Geometry specialists win the Breakthrough Prize

The mathematicians Christopher Hacon (University of Utah) and James McKernan (University of California, San Diego) are the recipients of the 2018 Breakthrough Prizes, in Mathematics, for transformational contributions to birational algebraic geometry, especially to the minimal model program in all dimensions.

The Breakthrough Prize announced on Dec, 3, the recipients of the 2018 Breakthrough Prizes, which recognize top achievements in Mathematics, Life Sciences and Fundamental Physics. A combined total of 22 million were awarded at the gala ceremony in Silicon Valley, hosted by Morgan Freeman. Each Breakthrough Prize award is 3 million, the largest individual monetary prize in science.

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The Breakthrough Prizes recognizes 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. 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.

This year, a total of seven 3 million prizes were awarded. In addition, three 100,000 New Horizons in Physics Prizes were awarded to three early-career physicists, and three New Horizons in Mathematics Prizes totaling 300,000 to four early-career mathematicians. The Breakthrough Junior Challenge recognizes one student with a 250,000 scholarship and provided 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.

“The Breakthrough Prize was created to celebrate the achievements of scientists, physicists, and mathematicians, whose genius help us understand our world, and whose advances shape our future,” said Breakthrough Prize co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg. “The world needs their inspiration, and their reminder that even though it doesn’t always feel that way, we are making steady progress toward building a better future for everyone.”

The 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics were awarded to Christopher Hacon (University of Utah) and James McKernan (University of California, San Diego).

Laureates took to the stage at an exclusive gala co-hosted by founders Sergey Brin, Yuri and Julia Milner, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Anne Wojcicki, Pony Ma, and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter.

In addition, 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 Mathematics Prize was 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).

2018 New Horizons In Mathematics Prize

The New Horizons in Mathematics Prize is awarded to promising early-career researchers who have already produced important work in mathematics.

Aaron Naber (Northwestern University)

Maryna Viazovska (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)

Zhiwei Yun (Yale University)

Wei Zhang (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University)

2017 Breakthrough Junior Challenge

The third annual Breakthrough Junior Challenge will recognize Hillary Diane Andales (18) of the Philippines. She will receive 250,000 in educational prizes; her science teacher will receive 50,000; and her school will receive a new science laboratory valued at 100,000 designed by and in partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.