Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Russian Billionaire Initiates New Category Theoretical Physics Award to Rival the Nobel Prize

Yury Milner

 "I hope the new prize will bring long overdue recognition to the greatest minds working in the field of fundamental physics, and if this helps encourage young people to be inspired by science, I will be deeply gratified."  ~Yury Milner

by Evgeniya Chaykovskaya

Russian billionaire Yury Milner set up a record $3 million prize for theoretical physicists to reward them for their contribution to fundamental science.

“The Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing our knowledge of the Universe at the deepest level by awarding annual prizes for scientific breakthroughs, as well as communicating the excitement of fundamental physics to the public,” reads the official website.

The $3 million prize is more than the Nobel Prize, which currently stands at $1.2 million and Shaw Prize and Kavli Prize, each $1 million.

There will be two categories of the prize. The Fundamental Physics Prize recognizes transformative advances in the field, while the New Horizons in Physics Prizes are targeted at promising junior researchers.

The award was given for the first time to nine scientists, three of them born in Soviet Union (Alexei Kitayev, Maxim Konstevich and Andrei Linde), for research in universe expansion and string theory.

The prize became news even for the winners. “It was an absolute surprise,” said Edward Witten, theoretical physicist from Princeton University, New Jersey, who won the prize for his contribution to string theory research.

As opposed to the Nobel Prize, the Fundamental Physics Prize will be awarded to theoretical physicists, even if their ideas have not been confirmed by experimental data. It aims to celebrate revolutionary ideas that push theoretical thinking forward.

Evgeniya Chaykovskaya's article continues here.........


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