The CTBT Countdown Challenge is a project created by University of British Columbia students Veronika Ruskova, Veronica Tjokro, Juan Bustamante, Bronwyn McCarter and Morgan Slessor.
The Challenge begins with two friends each holding a cup of water. They are instructed to close their eyes and countdown from ten. Before the countdown reaches zero, they have the option of throwing water on their partner or choosing to trust them, just as nuclear weapons states must choose to trust each other not to test.
After watching Dr. Lassina Zerbo play the challenge – he trusted his partner – I spoke with Juan Bustamente.
What was the idea for the CTBT Countdown Challenge?
“We hoped to use the CTBT Science and Technology conference to raise awareness of the test ban treaty in a fun, original way, so we brainstormed projects that have driven public attention recently. We were inspired by the ALS ice bucket challenge due to its viral nature.”
So you were inspired by the ice bucket challenge. Did anything else inspire you?
“We were inspired by a mix of ALS and game theory. We wanted to promote the CTBT because nuclear testing impacts everyone in the world and deserves more attention.”
Is this going to go viral?
“So far, it’s fun and easy to understand. Our big challenge is people who are not willing—maybe they don’t want to get water on themselves. But at the same time, we feel this has the potential of blowing up. We have gotten the president of our university involved. And now we have Dr. Zerbo who has agreed to the challenge! So it’s going to blow up.”
CTBTO Youth Group member Brenna Gautam,
Vienna, 28 June 2017