Calling All Students Ages 13-18 Years Old To Participate In Global Science And Math Video Contest

Breakthrough Junior Challenge Returns for Third Year

$400,000 in educational prizes to be awarded for a student video that brings scientific or mathematical ideas to life

AUGUST 31, 2017 – San Francisco – The Breakthrough Prize Foundation announced today the launch of its third annual Breakthrough Junior Challenge, a global student science and mathematics competition designed to inspire creative thinking about fundamental concepts in the life sciences, physics or mathematics.

“The Breakthrough Junior Challenge gives young people a chance to share their knowledge of math and science in a fun and creative way,” said Breakthrough Prize co-founder, Dr. Priscilla Chan. “When you share the things that truly inspire you, you inspire others to want to learn more. That’s what makes this challenge so special. Every student involved helps us build a movement towards a better future for science.”

Students ages 13 to 18 from countries across the globe are invited to create original videos (up to three minutes in length) that illustrate a concept or theory in the life sciences, physics or mathematics. The submissions will be judged on the students’ ability to communicate complex scientific ideas in the most engaging, illuminating, and imaginative ways. The deadline for submissions is October 1, 2017. Students must register to participate at

One winner will be recognized and awarded a $250,000 scholarship. The science teacher who inspired the winning student will win $50,000. The winner’s school will also receive a state-of-the art science lab valued at $100,000.

A video from Jason Silva, television host, filmmaker, and member of the 2017 Breakthrough Junior Challenge Selection Committee, recorded a video for the Challenge, which can be viewed here: Silva is an Emmy-nominated and world-renowned TV personality, storyteller, filmmaker, and sought-after keynote speaker and futurist.

This year, the Breakthrough Junior Challenge will incorporate a regional element to its Popular Vote contest, to be held on Monday, October 23, through Thursday, November 2. The Popular Vote contest will occur on the Breakthrough Facebook page, and will be a separate challenge within the larger competition, with selected videos vying for automatic entry to the final round.

For the Popular Vote contest, 30 videos will be displayed on the Breakthrough Facebook page. They will include the two top-scoring submissions from each of the 8 Geographic Regions (see list below), as well as remaining top-scoring videos from the Evaluation Panel judging review.

People from around the world will have a chance to vote for their favorite overall video in the contest, as well as their favorite video in their own region. The eight regions are: North America (US / Canada), Central America / Mexico / Caribbean, South America, Europe, Asia (including China), India, Middle East / Africa, Australia / New Zealand.

The video with the highest number of combined “Likes,” positive reactions, (Love, Haha, Wow) and “Shares” will be declared top scorer in the 2017 Popular Vote Challenge. The top scorer will receive automatic placement into the finalist round, bypassing the next round of judging and entering the running for overall Challenge winner.

Last year’s Breakthrough Junior Challenge resulted in a tie score, and two young women from two different parts of the world were recognized – Antonella Masini, 18, from Peru, and Deanna See, 17, from Singapore.

Antonella’s video, submitted in the physics category, focused on quantum entanglement. Deanna’s life sciences video, titled “Superbugs! And Our Race against Resistance,” tackled antibiotic resistance.

In 2016, more than 6,000 students from 146 countries registered for the competition.

As in previous years, the 2017 Breakthrough Junior Challenge winner will be recognized at the Breakthrough Prize awards ceremony in Silicon Valley in early December. The winning student and his or her teacher will be announced and the first-place film will be presented during a nationally televised show, details of which will be announced at a later date.

The short-listed video submissions will be reviewed by Breakthrough Prize laureates and other leaders in science, technology, and education. In addition to creating and producing their own video entries, students will also have the opportunity to participate in the peer-to-peer scoring of fellow students’ submissions.

“The winning video has the potential to reach millions of people,” said Khan Academy founder Sal Khan. “It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it could move an entire field forward.”

The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is funded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Yuri and Julia Milner, through the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, based on a grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s donor-advised fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and a grant from Milner Global Foundation.

The 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.

The Breakthrough Prize

The Breakthrough Prize was created to honor important advancements in the categories of Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences and Mathematics. The Breakthrough Prizes were founded by Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Yuri and Julia Milner, and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. The Breakthrough Prize aims to celebrate the best scientific work and inspire the next generation of scientists.

For more information on the Breakthrough Prizes:


The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was launched in December 2015 by Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician and founder and CEO of The Primary School in East Palo Alto. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is a new kind of philanthropic organization dedicated to advancing human potential and promoting equal opportunity through world class engineering, grantmaking, impact investing, policy, and advocacy work. Initial areas of focus include supporting science through basic biomedical research and education through personalized learning. CZI is also exploring ways to build stronger, more equitable communities through affordable housing and criminal justice reform.

About Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a nonprofit with a mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. We use intelligent software, data analytics, and intuitive user interfaces to help students and teachers around the world. Our resources cover math, biology, chemistry, physics, history, economics, finance, grammar, preschool learning, and more. Khan Academy offers free personalized SAT prep in partnership with the College Board, and we are the official practice partner for AP. We provide teachers with tools and data so they can help their students develop the skills, habits, and mindsets necessary for success in school and beyond. Khan Academy has been translated into dozens of languages, and 10 million people around the globe learn on Khan Academy each month. For more information, visit, join us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter at @khanacademy. And remember, you can learn anything.

The Breakthrough Prize Lab for the winning student’s school is designed by and in partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). Established in 1890, CSHL has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education. Its New York campus boasts 1100 faculty, students and employees and hosts over 12,000 visiting scientists each year for world-renowned conferences and courses. CSHL’s DNA Learning Center is the world’s largest provider of student lab instruction in molecular genetics and teacher training. Materials and methods developed by the DNA Learning Center are accessible for free through more than 20 award-winning educational websites. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a science policy think tank and a graduate program in biological sciences. Visit

The Breakthrough Junior Challenge has also partnered with National Geographic to help reach science and math enthusiasts, educators, and students around the globe. The National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society's commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission.


For more information, including competition rules, video submission guidelines and queries, go to:

For press inquiries only, please contact:
Janet Wootten, Direct: +1-212-843-8024
Kristen Bothwell, Direct: +1-212-843-9227