A combined total of $25 million was awarded at the gala ceremony in Silicon Valley, hosted by Morgan Freeman. Each of the Breakthrough Prizes is worth $3 million, the largest individual monetary prize in science.
This year, a total of seven of these prizes were awarded to nine individuals, along with a $3 million Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, which was split between three founders and more than a thousand members of the LIGO team.
In addition, three $100,000 New Horizons in Physics Prizes were awarded to six early-career physicists, and a further three $100,000 New Horizons in Mathematics Prizes were awarded to four young mathematicians.
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.
“There has never been a more important time to support science,” said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. “The 2017 Breakthrough Prize laureates represent the leaders in scientific research in physics, math and life sciences. Their breakthroughs will unlock new possibilities and help make the world a better place for everyone.”
The 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences was awarded to Stephen J. Elledge (Harvard Medical School); Harry F. Noller (University of California, Santa Cruz); Roeland Nusse (Stanford University); Yoshinori Ohsumi (Tokyo Institute of Technology); Huda Yahya Zoghbi (Baylor College of Medicine).
The 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was awarded to Joseph Polchinski (University of California, Santa Barbara); Andrew Strominger (Harvard University); and Cumrun Vafa (Harvard University).
The three honorees joined the recipients of the previously announced Special Prize in Fundamental Physics, released in May 2016. Ronald Drever (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena), Kip Thorne (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena) and Rainer Weiss (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), were recognized in May for their detection of gravitational waves, opening new horizons in astronomy and physics.
The three winners of the Special Prize will share a $1 million prize, and 1,012 LIGO team members will share $2 million.
The 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics was awarded to Jean Bourgain (Institute for Advanced Study).
For the full story and list of honors, click here.
About the Breakthrough Prizes
For the fifth year, the Breakthrough Prizes will recognize 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 junior 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 and Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Yuri and Julia Milner. Selection Committees composed of previous Breakthrough Prize laureates choose the winners.
Information on the Breakthrough Prizes is available at www.breakthroughprize.org.