The 16-year-old Allen student is one of 30 semi-finalists out of thousands of applicants from around the world in the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, an annual competition that encourages students to think creatively about science.
Homeschooled, double-credited sophomore Alexander Kader created an original science video and nominated him for a prize worth $400,000, including a college scholarship.
The Breakthrough Junior Challenge Video Contest encourages students to create engaging and imaginative videos that demonstrate difficult scientific concepts.
“Think: Steven Spielberg meets Albert Einstein,” contest spokeswoman Ra’Nasia Sangster said in an email.
Kader’s video focuses on rocking muons and what it means for the future of science. Muons, known as particles slightly larger than electrons, spin at imperfect speeds and wobble as they spin, Sangster said.
Kader said he was “thrilled, delighted, thrilled” to be selected as a semi-finalist.
“This is an amazing challenge with great opportunities,” he said.
Kader said he became interested in the topic months before he started working on the project.
“I was watching some videos and came across one titled ‘Biggest breakthrough in physics in 2021’. One of the topics mentioned was the muon g-2 experiment. ‘ he said. “I remembered an article I had read earlier and delved deeper into the subject before settling on this topic for the video.”
Kader said creating the video was “a long and arduous task.”
“I easily spent over 120 hours making videos in a month,” he said.
Kader began learning creative programming three years ago when his mother showed him how to use Photoshop to design t-shirts for a competition held by his robotic team.
From there, I taught myself how to use the various software programs in the Adobe Creative Suite and learned film editing in Filmora before moving on to more advanced programs.
“For this video I used DaVinci Resolve, Photoshop and After Effects. , which acted as a draft for the video,” he said. “Then we unplanned and completely rewrote the script before adding the finished effects.
“Facts: My standard model animation took four full days to create and I almost never use it.”
What are your teenage college plans? Kader is interested in science, but he says he wants to go to engineering school and get a law degree.
Videos of the 30 semi-finalists have been posted on YouTube and Facebook, and you can vote for the winner in the popular vote challenge until midnight today (September 20th).
Entries include students from the United States, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, India, Iraq, New Zealand, Philippines, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
The top 15 videos will be judged by a selection panel of physicists, scientists, academics and astronauts. The winner of the $250,000 scholarship will be announced in his November.
The winning science teacher will also receive $50,000, and the winning school will receive a $100,000 state-of-the-art science lab.