Fundamental Physics Prize

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The Fundamental Physics Prize
Awarded for For transformative advances in fundamental physics
Country International
Presented by Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation
First awarded 2012
Official website Official Website

The Fundamental Physics Prize is awarded by the Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to awarding physicists involved in fundamental research which was founded in July 2012 by a Russian physicist and internet entrepreneur Yuri Milner.[1] As of July 2012, this prize is the most lucrative academic prize in the world[2] and is more than twice as big as the amount given to the Nobel Prize awardees.[3][4] This prize is also dubbed by the media as the 'XXI Century Nobel'.[5]

Nominations and awards money[edit]

As of July 2012, anyone can nominate a candidate through the FPP website.[1] As of July 2012, each award is worth $3 million. The monetary value exceeds that of the prestigious Nobel Prize, which in 2012 stood at slightly more than $1.2 million.[3][5] Physics Frontiers Prize laureates (those on the shortlist Fundamental Physics Prize) who do not go on to be awarded the Fundamental Physics Prize will each receive (as of 2013) $300,000 and will automatically be re-nominated for the Fundamental Physics Prize each year for the next 5 years.[1]

New Horizons in Physics Prize[edit]

The New Horizons for Physics Prize, awarded to promising junior researchers, carries an award of $100,000.[6] The winners of the 2013 prize are Niklas Beisert of ETH Zurich, Davide Gaiotto of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, and Zohar Komargodski of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.[7] The winners of the 2014 prize are Freddy Cachazo of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Shiraz Minwalla of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, and Slava Rychkov of the Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University, currently at CERN.

FPP Laureates[edit]

The following is a listing of the laureates, by year.

Year of award Fundamental Physics
Prize Laureates[1]
Awarded for[1] Alma mater Institutional affiliation when prize awarded[1]
2012 Nima Arkani-Hamed Original approaches to outstanding problems in particle physics University of Toronto,
University of California, Berkeley
Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
2012 Alan Guth Invention of inflationary cosmology, and for contributions to the theory for the generation of cosmological density fluctuations arising from quantum fluctuations Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
2012 Alexei Kitaev For robust quantum memories and fault-tolerant quantum computation using topological quantum phases with anyons and unpaired Majorana modes. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA Currently at KITP and UCSB, Santa Barbara
2012 Maxim Kontsevich Numerous contributions including development of homological mirror symmetry, and the study of wall-crossing phenomena. University of Bonn
Moscow State University
Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, Bures-sur-Yvette
2012 Andrei Linde[8] For development of inflationary cosmology, including the theory of new inflation, eternal chaotic inflation and the theory of inflationary multiverse, and for contributing to the development of vacuum stabilization mechanisms in string theory. Moscow State University Stanford University, Stanford
2012 Juan Maldacena Contributions to gauge/gravity duality, relating gravitational physics in a spacetime and quantum field theory on the boundary of the spacetime Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Princeton University Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
2012 Nathan Seiberg Contributions to our understanding of quantum field theory and string theory. Weizmann Institute of Science, Tel-Aviv University Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
2012 Ashoke Sen Opening the path to the realization that all string theories are different limits of the same underlying theory. Presidency College, Kolkata
University of Calcutta
IIT Kanpur
Stony Brook University
Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad
2012 Edward Witten For applications of topology to physics, non-perturbative duality symmetries, models of particle physics derived from string theory, dark matter detection, and the twistor-string approach to particle scattering amplitudes, as well as numerous applications of quantum field theory to mathematics. Brandeis University (B.A.) University of Wisconsin, Madison
Princeton University (PhD)
Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
2012 (special) Stephen Hawking For his discovery of Hawking radiation from black holes, and his deep contributions to quantum gravity and quantum aspects of the early universe.[9]
2012 (special) Peter Jenni, Fabiola Gianotti (ATLAS), Michel Della Negra, Tejinder Singh Virdee, Guido Tonelli, Joe Incandela (CMS) and Lyn Evans (LHC) For their leadership role in the scientific endeavour that led to the discovery of the new Higgs-like particle by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at CERN's Large Hadron Collider.[9]
2013 Alexander Polyakov For his many discoveries in field theory and string theory including the conformal bootstrap, magnetic monopoles, instantons, confinement/de-confinement, the quantization of strings in non-critical dimensions, gauge/string duality and many others. His ideas have dominated the scene in these fields during the past decades. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Princeton University, Princeton
2014 Michael Green and John Henry Schwarz For opening new perspectives on quantum gravity and the unification of forces. Harvard University, University of California, Berkeley and Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK California Institute of Technology and Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK

Trophy[edit]

The Fundamental Physics Prize trophy - a work of art created by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson,[10] is a silver sphere with a coiled vortex inside. The form is, in fact, a toroid, or doughnut shape, resulting from two sets of intertwining three-dimensional spirals. Found in nature, these spirals are seen in animal horns, nautilus shells, whirlpools, and even galaxies and black holes.[11]

Ceremony[edit]

The name of 2013 prize winner was unveiled at the culmination of a ceremony which took place on the evening of March 20, 2013 at the Geneva International Conference Centre.[12] The ceremony was hosted by Hollywood actor and science enthusiast Morgan Freeman.[13] The evening honored the 2013 laureates − 16 outstanding scientists including Stephen Hawking[14] and CERN scientists who led the decades-long effort to discover the Higgs-like particle at the Large Hadron Collider.[15] Sarah Brightman and Russian pianist Denis Matsuev performed live for the guests of the ceremony.

Criticism[edit]

Some have expressed reservations about the award.[16]

What's not to like? Quite a lot, according to a handful of scientists […] You cannot buy class, as the old saying goes, and these upstart entrepreneurs cannot buy their prizes the prestige of the Nobels. The new awards are an exercise in self-promotion for those behind them, say scientists. They could distort the meritocracy of peer-review-led research. They could cement the status quo of peer-reviewed research. They do not fund peer-reviewed research. They perpetuate the myth of the lone genius.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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