A High-School Student Won $250,000 For This Incredible Explanation of Relativity

The German physicist Albert Einstein needed complex equations to describe his theory of relativity, but 18-year-old Hillary Diane Andales of the Philippines does just fine with a pick-up truck, a few cell phones, and Usain Bolt.

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Andales is the winner of the 2017 Breakthrough Junior Challenge, an annual competition that calls on teenagers across the world to submit videos no longer than three minutes that simplify big ideas in science or maths. For her win, Andales took home the grand prize of $US250,000 in scholarship money.

Her winning video was entitled "Relativity & The Equivalence of Reference Frames". It began by displaying a sideways number, which you could interpret as either a "6" or a "9" depending on which way you turned your head.

The perspective you take, Andales noted, determines your reference frame. Reference frames are fundamental to relativity because observers perceive things differently if they're in different locations, she explained. Andales demonstrated this by recruiting three of her friends to record the sound a pickup truck made as it drove down a road and honked the horn.

Watch the whole video below!


  1. Exactly and there seem to be some college professors who still don't seem to get it. This is fundamental to everything and why explanations of time are incorrectly described. Time is simply a measurement, but based on your own referenc frame.

    1. In our case, the reference frame for time measurement is gravity local to the surface of our planet.


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