Meet Shruti Siva: One of Two DFW-Based Breakthrough Junior Challenge Semifinalists

Out of only 30 semifinalists in the world, this Addison student has managed to make it to the competition's "Popular Vote" stage.

In just three days, Addison student Shruti Siva created an educational video. Now, she’s in the running for a prestigious worldwide competition.

Shruti, 15, was inspired after watching video after video of kids explaining scientific concepts. She realized they were all participating in the same video competition, which offers its winners high dollar prizes.

Shruti Siva [Image: Courtesy Vaidyanatha Siva]

“Around that time, in a cosmic moment of serendipity, I was explaining some scientific concept to my sister to help her with homework, going way more in-depth than I needed to, when I realized that I really enjoyed sharing explanations with people, and I guess the rest is history,” Shruti told Dallas Innovates via email. 

As someone who counts “Back to the Future” as one of her all-time favorite movies, it wasn’t hard for Shruti to decide what her video submission should concentrate on: time travel. 

“Every time I read about a scientific explanation for time travel in fiction, I would integrate it into a grand ‘time travel theory’ that I had. But when it came to actual science, I wanted to find the one explanation to rule them all,” Shruti says. “I did some research, and I found out that the main theory that revolved around the malleability of time was special relativity, and I extrapolated what I learned to, conceivably, prove that time travel could exist.”

Shruti’s interest in time travel seems to have paid off, as she’s now reached the semifinals stage of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge. 

Shruti explaining the concept of time travel through drawings. [Image: Courtesy Shruti Siva via YouTube]

Although Shruti did everything on her own to create her video submission, including playing the violin, her family was always there to support her.

“Throughout it all, my family was patient with me and kept my spirits up in the homestretch, and we went out for Indian ice cream when I finished,” Shruti says. “I honestly couldn’t have done this without them.”

Shruti’s interest in STEM topics seems to run in the family, too. Vaidyanatha Siva, her father, is the founder and CEO of DocSynk, Inc., an Irving-based health tech startup, while Priya Siva, her mother, is a principal data scientist.

“I’ve always loved explaining concepts that I’d just learned, and that’s definitely something I’d like to continue doing—perhaps through more videos like this one,” Shruti says.

As a teenager, making it to the semifinals of the Breakthrough Video Challenge is only one of Shruti’s various accomplishments. After submitting her video, Shruti spent her summer at a debate camp at Northwestern University and had a violin performance at the Sydney Opera House, according to Priya, her mother.

“Her goal, as of now, is to major in computer science and linguistics as she thinks that they are both related—as they both try to model reality, in their own way,” Vaidyanatha says. “Where this will take her, I don’t know yet. However, one thing I do know is it will be wonderful. And, it will have a broader social impact.”

You can check out and vote on Shruti’s video here

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