Out of thousands of submissions, freshman Yash Kadadi was chosen as a finalist in a competition sponsored by Bill Gates for his explanation of a complex physics concept.
“I’ve been interested in math and science from a very young age,” said Yash Kadadi, a freshman at The Westminster Schools in Buckhead who has been on his schools’ robotics teams since elementary school.
The contest required Yash to create a short video explaining a complex physics concept in simple terms.
More than 11,000 students from 178 countries registered for the global competition, Westminster said in a press release. Yash’s video on the Higgs Field was selected as one of the 15 finalists.
The Breakthrough Prize Foundation, which organized the STEM competition, was created by the founders of Google and Facebook. Winners were chosen based on their ability to explain complex scientific ideas in “engaging, illuminating and imaginative ways” in a video, according to a Westminster press release.
Yash decided to tackle the Higgs field, a concept in physics, in his video.
“The Higgs field is basically an energy field that basically gives particles, like your electrons, your protons, mass. They get their mass from interacting with it,” he said.
Yash picked this concept because many people are still largely unaware of it. Solid proof of the Higgs field was not discovered until 2013.
“I tried to think of things that were still kind of new in the public’s eyes,” he said.
To explain the concept, he used a Harry Potter analogy in the video.
“I decided on Harry Potter because it’s something a lot of people know, especially kids,” Yash said.
People with the competition judged the submissions based on categories including engagement, illumination, difficulty, and creativity.
His video was then sent to the popular vote section, where he got enough “likes” to move onto the semi-finals before being selected as a finalist.
“I never thought I’d do that well,” he said.
All of his filming was done in Westminster’s STEAM Lab with the help of one of his teachers, Tim Shabanowitc, who coached Yash in robotics and was his architecture teacher in middle school. Shabanowitc offered him space, equipment and props for the video.
“He has a drive to lead and excel in anything he puts his mind to, and has a knack for making concepts relatable to anyone,” Shabanowitc said. “So when he came to me with his idea for the competition, I knew that he was going to do a fantastic job with it and I helped him any way I could. In the end, he was able to take the complex concept of the Higgs field and make it relatable to others, and he taught me a little bit about Harry Potter, a win-win.”
Although he did not win the competition overall, Yash was still grateful for the experience, and hopes to enter it again.
“If I was able to get that far once, with this information I think it’s definitely possible that I could possibly win,” he said.
Although his video demonstrated a physics concept, Yash said all of science is his passion.
“I think all of science is very interesting, and it’s very important to see how the world works,” he said.
Yash is considering entering the Breakthrough Junior Challenge again and to continue his work on the school’s robotics team this year.
This article was written and reported by Sarah Kallis, a student at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School.
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