Jeddah student among semifinalists in fifth annual Breakthrough Junior Challenge

Deram Tamir Altabbaa has qualified for the final stages of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, a global science video contest. (Breakthrough Facebook)
Updated 12 September 2019

Jeddah student among semifinalists in fifth annual Breakthrough Junior Challenge

  • Deram Tamir Altabbaa found in biochemistry a world of endless opportunities and a key science that helps in developing the scientific and moral sides of humanity
  • Students worldwide were tasked to submit engaging, imaginative (and sometimes humorous) videos to demonstrate difficult scientific concepts and theories in the physical or life sciences

JEDDAH: Local student Deram Tamir Altabbaa is among 30 international semifinalists out of an original 11,000 entrants who is currently competing for $400,000 in prizes as part of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, a global science video contest.

Students worldwide were tasked to submit engaging, imaginative (and sometimes humorous) videos to demonstrate difficult scientific concepts and theories in the physical or life sciences. Think: Steven Spielberg meets Albert Einstein.

The grand prize winner will appear alongside world renowned scientists on stage at the Breakthrough Awards ceremony in Palo Alto, California, on Nov. 3.

The finalists’ videos are already up on Facebook, and the general public can vote for a people’s choice winner between now and September 20th.

View Deram Tamir Altabbaa’s video here:

https://www.facebook.com/BreakthroughPrize/videos/739377439843060/
Deram lives in Jeddah and is currently being homeschooled by his mother who he credits with teaching him everything he knows today, including his topic on Biochemical Regulations, the world of enzyme cascades and its negative feedback. Through his extensive research in biochemistry, he found that it is a world of endless opportunities and is a key science that helps in developing the scientific and moral sides of humanity.

Since its launch, the Breakthrough Junior Challenge has reached 199 countries, and the 2019 installment of the global competition attracted more than 11,000 registrants. The contest is designed to inspire fresh, creative explanations of fundamental concepts in the life sciences, physics and mathematics.

The Breakthrough Prize Foundation kicked off the ‘Popular Vote’ phase by posting all videos online on the Breakthrough Facebook page where people from around the world will have a chance to vote for their favorite video in the contest.

All 30 semifinalists will compete in the ‘Popular Vote’ contest, open until Friday, September 20 at 11:59 PM PT. The ‘Popular Vote’ invites the public to vote for their favorite semifinalist submission on the Breakthrough Facebook page. The video with the highest number of combined likes, positive reactions (e.g. “love”, “haha”, “wow”), and shares will be declared top scorer in the 2019 Popular Vote. The top scorer will progress automatically to the final round, bypassing the next round of judging and entering the running for overall Challenge winner.

In addition to creating and producing their own video entries, Challengers must also participate in a round of peer-to-peer assessment, in which they score some of their fellow competitors’ submissions.

On Saturday, September 21, the 15 finalists and the top scorer in the ‘Popular Vote’ will be revealed. The Popular Vote Top Scorer will receive automatic entry into the finalist round. Additionally, each of the seven geographic regions will have a top-scorer who will be named a Regional Champion.

The winner of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge will be announced at the internationally broadcast 2020 Breakthrough Prize ceremony live from Silicon Valley on November 3. The winner of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge will be awarded a $250,000 college scholarship. The science teacher who inspired the winning student will win a $50,000 prize. The winner’s school will also receive a state-of-the-art science lab valued at $100,000.

“The Breakthrough Junior Challenge highlights some of the most promising young scientists in the world,” said Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy. “The videos from the semifinalists will help students all over the globe learn about science. Peer-to-peer education helps reinforce classroom learning and helps level the playing field for students everywhere.”


Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Updated 26 May 2020

Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

  • Curfew to be eased on Sunday, except in Makkah, as domestic travel permitted
  • All curfews in Saudi Arabia to be lifted by June 20

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced the easing of restrictions that has halted much of the activity in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Sunday 31, May, the curfew on all areas of the Kingdom will be eased, except Makkah. Movement in cities and within the regions of the country will again be permitted, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The easing will mean the Kingdom’s 24-hour lockdown is relaxed with a curfew from 3 p.m to 6 a.m until Sunday, after which the hours will change to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.. Makkah will remain under a full 24-hour lockdown.

On June 21, all curfews in the Kingdom will be lifted and prayers at Makkah’s mosque will be permitted.

Before then, social distancing guidelines must continue to be adhered to and gatherings of more than 50 people will continue to be banned.

Authorities have also allowed the attendance at ministries, government agencies and private sector companies, and the return of their office activities.

Some economic and commercial activities will also be allowed to take place including those at wholesale and retail shops, as well as malls. Cafes will be permitted to operate once more.

However, all job sectors where social distancing rules are harder to achieve such as beauty salons, barbershops, sports and health clubs, recreational centers and cinemas will remain closed.

Umrah pilgrimage and international flights will continue to be suspended until further notice.

The new rules are subject to constant evaluation at the health ministry and can be changed if the situation warrants it.

Earlier, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the health minister, said: “The phases start gradually until we return to normalcy, with its new concept based on social distancing.” 

He added that the precautionary steps taken by the Kingdom early in the outbreak helped to limit the spread of the virus. 

Now, he said, the ministry has developed a plan for the next phase that relies on two main factors: The capacity of the health care system to cope with critical cases, and the expansion of testing to identify new infections as soon as possible.

Reassuring the Saudi nation on Monday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “The bad conditions will pass, God willing, and we are heading toward the good, God willing.” 

The Kingdom recorded 2,235 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total to 74,795, and the death toll rose by nine to 399. Worldwide the virus has infected more than 5.5 million people and killed nearly 350,000.