Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics
|Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics|
|Awarded for||Transformative advances in fundamental physics|
|Presented by||Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation|
The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics is awarded by the Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to awarding physicists involved in fundamental research. The foundation was founded in July 2012 by Russian physicist and internet entrepreneur Yuri Milner.
As of September 2018[update], this prize is the most lucrative academic prize in the world and is more than twice the amount given to the Nobel Prize awardees. This prize is also dubbed by the media as the "XXI Century Nobel".
Nominations and awards money
As of September 2018[update], anyone can nominate a candidate through the Fundamental Physics Prize website. As of September 2018[update], 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.
Physics Frontiers Prize laureates (those on the shortlist for the Fundamental Physics Prize) who do not go on to be awarded the Fundamental Physics Prize each receive (as of 2013) $300,000 and are automatically re-nominated for the Fundamental Physics Prize each year for the next 5 years.
Special Breakthrough Prize
Unlike the annual Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, the Special Prize is not limited to recent discoveries. As of 2020 the Special Prize, which "can be awarded at any time in recognition of an extraordinary scientific achievement", has been awarded on 5 occasions (twice in 2013, and once in 2016, 2018 and 2019). The monetary value of the award is also $3 million.
The following is a listing of the laureates, by year (including Special Prize winners).
New Horizons in Physics Prize
The New Horizons in Physics Prize, awarded to promising junior researchers, carries an award of $100,000.
|Year of award||New Horizons in Physics
|Awarded for||Institutional affiliation when prize awarded|
|2013||Niklas Beisert||Development of powerful exact methods to describe a quantum gauge theory and its associated string theory||ETH Zurich|
|Davide Gaiotto||Far-reaching new insights about duality, gauge theory, and geometry, and specially for his work linking theories in different dimensions in most unexpected ways||Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics|
|Zohar Komargodski||Dynamics of four-dimensional field theories and in particular his proof (with Schwimmer) of the “a-theorem”, which has solved a long-standing problem||Weizmann Institute of Science|
|2014||Freddy Cachazo||Uncovering numerous structures underlying scattering amplitudes in gauge theories and gravity||Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics|
|Shiraz Minwalla||Pioneering contributions to the study of string theory and quantum field theory; and in particular his work on the connection between the equations of fluid dynamics and Albert Einstein's equations of general relativity||Tata Institute of Fundamental Research|
|Slava Rychkov||Developing new techniques in conformal field theory, reviving the conformal bootstrap program for constraining the spectrum of operators and the structure constants in 3D and 4D CFT's||Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University|
|2015||Sean Hartnoll||For applying holographic methods to obtain remarkable new insights into strongly interacting quantum matter.||Stanford University|
|Philip C. Schuster and Natalia Toro||For pioneering the “simplified models” framework for new physics searches at the Large Hadron Collider, as well as spearheading new experimental searches for dark sectors using high-intensity electron beams.||Perimeter Institute|
|Horacio Casini||For fundamental ideas about entropy in quantum field theory and quantum gravity.||CONICET|
|Marina Huerta||Universidad Nacional de Cuyo|
|Shinsei Ryu||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|Tadashi Takayanagi||Kyoto University|
|2016||B. Andrei Bernevig||For outstanding contributions to condensed matter physics, especially involving the use of topology to understand new states of matter.||Princeton University|
|Xiao-Liang Qi||Stanford University|
|Raphael Flauger||For outstanding contributions to theoretical cosmology.||The University of Texas at Austin|
|Leonardo Senatore||Stanford University|
|Liang Fu||For outstanding contributions to condensed matter physics, especially involving the use of topology to understand new states of matter.||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Yuji Tachikawa||For penetrating and incisive studies of supersymmetric quantum field theories.||University of Tokyo|
|2017||Frans Pretorius||For creating the first computer code capable of simulating the inspiral and merger of binary black holes, thereby laying crucial foundations for interpreting the recent observations of gravitational waves; and for opening new directions in numerical relativity.||Princeton University|
|Simone Giombi||For imaginative joint work on higher spin gravity and its holographic connection to a new soluble field theory.||Princeton University|
|Xi Yin||Harvard University|
|Asimina Arvanitaki||For pioneering a wide range of new experimental probes of fundamental physics.||Perimeter Institute|
|Peter W. Graham||Stanford University|
|Surjeet Rajendran||University of California, Berkeley|
|2018||Christopher Hirata||For fundamental contributions to understanding the physics of early galaxy formation and to sharpening and applying the most powerful tools of precision cosmology||Ohio State University|
|Douglas Stanford||For profound new insights on quantum chaos and its relation to gravity.||Institute for Advanced Study and Stanford University|
|Andrea Young||For the co-invention of van der Waals heterostructures, and for the new quantum Hall phases that he discovered with them.||University of California, Santa Barbara|
|2019||Rana Adhikari||For research on present and future ground-based detectors of gravitational waves.||California Institute of Technology|
|Lisa Barsotti and Matthew Evans||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Daniel Harlow||For fundamental insights about quantum information, quantum field theory, and gravity.||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Daniel L. Jafferis||Harvard University|
|Aron Wall||Stanford University|
|Brian Metzger||For pioneering predictions of the electromagnetic signal from a neutron star merger, and for leadership in the emerging field of multi-messenger astronomy.||Columbia University|
|2020||Xie Chen||For incisive contributions to the understanding of topological states of matter and the relationships between them.||California Institute of Technology|
|Lukasz Fidkowski||University of Washington|
|Michael Levin||University of Chicago|
|Max A. Metlitski||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Jo Dunkley||For the development of novel techniques to extract fundamental physics from astronomical data.||Princeton University|
|Samaya Nissanke||University of Amsterdam|
|Kendrick Smith||Perimeter Institute|
|Simon Caron-Huot||For profound contributions to the understanding of quantum field theory.||McGill University|
|Pedro Vieira||Perimeter Institute and ICTP-SAIFR|
The Fundamental Physics Prize trophy, a work of art created by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, is a silver sphere with a coiled vortex inside. The form is 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.
The name of the 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. The ceremony was hosted by Hollywood actor and science enthusiast Morgan Freeman. The evening honored the 2013 laureates − 16 outstanding scientists including Stephen Hawking and CERN scientists who led the decades-long effort to discover the Higgs-like particle at the Large Hadron Collider. Sarah Brightman and Russian pianist Denis Matsuev performed for the guests of the ceremony.
Some have expressed reservations about such new science mega-prizes.
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.... As much as some scientists may grumble about the new awards, the financial doping that they bring to research and the wisdom of the goals behind them, two things seem clear. First, most researchers would accept such a prize if they were offered one. Second, it is surely a good thing that the money and attention come to science rather than go elsewhere. It is fair to criticize and question the mechanism—that is the culture of research, after all—but it is the prize-givers' money to do with as they please. It is wise to accept such gifts with gratitude and grace.
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- Laureates 2019
- "Breakthrough Prize – $3 Million Special Breakthrough Prize In Fundamental Physics Awarded To Discoverers Of Supergravity". breakthroughprize.org. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
- Laureates 2020
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- The Breakthrough Prize trophy.
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- YouTube. youtube.com.
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- Editorial (12 June 2013). "Young upstarts". Nature. 498 (7453): 138. doi:10.1038/498138a. PMID 23776948.
- "$3 Million Prizes Will Go to Mathematicians, Too", The New York Times