Zuckerberg Announces New Breakthrough Prize In Mathematics
December 13, 2013

Zuckerberg Announces New Breakthrough Prize In Mathematics

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

Billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Yuri Milner have created a new Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics worth $3 million.

The Facebook founder and the big Internet investor helped create the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation earlier this year, which is being labeled as the Oscars of science. Each category winner for a Breakthrough Prize earns themselves bragging rights and $2 million more than the Nobel Prize’s $1 million.

“Scientists should be celebrated as heroes, and we are honored to be part of today’s celebration of the newest winners of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and the Fundamental Physics Prize,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki said in a joint statement.

The Breakthrough Prize Inaugural Ceremony was held at NASA Ames Research Center last night, but it will not be airing until January 27 on the Science Channel. Kevin Spacey hosted the event, which included attendees like Rupert Murdoch, Conan O’Brien, Glenn Close, Rob Lowe and Michael C. Hall. The event was organized by Vanity Fair and produced by director and producer of the Academy awards Don Mischer. Grammy-nominated singers also performed live for the ceremony guests.

At the end of the event, Zuckerberg and Milner announced the launch of a new Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, the details of which will be announced at a later date.

“Einstein said, "Pure mathematics is the poetry of logical ideas." It is in this spirit that Mark and myself are announcing a new Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The work that the Prize recognizes could be the foundation for genetic engineering, quantum computing or Artificial Intelligence; but above all, for human knowledge itself,” Milner said at the event.

The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics 2014 winners were Michael B. Green, from the University of Cambridge, and John H. Schwarz, from the California Institute of Technology. These men were recognized for opening up new perspectives on quantum gravity and the unification of forces.

Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences included James Allison, from Anderson Cancer Center, for discovering the T cell checkpoint blockade as an effective cancer therapy. Mahlon DeLong, from Emory University, also received an award for defining the interlocking circuits in the brain that malfunction in Parkinson’s disease.

“The Breakthrough Prize is our effort to put the spotlight on these amazing heroes. Their work in physics and genetics, cosmology, neurology and mathematics will change lives for generations and we are excited to celebrate them,” Zuckerberg said at the event.

The selection committee for the 2014 Breakthrough Prize included some big science names like Stephen Hawking and Alan Guth. Winners of the Breakthrough Prize from 2012, 2013 and 2014 will be giving lectures and taking part in panel discussions before an invited audience today at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco.

“We are honored to recognize such an outstanding group of scientists as this year’s Breakthrough Prize Laureates. We are sure they will continue to push back the boundaries of knowledge in the years to come,” Art Levinson, the chairman of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation, said in a statement.