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Breakthrough Prize Winners Announced - Oscars of Science

Press Release From: Breakthrough Prize Foundation
Posted: Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Breakthrough Prize and sponsors Sergey Brin, Pony Ma, Yuri and Julia Milner, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Anne Wojcicki, and will tonight announce the recipients of the 2018 Breakthrough Prizes, which recognize top achievements in Life Sciences, Fundamental Physics and Mathematics. A combined total of $22 million will be awarded at the gala ceremony in Silicon Valley, to be hosted by Morgan Freeman, which will air live tonight on National Geographic at 10p ET/7p PT. Each Breakthrough Prize award is $3 million, the largest individual monetary prize in science.
 
This year, a total of seven $3 million prizes will be awarded. In addition, three $100,000 New Horizons in Physics Prizes will be awarded to three early-career physicists, and three New Horizons in Mathematics Prizes totaling $300,000 will be awarded to four early-career mathematicians. The Breakthrough Junior Challenge will recognize one student with a $250,000 scholarship and provide an additional $150,000 in educational prizes for the winner’s science teacher and school.
 
Since its inception in 2012, the Breakthrough Prize has awarded close to $200 million to honor paradigm-shifting research in the fields of fundamental physics, life sciences, and mathematics.
 
“The Breakthrough Prize was created to celebrate the achievements of scientists, physicists, and mathematicians, whose genius help us understand our world, and whose advances shape our future,” said Breakthrough Prize co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg. “The world needs their inspiration, and their reminder that even though it doesn’t always feel that way, we are making steady progress toward building a better future for everyone. Priscilla and I want to congratulate all of tonight’s laureates and give our deepest thanks for all that they do.”
 
The 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences will be awarded to Joanne Chory (Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Howard Hughes Medical Institute), Don W. Cleveland (Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at University of California, San Diego), Kazutoshi Mori (Kyoto University), Kim Nasmyth (University of Oxford) and Peter Walter (University of California, San Francisco).
 
The 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics will be awarded to Charles L. Bennett (Johns Hopkins University), Gary Hinshaw (University of British Columbia), Norman Jarosik (Princeton University), Lyman Page Jr. (Princeton University), and David N. Spergel (Princeton University).
 
The 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics will be awarded to Christopher Hacon (University of Utah) and James McKernan (University of California, San Diego).
 
Laureates will take to the stage tonight at an exclusive gala co-hosted by founders Sergey Brin, Pony Ma, Yuri and Julia Milner, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Anne Wojcicki, and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. Academy Award®-winning actor Morgan Freeman will host the show, which will feature a performance by multi-platinum selling hip hop artist and entrepreneur Wiz Khalifa with musician Nana Ou-Yang, presentations from actress Mila Kunis, actor and investor Ashton Kutcher, critically acclaimed actress and producer Kerry Washington, actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik, actress Lily Collins, U.S. Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky, former NFL player turned mathematician John Urschel and Miss USA Kára McCullough, as well as the founders of the Breakthrough Prize. The theme of the evening will be “Sparks of Creation.” The ceremony will be directed and produced, for the fifth time, by Don Mischer alongside executive producers Charlie Haykel and Juliane Hare of Don Mischer Productions.
 
“It is always the right time to celebrate great scientists,” said Internet investor and science philanthropist Yuri Milner. “All of our futures depend on them.”
 
In addition, six New Horizons Prizes – an annual prize of $100,000, recognizing the achievements of early-career physicists and mathematicians – will be awarded.
 
The New Horizons in Physics Prize is awarded to: Christopher Hirata (Ohio State University), Andrea Young (University of California, Santa Barbara), and Douglas Stanford (Institute for Advanced Study and Stanford University).
 
The New Horizons in Mathematics Prize is awarded to: Aaron Naber (Northwestern University), Maryna Viazovska (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), Zhiwei Yun (Yale University), and Wei Zhang (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University). 
 
“Every year I am inspired by the Breakthrough Prize laureates and the deep insights that are made possible by pure curiosity-driven research. This year is no exception," said Breakthrough Prize co-founder, Anne Wojcicki.
 
The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is a global science video competition designed to inspire creative thinking about fundamental concepts in the life sciences, physics, and mathematics. In recognition of her winning submission, Hillary Diane Andales receives up to $400,000 in educational prizes, including a scholarship worth up to $250,000, another $50,000 for the science teacher who inspired her, and a state-of-the-art science lab valued at $100,000 designed by and in partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
 
This was Andales’ second time in the competition, and last year, she was the Top Scorer in the Popular Vote, a segment of the contest that allows the public to vote for their favorites online. As the Top Scorer in the Popular Vote, she won a DNA molecular biology laboratory as her school recovered from damage by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. This year, her overall victory in the competition will secure for her school a Fabrication/Physics/Design/Innovation Lab.
 
More than 11,000 entries from 178 countries were received in the 2017 installment of the global competition, which kicked off on September 1, 2017. The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is funded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Yuri and Julia Milner, through the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, based on a grant from Mark Zuckerberg’s fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation a grant from the Milner Global Foundation.
 
 
2018 BREAKTHROUGH PRIZE IN LIFE SCIENCES
 
The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences honors transformative advances toward understanding living systems and extending human life, with one prize dedicated to work that contributes to the understanding of neurological diseases.
 
Each of the five Life Science winners will receive a $3 million prize.
 
Joanne Chory
Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Howard Hughes Medical Institute
For discovering the molecular mechanisms by which plants extract information from light and shade to modify their programs of shoot and leaf growth in the photosynthetic harvest of light.
 
Don W. Cleveland
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at University of California, San Diego
For elucidating the molecular pathogenesis of a type of inherited ALS, including the role of glia in neurodegeneration, and for establishing antisense oligonucleotide therapy in animal models of ALS and Huntington disease.
 
Kazutoshi Mori
Kyoto University
For elucidating the unfolded protein response, a cellular quality-control system that detects disease-causing unfolded proteins and directs cells to take corrective measures.
 
Kim Nasmyth
University of Oxford
For elucidating the sophisticated mechanism that mediates the perilous separation of duplicated chromosomes during cell division and thereby prevents genetic diseases such as cancer.
 
Peter Walter
University of California, San Francisco and Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Also for elucidating the unfolded protein response, a cellular quality-control system that detects disease-causing unfolded proteins and directs cells to take corrective measures.
 
2018 BREAKTHROUGH PRIZE IN FUNDAMENTAL PHYSICS
 
The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics recognizes major insights into the deepest questions of the universe.
 
The $3 million physics prize will be shared among the entire 27-member WMAP experimental team, including the following five team leaders:
Charles L. Bennett
Johns Hopkins University
 
Gary Hinshaw
University of British Columbia
 
Norman Jarosik
Princeton University
 
Lyman Page, Jr.
Princeton University
 
David N. Spergel
Princeton University
 
For detailed maps of the early universe that greatly improved our knowledge of the evolution of the cosmos and the fluctuations that seeded the formation of galaxies.
2018 BREAKTHROUGH PRIZE IN MATHEMATICS
 
The Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics honors the world’s best mathematicians who have contributed to major advances in the field.
 
The joint winners of the $3 million prize, are:
 
Christopher Hacon
University of Utah
 
James McKernan
University of California, San Diego
 
For transformational contributions to birational algebraic geometry, especially to the minimal model program in all dimensions.
 
2018 NEW HORIZONS IN PHYSICS PRIZE
 
The New Horizons in Physics Prize is awarded to promising early-career researchers who have already produced important work in fundamental physics.
 
Christopher Hirata
Ohio State University
 
Andrea Young
University of California, Santa Barbara
 
Douglas Stanford
Institute for Advanced Study and Stanford University
 
2018 NEW HORIZONS IN MATHEMATICS PRIZE
 
The New Horizons in Mathematics Prize is awarded to promising early-career researchers who have already produced important work in mathematics.
 
Aaron Naber
Northwestern University
 
Maryna Viazovska
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
 
Zhiwei Yun
Yale University
 
Wei Zhang
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University
2017 BREAKTHROUGH JUNIOR CHALLENGE
 
The third annual Breakthrough Junior Challenge will recognize Hillary Diane Andales (18) of the Philippines. She will receive $250,000 in educational prizes; her science teacher will receive $50,000; and her school will receive a new science laboratory valued at $100,000 designed by and in partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
 
Hillary’s video, submitted in the physics category, focused on reference frames in general relativity.
 
# # #
 
Images and select video from the 2018 Breakthrough Prize Gala -- red carpet and ceremony-- can be downloaded for media use at: http://www.epklink.com/2018breakthroughprize
 
 
About the Breakthrough Prizes
For the sixth year, the Breakthrough Prizes will recognize the contributions of the world’s top scientists. Each prize is $3 million and awarded in the fields of Life Sciences (up to five per year), Fundamental Physics (up to one per year) and Mathematics (up to one per year). In addition, up to three New Horizons in Physics and up to three New Horizons in Mathematics Prizes are given out to early-career researchers each year. Laureates attend a televised awards ceremony designed to celebrate their achievements and inspire the next generation of scientists. As part of the ceremony schedule, they also engage in a program of lectures and discussions. The Breakthrough Prizes were founded by Sergey Brin, Pony Ma, Yuri and Julia Milner, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Anne Wojcicki. Selection Committees composed of previous Breakthrough Prize laureates choose the winners.
 
Information on the Breakthrough Prizes is available at www.breakthroughprize.org.
 
For Breakthrough Prize
Contact: Rubenstein
Janet Wootten – Jwootten@Rubenstein.com / 212-843-8024
Emily Gest – Egest@Rubenstein.com / 212-843-8061
Kristen Bothwell – Kbothwell@Rubenstein.com / 212-843-9227

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