‘Breakthrough Prize’ Rewards Exemplary Work

‘Breakthrough Prize’ Rewards Exemplary Work‘Breakthrough Prize’ Rewards Exemplary Work

The Nobel Prize is nice, but in terms of sheer dollars, the ‘Breakthrough Prize’ is nicer.

A cool $1.9 million nicer!

Started in 2012 by Silicon Valley’s crème de la crème, the awards bestow $3 million each on researchers who have made fundamental breakthroughs in sciences, physics, and mathematics.

The Nobel Prize, founded in 1898 by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, awards just $1.1 million.

This year, the Breakthrough Prize will give $42 million to 14 world-changing scientists at a ceremony at Stanford University, says an article in the USA Today.

One of this year’s life sciences prizes went to Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier for “editing genomes using mechanism bacteria in their immune systems.”

In physics, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess won for the unexpected discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, rather than slowing as had long been assumed.

The awards began in 2012 when Silicon Valley venture capitalist Yuri Milner launched the Fundamental Physics Prize. The nine inaugural winners received a total of $27 million.

 Science to the Fore

The goal is to reward exemplary work and also bring science more to the fore, said Milner. His aim was to bring more attention to the importance of fundamental science.

“Scientists are not celebrities in the way I think they should be,” he said.

Named one of the best venture capitalists in the world for 2014 on Forbes’ Midas List, he says Silicon Valley is the right place to launch the awards because it’s an epicenter for human creativity and innovation right now.

And because money and the interest of the most cutting of cutting-edge technologists, makes the public pay attention. “We recognize athletes and entertainers, but not scientists. I think that’s out of balance in terms of the contributions that people make versus the recognition they get,’ he said.

This year, mathematics is joining the list.