Sixteen-year old Samay Godika, a city school student, will receive $400,000 in educational prizes for himself, his teacher and his school, as he emerged winner in the fourth annual “Breakthrough Junior Challenge”, a global science video competition.
The US-based Breakthrough Prize announced Mr Godika, a junior at the National Public School-Koramangala in Bengaluru, as the winner of this year’s ‘Breakthrough Junior Challenge’ for his video submitted in the life sciences category on circadian rhythms, which are physical, mental, and behavioural changes that follow a daily cycle.
Breakthrough Junior Challenge is a global science video competition designed to inspire creative thinking about fundamental concepts in the life sciences, physics, and mathematics.
“As the winner, Samay will receive $400,000 (approx Rs. 2.92 crore) in educational prizes for himself, his teacher and his school,” Breakthrough Prize said in a release posted on its website Sunday.
Samay will receive a $250,000 college scholarship while his ninth and tenth grade science teacher Pramila Menon will get $50,000 prize. Additionally,his school will receive a state-of-the-art science lab valued at $100,000.
Ms Menon had encouraged his interest in life sciences and tutored him after school to encourage his curiosity about scientific ideas.
Recognising him as a Boston native who now lives in India, Breakthrough said, Samay’s video, submitted in the life sciences category, focused on circadian rhythms, the 24-hour biological processes that can affect simple daily experiences such as waking up for school or jet lag.
Because he has family members who suffer from Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases, Samay is particularly interested in the correlation between circadian rhythms and the effectiveness of medical treatments, it added.
“Participating in and now winning the Breakthrough Junior Challenge is life-changing, thrilling and such an honor… I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be recognised alongside so many of the world’s top scientists and tech industry leaders,” Samay said.
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 and engage the imagination and interest of the public-at-large in key concepts of fundamental science, it said.
Samay Godika was among the three Indians out of the 15 finalists of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge.