2018 Breakthrough Prizes in Science, Physics and Math

The sixth annual Breakthrough prize awards gave seven $3 million prizes

2018 Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences Awarded to Joanne Chory, Don W. Cleveland, Kazutoshi Mori, Kim Nasmyth, and Peter Walter.
2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics Awarded to Charles L. Bennett, Gary Hinshaw, Norman Jarosik, Lyman Page Jr., David N. Spergel, and the WMAP Science Team.
2018 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics Awarded to Christopher Hacon and James McKernan.
New Horizons in Physics Prizes Awarded to Christopher Hirata, Douglas Stanford, and Andrea Young.
New Horizons in Mathematics Prizes Awarded to Aaron Naber, Maryna Viazovska, Zhiwei Yun, and Wei Zhang.
Third Annual International Breakthrough Junior Challenge Won by Hillary Diane Andales.

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.

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, Yuri and Julia Milner, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Anne Wojcicki, and Pony Ma. Selection Committees composed of previous Breakthrough Prize laureates choose the winners.

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.

Chory plan to solve global warming

— Chory now has ambitious plans to breed plants that can suck vast quantities of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere in a bid to combat climate change. She believes that crops could be selected to absorb 20 times more of the greenhouse gas than they do today, and convert it into suberin, a waxy material found in roots and bark that breaks down incredibly slowly in soil. “If we can do this on 5% of the landmass people are growing crops on, we can take out 50% of global human emissions,” she said.

Other Life Science Breakthrough winners

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.

From 2001 to 2009, WMAP mapped the cosmic microwave background (CMB) — the light left over from the Big Bang — with unprecedented precision.

WMAP provided fundamental insights
* a more precise the age of the universe (13.8 billion years)
* rate of accelerating expansion for the universe (roughly 70 kilometers per second per megaparsec)
* basic composition (5 percent normal matter, 24 percent dark matter and 71 percent dark energy).

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.

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).

Six New Horizons Prizes – an annual prize of $100,000, recognizing the achievements of early-career physicists and mathematicians – were 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.

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