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Yuri Milner’s 2023 Breakthrough Junior Challenge: Unveiling the Young Science Communicators of Tomorrow

Out of more than 2,400 young people who entered the 2023 Breakthrough Junior Challenge, 15 have made it to the final of the annual science competition. These students’ videos have successfully passed several judging stages. Now, a Selection Committee will review the videos, and the Challenge will crown an overall winner.

The Breakthrough Junior Challenge inspires creative thinking about science amongst young people. Yuri Milner, the competition’s founder, has also created the Breakthrough Prize and the Breakthrough Initiatives. These philanthropic projects support scientists, invest in fundamental research, and encourage scientific debate.

Creative Teenagers Prove Science Can Be Fun

Each year since 2015, the Breakthrough Junior Challenge has invited 13-to-18-year-olds to submit short, original videos about ideas from maths, physics, or the life sciences.

The more complex the concept the better, as long as the video explains the idea in a way that’s easy to understand. The videos must also be engaging and imaginative. As the video creators only have two minutes to communicate their topic, it’s a tall order.

But young people have consistently risen to the challenge. In the past, winning videos have explored concepts like quantum entanglement, neutrinos, and relativity. These videos have used animation, diagrams, and real-life simulations to breathe life into complicated subjects.

Celebrating Bright Young Minds From Around the Globe

As the Breakthrough Junior Challenge is a global competition, students from every country can enter. Past winners have come from the U.S., Canada, India, the Philippines, Mauritius, Singapore, and Peru. This year’s finalists hail from countries like Mexico, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

The judging process for the Breakthrough Junior Challenge involves a Peer-to-Peer Review, an Evaluation Panel Review, a Popular Vote, and a Selection Committee Review. In addition to producing a top scorer, the Popular Vote round of the competition also selects one regional champion from each of the seven geographic regions:

  • Europe
  • India
  • Asia
  • North America.
  • Central and South America.
  • Australia and New Zealand.
  • Africa and the Middle East.

The World’s Science Experts Will Help Choose a Winner

Members of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge’s Evaluation Panel and Selection Committee represent the best and brightest minds in the science arena.

The Evaluation Panel contains researchers, teachers, and professors from schools and universities around the world. Meanwhile, the Selection Committee includes two Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics laureates, current and former astronauts, and many other leading science scholars and researchers.

These science experts will help determine which of the competition entrants becomes the tenth Breakthrough Junior Challenge winner. The winner will receive a $250,000 scholarship for post-secondary education. The teacher who inspired the winning student also receives $50,000. Plus, the winner’s school receives a brand-new $100,000 science lab.

Read about the 2023 Breakthrough Junior Challenge finalists.

About Yuri Milner

Yuri Milner is an investor and philanthropist who has founded several ventures that support scientific progress. In 2012, he and his wife joined the Giving Pledge and established the Breakthrough Foundation to fund their charitable efforts.

Yuri Milner is a co-founder of the Breakthrough Prize, a major annual science award. Other Breakthrough Prize co-founders include Anne Wojcicki and Mark Zuckerberg.

Mark Zuckerberg is also a board member of one of Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Initiatives: Breakthrough Starshot. Yuri Milner launched the Breakthrough Initiatives in 2015 with Stephen Hawking. There are currently five Breakthrough Initiatives, including Breakthrough Listen, a research programme that seeks evidence of alien civilisations.

In 2021, Yuri Milner released Eureka Manifesto, a short book about humanity and our place in the Universe. In 2022, he founded the humanitarian initiative Tech For Refugees.