Odisha: Bhubaneswar student Apekshik Panigrahi in global competition to win $400,000 in prizes

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San Francisco: Bhubaneswar student Apekshik Panigrahi in global competition to win $400,000 in prizes. Apekshik is among 29 semifinalists of more than 12,000 original registrants from around the world who submitted engaging, imaginative (and sometimes humorous) videos to demonstrate difficult scientific concepts and theories in the physical or life sciences. Think: Steven Spielberg meets Albert Einstein.

The grand prize winner will take home $400K in prizes and appear alongside world renowned scientists on stage at the Breakthrough Awards ceremony in Palo Alto, California, in early November.

Apekshik’s video can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/oyss-egGSsI

The Breakthrough Prize today announced the top 29 student semifinalists in the fourth annual Breakthrough Junior Challenge, and kicked off the ‘Popular Vote’ portion of the global competition, posting all videos online on the Breakthrough Facebook page where people from around the world will have a chance to vote for their favorite video in the contest.

The 29 semifinalists represent the top submissions following a review by the Evaluation Panel. The group includes two top-scoring submissions from each of seven geographical regions (see list below) as well as remaining top-scoring videos from the panel’s review. The seven regions are: North America (US / Canada), Central America/Mexico/Caribbean/ South America, Europe, Asia (including China), India, Middle East/Africa, and Australia/New Zealand.

In total, the 29 semifinalists hail from all around the world, including the United States, France, India, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Belgium, Russian Federation, Cambodia, Saudi Arabia, and New Zealand.

Since its launch, the Breakthrough Junior Challenge has reached 190 countries, and the 2018 installment of the global competition attracted more than 12,000 registrants. The contest is designed to inspire creative thinking about fundamental concepts in the life sciences, physics, or mathematics.

All 29 semifinalists will compete in the ‘Popular Vote’ contest, open until Thursday, September 20 at 11:59 PM PT. The ‘Popular Vote’ contest invites the public to vote for their favorite semifinalist submission on the Breakthrough Facebook page. Votes can be cast by “liking,” “sharing,” or issuing a “positive reaction” to the videos on the official Breakthrough Prize Facebook page.

On Friday, September 21, the 15 finalists and the top scorer in the ‘Popular Vote’ challenge will be revealed. The Popular Vote Top Scorer will receive automatic entry into the finalist round. Additionally, each of the seven geographic regions will have a top-scorer who will be named a Regional Champion.

The 15 top-scoring finalist videos will be reviewed by the Selection Committee, comprised of: Salman Khan, CEO, Founder, Khan Academy; author and educator Lucy Hawking; Dr. Mae Jemison, science literacy expert, former astronaut, and Principal, 100 Year Starship; retired NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly; Nima Arkani-Hamed, Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Study and Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics Laureate; Rachel Crane, Space and Science Correspondent, CNN; Huda Zoghbi, Professor of Pediatrics and professor of Neuroscience and Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine and Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Laureate; Ijad Madisch, CEO, Co-Founder, ResearchGate; Jason Silva, National Geographic Channel Television Host, Filmmaker; Pete Worden, Chairman, Breakthrough Prize Foundation, Executive Director, Breakthrough Starshot; Esther Wojcicki, Founder, Palo Alto High Media Arts Center; and Terence Tao, Professor of Mathematics, UCLA and Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics Laureate.

The winner of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge will be announced at the internationally broadcast 2018 Breakthrough Prize ceremony live from Silicon Valley on November 4. The winner of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge will be awarded a $250,000 college scholarship. The science teacher who inspired the winning student will win a $50,000 prize. The winner’s school will also receive a state-of-the-art science lab valued at $100,000.

For the fourth year, students ages 13-18 were invited to create original videos (up to three minutes in length) that illustrated a concept or theory in the life sciences, physics or mathematics. The submissions were evaluated on the students’ ability to communicate complex scientific ideas in the most engaging, illuminating, and imaginative ways.

Breakthrough Junior Challenge is a global initiative to develop and demonstrate young people’s knowledge of science and scientific principles; generate excitement in these fields; support STEM career choices; and engage the imagination and interest of the public-at-large in key concepts of fundamental science.

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