By Elton Gomes
Samay Godika, a teenager from Bengaluru, has been named as the winner of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, a global science video competition. Godika will be taking away a prize of $400,000 (over Rs 2.9 crore).
Godika will be receiving a college scholarship worth $250,000 (over Rs 1.8 crore), while his science teacher, Pramila Menon, will take away a $50,000 (over Rs 36 lakh) prize. Menon mentored Godika and has tutored him after school to support his curiosity about science and its various concepts.
In winning the video competition, Godika’s school will also receive a state-of-the-art science laboratory, which is valued at $100,000 (over Rs 72 lakh).
What is the competition about?
The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is a global science video competition. It has been designed to provide an impetus to creative thinking about fundamental concepts in the life sciences, physics, and mathematics.
Students between the ages of 13 and 18 years are invited to create original videos that elaborate or illustrate a concept or a theory in the physical or life sciences. The video should be up to three minutes in duration.
Submissions from all around the world are assessed on the students’ ability to portray complex scientific ideas in the most engaging, illuminating, and imaginative ways.
Since its launch, the competition has existed in around 190 countries. The 2018 installment of the global competition attracted more than 12,000 registrants, a media release said.
Godika elaborated on the circadian rhythms
Godika decided to focus on circadian rhythms in his video submission. Circadian rhythms refer to the 24-hour biological processes that can affect simple daily experiences such as waking up for school or jet lag.
As Godika has family members who suffer from Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases, he was particularly interested in the correlation between circadian rhythms and the effectiveness of medical treatments.
Godika’s submission was included in the Life Sciences category, and it broke down the concept of circadian rhythms. Godika first heard about the term circadian rhythm after it became 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 told PTI.
Godika said further, “Our brain seems to be the most complex system in this world, and the least understood. I am interested in building a solid foundation in this area. In parallel, I would also like to pursue a programme that allows me to formally learn Data Sciences.”
In the 2017 edition of the competition, Godika had won the Popular Vote contest. “I didn’t win last year, but I came back this year, and I am fortunate to be here,” he told Bangalore Mirror.
Another Bengaluru student wins
Another student from Bengaluru, Nikhiya Shamsher won the Popular Vote award in this year’s edition of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge competition. Sixteen-year-old Nikhiya is currently studying at Greenwood High School, Bengaluru. Her video on space-time and gravity received more than 25,000 likes, shares, and positive reactions on the Breakthrough Facebook page.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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