WALLINGFORD — Blending his love for animation and astrophysics, a 17-year old is one of 30 students from around the world selected as a semifinalist in a global science video contest.
HP Park, a student at Choate Rosemary Hall, is competing in The Breakthrough Junior Challenge, a contest in which students from around the world submit a video explaining difficult scientific concepts and theories in physical or life sciences. It is the third year that Park has participated. Last year he made it to the final round. Park, who is from Seoul, South Korea, said he updates his parents back home.
“They’re very enthusiastic about the target and that I got this far,” Park said. “Since I made it this far again this year, they are very excited once again.”
The public voted for their favorite semifinalist video on Facebook until Friday. The top 15 students chosen will be named finalists and the winner, chosen by judges, will be announced in November.
The winner will receive a $250,000 scholarship, $50,000 for a teacher that helped with the project, and $100,000 for a science lab or building for the school or community.
Ben Small, who was Park’s science advisor last year at the private school, said it was exciting for him to see a student pursue his own interests beyond the classroom.
“The beauty of it is that (Park) combined the creativity of animation along with the science behind it and explained a pretty complex concept in a way that anybody can understand,” Small said.
Park made a video explaining the Chariklo 10199 asteroid because it was the very first known “centaur minor planet” to have rings. Creating the video took about three weeks and the research took about four months. The end result was a 3-minute video.
“It was a lot of trial and error,” Park said. “Since making each simulation takes time, especially if there are more things to calculate, sometimes it can take hours to just get the results.”
Despite the challenges of balancing school work and the science project, Park was excited that the contest allowed him to do research on a topic that he wanted to learn about and use a medium he enjoys. Park said through the use of computer animation and video production he had the total freedom to create anything he wanted.
“The contest feels like it was designed for me,” Park said. “It combines the two elements that I enjoy the most.”