This 18-year-old high school senior used popcorn, backyard props, and some slapstick humor to explain, in easy to understand terms, one of the most complex and world-changing scientific theories ever—Albert Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity.
Ryan Chester chuckled when he got the news his video had won the first ever Breakthrough Junior Challenge November 8—and the $400,000 prize that goes along with it.
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“When I got the call saying I won, (they) told me they got a lot of exceptional submissions, but I guess mine cracked them up,” Chester told USA Today.
Tech industry leaders created the Breakthrough Prize to honor the “breakthroughs of the year” by awarding $4 million worth of prizes to scientists. The Khan Academy, a nonprofit online classroom founded by Salman Kahn that provides world-class education for people everywhere, partnered with the Breakthrough Prize this year for the award aimed at teens.
Khan says Chester’s “personality and humor” made the dense scientific theory approachable.
Chester’s prize money is divided between him and his school, The teen gets $250,000 for college, his physics teacher receives $50,000 for inspiring him, and the remaining $100,000 will go toward a new science lab at his San Francisco, California high school.
(WATCH Ryan Chester’s YouTube video below and READ more at USA Today)