Competing with 12,000 applicants in the ongoing Breakthrough Junior Challenge, three Indian teenagers Nikhiya Shamsher (16) and Samay Godika (16) from Bengaluru, and Kavya Negi (18) from Delhi have made it to the top 15.
A global science competition dedicated to science and mathematics, the platform allows teenagers to participate through engaging and imaginative videos that demonstrate difficult scientific concepts and theories in the physical or life sciences.
The winner of the competition will walk away with a $250,000 college scholarship and their mentor will receive $50,000. The winner's school will also receive a state-of-the-art science lab worth $100,000, said The Hindu.
Bengaluru-based Nikhiya won the popular vote contest with 25,000 likes, shares and positive reactions for her video on space time and gravity. With this win, she directly makes it to the final round. Her video is based on a salivary diagnostic test for chronic smokers to detect the risk of oral cancer.
In a conversation with The Quint, she said,
I conducted my study at IISC, Bengaluru and my diagnostic test has an accuracy of 96 percent. It's a simple product that a person can use at home and one test costs less than 50 cents.
Participant Kavya’s video speaks of Hawking Radiation, which is a very feeble emission of particles near the event horizon of a black hole caused when virtual particles (created near the event horizon) escape. The 18-year-old is aspiring to be a Physics researcher as well as a science communicator.
I have been able to explain not just Hawking Radiation but also black hole explosion in three minutes.
Samay, an 11th grader, is participating in the contest with his project on Circadian rhythm.
I first heard about the Circadian rhythm when it was in the news as the 2017 Nobel Prize winning topic in Medicine. I zeroed in on this topic as it seemed to impact many facets of daily lives, including things like my asthma, the difficulty I face getting up early in the morning, etc, he said.
The challenge has so far seen participation from 190 countries. The contest is designed to inspire creative thinking about fundamental concepts in the life sciences, physics, and mathematics. The participants went through two rounds of judging: first, a mandatory peer review, followed by an evaluation panel of judges, Breakthrough said.