I'm thinking of entering the Breakthrough Junior Challenge. It is a global science video contest in which participants have to explain a hard science/math topic in a 3 min video. Right now I'm debating on these topics on space exploration/astrophysics:

  • spacecraft propulsion (how it works with chemical fuels, or how it will theoretically work with antimatter or nuclear fuel)

  • gravitational time dilation (as an effect of relativity and how it works)

  • why the universe is expanding (explanation of dark energy, a possible cause)

  • solar wind (what it is, its effects - i.e. northern lights)

So, these are the topics I have in mind right now. I personally have no preference but I want a topic that won't take me forever to research on and that I can explain in 3 minutes, yet be sufficiently complex. Can someone please help me? Thanks.


2 Answers 2


Here's how I see it:

Spacecraft propulsion is an incredibly broad subject, and you might run into some issues when putting it into a 3 min video.

Gravitational time dilation is really a stroke of genius on Einstein's part, and has to do with some fairly complex 4D math to do with spacetime. Special relativity (time dilation due to velocity) on the other hand, is relatively easy to understand, with math that makes much more intuitive sense. That might be a better bet if you've only got 3 minutes.

Why the universe is expanding is a question that is currently unsolved by modern physics. Possible explanations would be unproven speculations, which might not get you a very good score.

Solar wind is a pretty good topic. It has to do with a lot of physics that's probably the right complexity desired, and it's likely that your video would be unique.

Hope this is somewhat helpful! I wrote a paper about black hole physics in 5th grade, and it's really fun to see people who want to take up the same hobby.


^ Propulsion is too broad to cover in 3 minutes. Picking a specific process or system in propulsion (such as injectors) may be a possibility but, now you're running with a topic that is seemingly irrelevant against competitors.

If your goal is to explain as much as possible, solar winds is the route. Solar radiation can be summed up in a few sentences.

Your most competitive stance is to explain space-time dialation. This topic will allow you to introduce trivial topics like special relativity transformations and get into the bigger picture stuff such as the need for a quantized gravity. Fermilab on youtube has some elementary videos which can get you started.


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