Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc2, has become an icon for the world’s fascination with science. But how many of us really know what it means? It turns out that very few people actually do. But this brilliant teenager not only understands Einstein’s special theory of relativity, he can also explain it.
For the 100th anniversary of the publication of Einstein’s general theory in 1915, the Khan Academy’s ‘Breakthrough Junior Challenge‘ asked teenagers around the world to explain to the rest of us the meaning of E = mc2.
“The Breakthrough Junior Challenge – funded by a grant from Mark Zuckerberg’s fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and a grant from Milner Global Foundation, and presented in partnership with the Khan Academy – invited young people, ages 13-to-18, to create short videos that communicated big ideas in the life sciences, physics and math. The contest received more than 2,000 applications from 86 countries.” [Source]
Winning an incredible $400,000 prize, 18 year-old Ryan Chester of North Royalton, Ohio, took first place. He won the junior challenge with an incredible seven and a half-minute home-produced video entitled, “Some Cool Ways of to Understand the Special Theory of Relativity and What It Means About Time.”
“Special Relativity has got to rank up there with one of the most revolutionary theories in physics. I’ve seen it referenced in science books and magazines for years. It was always mentioned in relationship to the idea that you can travel forward in time if you just move fast enough. Time dilation has been in science TV shows and movies like Interstellar so often that I’ve just accepted it without understanding why it was true. So when this challenge came around I thought this area was a great one to dig into.” –Ryan Chester
Of the enormous prize, Ryan plans to give $50,000 to his teacher Richard Nestoff. Additionally, he plans to give an impressive $100,000 to his school to fund a new science lab. The remaining $250,000 will go towards a scholarship.