A combined total of $21.9 million was awarded at the 3rd Annual Breakthrough Prize Awards Ceremony in Silicon Valley.
The Breakthrough Prize founders Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang, Yuri and Julia Milner, and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, on Sunday night announced the recipients of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, Fundamental Physics and Mathematics. A combined total of $21.9 million was awarded at the 3rd Annual Breakthrough Prize Awards Ceremony in Silicon Valley.
“By challenging conventional thinking and expanding knowledge over the long term, scientists can solve the biggest problems of our time,” said Mark Zuckerberg. “The Breakthrough Prize honors achievements in science and math so we can encourage more pioneering research and celebrate scientists as the heroes they truly are.”
“Breakthrough Prize laureates are making fundamental discoveries about the universe, life and the mind,” said Yuri Milner. “These fields of investigation are advancing at an exponential pace, yet the biggest questions remain to be answered.”
“This year’s laureates have all opened up ways of understanding ourselves,” said Anne Wojcicki. “In the life sciences, they have pushed forward new ideas about Alzheimer’s, cholesterol, neurological imaging and the origins of our species. And for that we celebrate them.”
The 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (five prizes, $3 million each) was presented to:
Edward S. Boyden (MIT);
Karl Deisseroth (Stanford University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute);
John Hardy (University College London);
Helen Hobbs (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Howard Hughes Medical Institute);
Svante Paabo (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology).
The 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics ($3 million) was awarded to five experiments investigating neutrino oscillation and will be shared equally among all five. In total, the five teams are comprised of more than 1,300 individual physicists, and all members will share in the recognition for their work. The teams include:
Daya Bay (China);
K2K / T2K (Japan);
Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (Canada);
The 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics ($3 million) was presented to Ian Agol (University of California at Berkeley and Institute for Advanced Study).
Priscilla Chan and Sal Khan announced the winner of the inaugural Breakthrough Junior Challenge, which invited young people ages 13-to-18 to create short videos that communicated big ideas in the life sciences, physics and math. The contest received more than 2,000 applications from 86 countries. 18-year-old Ryan Chester, of North Royalton, Ohio, received a $250,000 educational scholarship for his winning video depiction of Einstein’s theory of special relativity.
Ryan’s teacher, Richard Nestoff, was presented an award of $50,000. Ryan’s school, North Royalton High School, received a state-of-the art science lab valued at $100,000. The lab will be designed by and in partnership with the school and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, which has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education, and is home to more than 600 researchers and technicians.
In addition, five New Horizons prizes – a $100,000 award that recognizes the achievements of young scientists – were given to eight early-career physicists and mathematicians.
Sergey Brin was born in Moscow to Russian Jewish parents.
Anne Wojcicki’s mother is Jewish and her father is a Polish American.
Yuri Milner was born to a Jewish family in Moscow.
Mark Zuckerberg was raised Jewish and had his bar mitzvah when he turned 13.