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Tech Leaders Create Most Lucrative Science Prize In History 147

redletterdave writes "Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and Yuri Milner have teamed up to create The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation, which now offers the most lucrative annual prize in the history of science: A $33 million pot to be split among 11 people, with individual rewards worth $3 million apiece. Comparatively, the monetary value of the Nobel prize is just $1.1 million. 'Our society needs more heroes who are scientists, researchers and engineers,' Zuckerberg said. 'We need to celebrate and reward the people who cure diseases, expand our understanding of humanity and work to improve people's lives.'"
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Tech Leaders Create Most Lucrative Science Prize In History

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  • by DMiax ( 915735 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @06:57AM (#42965015)
    The Nobel Prizes for the sciences have always been very well chosen. The biggest criticism have always been about who was left out, but I have never heard of one given to a less than brilliant scientist. If you are thinking of the Nobel Prize for Peace, it is hard to disagree... In the committee's defense, the concept itself is extremely political by nature, so every choice is going to look partisan. But you should not confuse the two.
  • by conspirator23 ( 207097 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @02:26PM (#42969941)

    I, for one, welcome our new competitively philanthropic overlords.

    The new found social, political, and economic clout that modern day intellectuals are receiving as an outcome of the digital revolution is welcome and long overdue. The prize-ification of discovery and invention is a reflection of a shift in the priorities of our culture as a whole. The PBS Idea Channel [] has argued [] that in the modern area, societies pursuit of greatness has largely focused on athletics. That the money for, attention to, and veneration of athletes is what is largely driving the steady crushing of one record of physical acheivement after another.

    Prizes like this, the X Prize, bug bounties, crowdsourced funding of science and technology research... all of this is a reflection of gradually shifting priorities. We are slowly redefining what it means to be a winner or a hero. Even if this sort of activity is a relatively minor contribution to the overall progress of civilization, it is a welcome sign of the times.

    (P.S. Not watching the Idea Channel yet? Put away your re-tread oblig. XKCD links and get thee to Youtube.)

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