiting the November winner announcement.
Prizes Worth $400,000
The contestants also have the chance of winning prizes that total $400,000. These prizes include a post-secondary scholarship for the winner worth $250,000, $50,000 awarded to the winning student’s nominated teacher, and a $100,000 science lab installed at the student’s school.
These prizes are possible thanks to the funding from Yuri and Julia Milner’s continued support which they detailed in their Giving Pledge. Through this Pledge, they have agreed to contribute a large amount of their lifetime wealth to fund their ongoing vision for the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, not to mention the Breakthrough Prize and the Breakthrough Initiatives.
This Year’s Competing Finalists
This year, there are 23 finalists: 7 are the regional Popular Vote winners, and the judges will whittle the remaining 16 down to 5 after the Selection Committee Review. The finalists are from the USA, Philippines, Iraq, South Africa, Croatia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Popular Vote winners include Abel Dagne, North America; Aditya Kumar, South Africa; Arnav Sawant, India; Ema Donev, Croatia; Jasmine Glennie, New Zealand; Josefina Vivanco Forster, Chile; and Kyle Christian Cloma, the Philippines. Ema Donev was the overall top scorer for her life and entropy video.
Inspiring the Minds of Tomorrow
Although the Breakthrough Junior Challenge can only choose one winner, all participants can enjoy and benefit from the many thought-provoking videos that the Challenge inspires. Through Julia and Yuri Milner’s financial contributions, made in the spirit of their 2012 Giving Pledge, the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, Breakthrough Prize, and Breakthrough Initiatives can continue inspiring the minds of tomorrow.