World-renowned physicist, entrepreneur, and Giving Pledge member Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Prize Awards is celebrating its 10th anniversary, continuing to identify the top minds in science, physics, and mathematics across the globe. Along with Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan, Anne Wojcicki and his wife Julia, Milner seeks to fund up-and-coming scientists and laureates who are still early in their career.

What Is the Breakthrough Prize?

The Breakthrough Prize, an award of $3 million, is awarded at a high-profile ceremony that has been hosted in the past by celebrity personalities like Morgan Freeman, Seth McFarlane, and James Corden. This ceremony is broadcast globally and showcases laureates in a public program of discussions and lectures, earning the endearing nickname “the Oscars of Science.”

The foundation aims to recognize top physicists and scientists across the world who are dedicated to making groundbreaking discoveries that answer big questions and explore deep explanations.

What Is the Giving Pledge?

The Giving Pledge is a nationwide initiative created by Bill and Melinda Gates that holds the world’s wealthiest individuals accountable to a promise to give a majority of their financial wealth back to the people through charitable donations, education, and community support.

Yuri and Julia Milner have joined the Giving Pledge along with notable personalities like Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, George Lucas and Melody Hobson, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, and so many more.

How Breakthrough Prize Recipients Are Selected

Each year, a selection committee composed of former Prize winners and laureates is formed to determine who the winners of the Breakthrough Prize will be. The guidelines for the Prize are quite broad compared to other similar awards and can recognize any person for significant accomplishments or contributions to life sciences, fundamental physics or mathematics. A person can win the award more than once, and there are no age restrictions for nominees.

During the nomination period, anyone can nominate a candidate for the Breakthrough Prize.

Last Year’s Breakthrough Prize Winners

The Breakthrough Prize Foundation announced at the beginning of September that it had selected its winners for 2022. The total amount awarded exceeded $15M, distributed between Breakthrough Prize winners, New Horizons Prize winners, and the winners of the Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Prize.

Winners of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences 2022

  • Shankar Balasubramanian
  • David Klenerman
  • Katalin Karikó
  • Jeffery W. Kelly
  • Pascal Mayer
  • Drew Weissman

Winner of the Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics 2022

  • Takuro Mochizuki

Winners of the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics 2022

  • Hidetoshi Katori
  • Jun Ye

Special recognition for advances in science and medicine as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic was also given by the Foundation. Winners of the Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman were honored for their massively valuable contributions to the future of human health with their development of the mRNA vaccine. This breakthrough vaccine technology not only helped save millions of people from dying of COVID-19 across the globe, but it also holds significant future promise for conditions like HIV and AIDS.

Jeffery Kelly also received accolades for his work in health sciences over the past few years illustrating how protein aggregation causes neurodegeneration, which is not only useful for patients with amyloid diseases but also for neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The Foundation also recognized Hidetoshi Katori and Jun Ye for their work on quantum optical lattice clocks, which improved the accuracy with which humans can measure time by three orders of magnitude. Takuro Mochizuki was honored for his contributions to algebraic geometry after broadening the comprehension of holonomic D-molecules to include versions with singularities, effectively solving every long-term basic conjecture in that field.

About Yuri Milner

Yuri Milner is an entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, and physicist and is a co-founder of the Breakthrough Prize along with his wife Julia, who also joined the Giving Pledge with her husband.

His investment firm, DST Global, is a highly influential venture capital firm across the globe and has invested in widely known brands like Twitter, Spotify, Groupon, Strype, Airbnb, WhatsApp, Zocdoc, and many more. Yuri has three daughters and lives in Los Altos Hills, California, with his family.