In November 2o17, Samay Godika’s video explaining the Circadian Rhytym took maximum votes and he won the Popular Vote contest. However, this year, though a video by Nikhiya Shamsher won the Popular Vote, Samay’s video cracked the Breakthrough Junior Challenge….and this November 10th, was awarded as Winner of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge.
Samay Godika, 16 years old, is a student of National Public School in Koramangala, Bangalore. He is a US National, born in Boston, Massachusetts. His father Salil Godika, co-founder of Happiest Minds, is an alumni of St Paul’s School, Udaipur. Salil is from the 1989 batch, but he had left school before his 12th grade. Salil is himself an MTech and has over 20 years of IT experience under his belt. He has been a speaker at various national and global forums. This skill set of Salil has well drilled down to his prodigal son, Samay Godika.
Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences, Fundamental Physics and Mathematics were presented on November 10, in a grand ceremony at NASA’s Hangar 1 in Mountain View, California. Lionel Richie and GEM gave live performances in a ceremony that was anchored by Pierce Brosnan. The awards were given by Mark Zuckerberg and Lupita Nyong’o; Lucy Hawking and Sergey Brin; Ron Howard and Susan Wojcicki; Rachel McAdams and Daniel Schulman, Orlando Bloom and Anne Wojcicki, Julianne Moore and Priscilla Chan and Thandie Newton and Dara Khosrowshahi. Julia Milner and G.E.M. awarded the Breakthrough Junior Challenge prize, and Eddie Redmayne, Yuri Milner and Lucy Hawking presented a tribute to Stephen Hawking. The event was produced by Vanity Fair and Don Mischer Productions and broadcast live on television and social media.
Samay’s effort has landed him the Breakthrough Junior Prize, where he gets prize money of USD 400,000, of which USD 250,000 is his post-secondary scholarship, USD 50,000 goes as a prize to his teacher and mentor, who in this case was Pramila Menon and the remaining USD 100,000 goes to his school, National Public School, Bangalore, towards setting up a Breakthrough Science Lab, probably the first in Indian schools. Total prize money nearing Rs 2.9 Crore. Samay took the prize after 16 videos were contemplated by the jury in the finals.
“Participating and winning in the Breakthrough Challenge is life-changing, thrilling and an honor. It is surreal that this has happened and I am very happy. I am grateful to be recognised alongside so many scientists and tech industry leaders…” – Samay Godika
About Breakthrough Challenge
A global initiative to develop and demonstrate young people’s knowledge of science and scientific principles, The Breakthrough Challenge has, since its launch, reached 190 countries. More than 12,000 students in the age band of 13-18 registered for this years challenge. Aim of the Breakthrough Challenge is to generate excitement in science and mathematics; support STEM career choices; and engage the imagination and interest of the public-at-large in key concepts of fundamental science.
This year, the field was reduced to 29 semifinalists, whose work was reviewed first at the peer level and then, evaluation by a panel of judges.Judges evaluated the submissions in terms of their ability to complex scientific ideas in illuminating, engaging and imaginative ways. The videos needed to be upto 3 minutes in length, illustrating a theory in physical or life sciences.