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Tech Billionaires Award Top Scientists $25 Million In 'Breakthrough' Prizes (fortune.com) 56

Tonight at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, Morgan Freeman emceed a glamorous, Oscars-style celebration that recognizes scientific achievements with money from tech billionaires. An anonymous reader writes: Donors for the Breakthrough Prize included Google's Sergey Brin, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, Alibaba founder Jack Ma and his wife Cathy Zhang, and billionaire venture capitalist Yuri Milner, according to an article in Fortune. TechCrunch has a list of the winners, which included Princeton math professor Jean Bourgain, who won a $3 million prize "for his many contributions to high-dimensional geometry, number theory, and many other theoretical contributions."

Three more physics researchers -- two from Harvard, and one from U.C. Santa Barbara -- will share a $3 million prize recognizing "meaningful advances in string theory, quantum field theory, and quantum gravity." And another $1 million prize honored the leaders of three teams responsible for "collaborative research on gravitational waves and its implications for physics and astronomy," with another $2 million to be shared among the 1,012 members of their research groups.

17-year-old Deanna See from Singapore also won the $250,000 "Breakthrough Junior Challenge" prize -- and more money for her teachers and school -- for her video about antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Google has created a special page where you can read more about some of the other winners.
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Tech Billionaires Award Top Scientists $25 Million In 'Breakthrough' Prizes

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  • Many of these areas don't get much recognition outside of their academic sphere. This seems like a great way to give greater recognition.

  • ...it would be better to start paying for research by paying their fair share of taxes. Oh, and stop giving much bigger donations to lobby groups like ALEC that undermine funding for scientific research and promote climate change denial.
  • The video [youtu.be] (mentioned in the summary) gave(?) me hope for the future. I am glad she was rewarded for it.

  • Donors for the Breakthrough Prize included [H1-b supporters], [hell-hole family], [other un-American individuals]....

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.

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