The Breakthrough Junior Challenge has now announced its 2022 finalists. The science philanthropist Yuri Milner funds this global video competition, alongside the Breakthrough Prize and Breakthrough Initiatives, following through on his Giving Pledge, which has seen him commit a large portion of his wealth to the future of science.

The Breakthrough Junior Challenge aims to get students aged 13-18 to inspire each other and think creatively about complex scientific concepts. The contest has been running for eight years, and, as usual, this year’s finalists have brought an array of scientific ideas to life in engaging, imaginative ways.

Becoming a Breakthrough Junior Challenge Finalist

Every April, the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, the young people’s version of the Breakthrough Prize invites students to submit videos that demonstrate their ability to communicate challenging concepts or theories.

The judging process then comprises four phases. First, entrants partake in the Peer-to-Peer Review, where they assess at least five other entrants’ videos. This process whittles the shortlist down to 75 videos, and the judges assess these in the Evaluation Panel Review. During this process, they judge the videos based on their engagement, illumination, creativity, and difficulty.

Next up, the public votes for their favorite videos via social media during the Popular Vote. The entrant who generates the most positive social media interactions in each region becomes a Regional Champion, and the overall Popular Vote winner skips the next round of judging, moving straight to the final.

The 2022 Popular Vote has now officially ended, and the judges have moved into the Selection Committee Review. Judges are now scoring the finalists selected by the Evaluation Panel. The Selection Committee will choose up to five entries for final consideration alongside the winner of the Popular Vote.

Incredible Prizes and the November Winner Announcement

These finalists will be in with a chance of winning incredible prizes in November. This year’s winner will receive a $250,000 post-secondary scholarship, a $50,000 prize for their teacher, and a $100,000 Breakthrough Science Lab for their school.

Yuri Milner funds these prizes, much like it funds the impressive Breakthrough Prize: $3 million and a trophy for scientists who have paved the way for monumental developments in mathematics, the life sciences, and fundamental physics.

2022 Breakthrough Junior Challenge Finalists

In line with the aspirations of Julia and Yuri Milner’s Giving Pledge, this year’s challenge gives incredible opportunities to talented young students. 16 students from across the globe are now official finalists. Their entries cover a range of theories and concepts in the life sciences, physics, and mathematics.

Some of these finalists include:

  • Yunseo Ha, aged 15, focused her 90-second video on quantum superposition. She explained how the quantum world shows how intrinsically diverse our universe is.
  • Alex Kader, aged 16, defined the muon — as an elementary particle, slightly larger than the electron, that possesses a property known as spin.
  • Sean Lewis, aged 18, explored the cosmos, determining where in the universe (if anywhere) we have the potential for silicon life. Although there isn’t yet a conclusive answer, Sean remarked that, as is the case for many things in science, “we’ll just have to keep looking.”

Funding the Future of Science

Through their commitment to fulfill their Giving Pledge, Julia and Yuri Milner contribute funding to the future of scientific discovery and competitions like the Breakthrough Prize and the Breakthrough Junior Challenge. These competitions inspire new generations of scientists and bring key science-related questions into the public consciousness.

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