Besting more than 6000 entries from 146 countries, the Philippines’ Hillary Diane Andales bagged one of the coveted top 30 spots as a semifinalist in the prestigious Breakthrough Junior Challenge, the Department of Science and Technology said on Thursday.
To secure a place in the final 6, the entry needs to garner the most Facebook likes and shares before 3 p.m., November 10 (Philippine Time). Votes for this entry should be cast this official link: https://www.facebook.com/Break throughPrize/videos/1406243266 067692/.
The DoST said a Grade 11 student of Philippine Science High School—Eastern Visayas Campus, Andales submitted a video entry explaining an advanced Physics concept called “Feynman’s Path Integrals.”
She related it to simpler concepts and ordinary human life in order to encourage understanding even to the average person.
The DoST said the video has caught the attention of former Harvard University assistant professor and esteemed String Theorist Lubos Motl. In his popular physics blog, he lauds the entry saying: “Andales of the Philippines and her musings about the path integral could be my winner.”
“She sees some true scientific beauty behind the physical concept and that she has articulated her ideas and feelings about it herself—while many others are just repeating things that have been aired in popular programs many times,” Motl adds.
The sole winner of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge will be flown to the United States to accept the award along with a $250,000 scholarship, a $100,000 science lab for the winner’s school, and a $50,000 award for the winner’s teacher.
As a campus ruined by typhoon ‘‘Haiyan’’ (‘‘Yolanda’’) in 2013, this feat is a manifestation that Andales is not only resilient but also creative, inventive and innovative, and this possible new lab will surely help produce more scientists in the country,” Dr. Reynaldo Garnace, EVC director said.
The Breakthrough Junior Challenge was launched in order to showcase the scientific knowledge of the world’s young leaders in development, and also to promote science awareness among the general public.
The entrants must display exemplary skills in science communication and be able to simplify complex ideas into basic terms. Their videos are evaluated based on four criteria: Creativity, Difficulty, Engagement, and Illumination.
“I hope that this becomes a chance for the people especially Filipinos worldwide to unite and support a Pinoy representative to the world stage, just like how we always did with our beauty royalties and boxers. This could prove to the world that we’re also competitive even in science and technology,” Andales said.