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 FPP 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.
Difference between Breakthrough Prize and Special Breakthrough Prize
"Unlike the annual Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, the Special Prize is not limited to recent discoveries." As of 2018 the Special Prize, which "can be awarded at any time in recognition of an extraordinary scientific achievement", has been awarded on 4 occasions (twice in 2013, and once in 2016 and 2018). The monetary value of the award is also $3 million.
New Horizons in Physics Prize
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The New Horizons in Physics Prize, awarded to promising junior researchers, carries an award of $100,000.
The winners of 2015 New Horizons in Physics Prize are Sean Hartnoll of Stanford University, for applying holographic methods to obtain remarkable new insights into strongly interacting quantum matter; Philip C. Schuster and Natalia Toro of Perimeter Institute, 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; Horacio Casini and Marina Huerta of CONICET and Instituto Balseiro, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo; Shinsei Ryu of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Tadashi Takayanagi of Kyoto University for fundamental ideas about entropy in quantum field theory and quantum gravity.
|Year of award||New Horizons in Physics
|Awarded for||Alma mater||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, (currently at IHÉS)|
The following is a listing of the laureates, by year (including Special Prize winners).
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, 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.
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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- "Congratulations to Charles Bennett, Gary Hinshaw, Norman Jarosik, Lyman Page Jr., David Spergel and the WMAP Science Team for winning the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics". science.gsfc.nasa.gov. NASA. 3 December 2017. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
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- Laureates 2019
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- The Breakthrough Prize trophy.
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- "$3 Million Prizes Will Go to Mathematicians, Too", The New York Times