Science

Breakthrough Prize Winners: 12 Researchers Get $24 Million

By Sounak Mukhopadhyay , Dec 04, 2016 09:40 PM EST
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Twelve scientific researchers have been awarded $24 million in the annual Breakthrough Prize awards at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View on Sunday. The felicitation comes from top tech executives in Silicon Valley. The Breakthrough Prize winners included researchers who were awarded for their research related to critical topics like black holes and rare diseases. An additional $1.4 million were awarded to junior students and researchers.

Top names like Sergey Brin (Alphabet Inc.) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook Inc.) sponsored the event. The event revealed the close ties between the tech and the science industries. Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner and Jack Ma of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. launched the award along with Anne Wojcicki of 23andMe Inc.

One mathematician and five life-science researchers got $3 million each. One team of physicists got $3 million and another with $1 million. The second team got $2 million more to share with 1,012 members. Here are the major laureates:

Joseph Polchinski

One of the Breakthrough Prize winners was Joseph Polchinski of University of California, Santa Barbara and Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. He got it for transformative advances in quantum field theory, string theory, and quantum gravity. In his acceptance speech, Polchinski said he was optimistic about the future despite present challenges in the research.

Andrew Strominger

Andrew Strominger of Harvard University got the award for transformative advances in quantum field theory, string theory, and quantum gravity. According to him, it is surprising how human efforts on science has been successful over the centuries. At the same time, there is so much more left to be explored, he said.

Cumrun Vafa

Another laureate from Harvard University, Vafa got it for transformative advances in quantum field theory, string theory, and quantum gravity. He said he had the opportunity to have worked with more than 150 top-class mathematicians and physicists. He said the award belonged to all of them.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Breakthrough Prize winners included two high school students, one from Singapore and the other from Peru The 17-year-old student from Singapore is Deanna See, and the 18-year-old student from Peru is Antonella Masini. They received awards and scholarships worth $250,000.

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