Knowledge is humanity’s greatest asset. It defines our nature, and it will shape our future.
The body of knowledge is assembled over centuries. Yet a single mind can extend it immensely. Einstein reimagined space and time. Darwin distilled the chaos of life to a single idea. Turing figured out what it means to think.
Great scientists enrich us all. They enable technologies that ease our lives, but they also show us what’s beyond our horizons.
Science is revealing worlds far beyond the everyday scale, from the subatomic and cellular to the stellar and galactic. Increasingly we can think at these levels and trace the connections between them. And as we do, we are making progress on the truly big questions. Questions like:
Why is there something rather than nothing?
What is the Universe made of?
How did life begin?
How can matter think?
How much is knowable?
The disciplines that ask the biggest questions and find the deepest explanations are the fundamental sciences. The Breakthrough Prizes honor important, primarily recent, achievements in the categories of Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences and Mathematics.
The prizes were founded by Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Yuri and Julia Milner, and Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang. Committees of previous laureates choose the winners from candidates nominated in a process that’s online and open to the public.
Laureates receive $3 million each in prize money. They attend a televised award ceremony designed to celebrate their achievements and inspire the next generation of scientists. As part of the ceremony schedule, they also engage in a program of lectures and discussions. Those that go on to make fresh discoveries remain eligible for future Breakthrough Prizes.