Home / Technology/ Science’s ‘Breakthrough’ winners earn over $21 min prizes

Science’s ‘Breakthrough’ winners earn over $21 min prizes


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Tuesday, 10 November 2015 00:30

Facebook

Reuters: Academia just turned a little more glitzy for a select group of scientists.

Russian billionaire Yuri Milner on Sunday handed out seven Breakthrough Prizes, the award for scientific accomplishment he created three years ago alongside technology giants including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 23andme founder Anne Wojcicki and Google co-founder Sergey Brin. The prizes are worth $3 million, around three times the sum a Nobel Prize winner receives.

For one group of Breakthrough recipients, the honor will carry more prestige than cash. Some 1370 physicians are being honored as part of a single $3 million prize for their work confirming the theory of neutrino oscillation, a phenomenon in quantum mechanics.

Seven team leaders will split two-thirds of the prize. That leaves $1 million to split among the others, or around $700 to each physicist.

10-3

From left: Simon Donaldson (Stony Brook University and Imperial College London), Maxim Kontsevich (Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques), Benedict Cumberbatch, Terence Tao (University of California, Los Angeles), Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Taylor (Institute for Advanced Study), and Jacob Lurie (Harvard University)

 



“I would love to give $3 million to each one, but we’re not there yet,” Milner said in an interview on Friday. Increasingly, he added, breakthroughs are made through vast consortiums rather than a handful of scientists working in relative isolation, raising the chances of such shared prizes in future.

Five prizes went to researchers in life sciences for advances in areas ranging from optogenetics to sequencing of ancient genomes. 10-5A prize in mathematics went to a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, for work in low dimensional topology and geometric group theory.

Eight scientists early in their mathematics and physics careers won awards of $100,000.

Milner has set his sights on giving the sciences the same cultural resonance as sports or entertainment, but on Friday, he said it was too early to see if his work was having any effect. He pointed to the ceremony’s broadcast on a major U.S. network, Fox, for the first time as a sign things were moving in the right direction.

A onetime physics PhD student in Moscow who dropped out to move to the United States in 1990, Milner has backed some of the world’s biggest technology companies, including Facebook.

Seth MacFarlane, creator of the hit TV series “Family Guy,” is hosted the black-tie ceremony, held at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.

Hollywood celebrities like pop star Christina Aguilera hobnobbed with Silicon Valley celebrities like Theranos chief Elizabeth Holmes, whose blood-testing company has come under fire in recent weeks. News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch sat next to Gen. David Petraeus.

Singer Pharrell Williams serenaded the audience before dinner, created by chef Thomas Keller. Other celebrities milling about included actress Hilary Swank and cast members of the TV show “Silicon Valley.”

Earlier this year, Milner said he would spend $100 million looking for intelligent life in space by searching for radio and light signals.


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Religion is a problem in Sri Lanka; can it be a solution?

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Generally, it is expected that religion should be a solution to a problem. Ironically in Sri Lanka religion is the problem. Therefore, what would be the solution? When religion becomes a problem of a country....


Orthodoxy and change: A perennial Muslim issue

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Whether Muslims live as minorities in non-Muslim countries or as majorities in a total of fifty seven countries, the clash of orthodoxy with modern challenges is a perennial issue that bedevils progress on several fronts in these communities.


Making the MCC Compact work for Sri Lanka

Friday, 16 August 2019

It is a sign of these political times that even an apolitical issue like a foreign aid program becomes a hot topic in Sri Lanka. In April 2019, the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) approved a compact program for Sri La


Sri Lanka needs a president hungry for success, not power

Friday, 16 August 2019

The late John F. Kennedy described politics as a “noble adventure, an adventure in which one joins hands with the masses for the service of man”. Not that the Kennedys didn’t play “politricks” in their heyday. But playing “politricks” w


Columnists More

Special Report

SPECIAL REPORT MORE