James McKernan

University of California, San Diego

2018 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics

For transformational contributions to birational algebraic geometry, especially to the minimal model program in all dimensions.


We are extremely honored and humbled to receive the Breakthrough Prize. I would like to thank my teachers and mentors, especially Joseph Harris, János Kollár, and Shigefumi Mori, for introducing me to many beautiful topics in mathematics, for inspiring me to do research in algebraic geometry, and for their support. We are indebted to our many colleagues and co-authors, especially C. Birkar and P. Cascini, whose work has greatly inspired us. I am also very grateful to the National Science Foundation, the NSA, Clay Foundation, and the Simons Foundation for their generous financial support. It is clear that the results that are being recognized by this prize are the crowning achievements of a long research program to which our co-authors and we have only contributed a small portion. In particular, we would like to mention the work of Y. Kawamata, J. Kollár, S. Mori, M. Reid, Y.-T. Siu, and V. Shokurov. We are very grateful to the Breakthrough Prize Committee for choosing to recognize this body of work. I would like to thank Elham Izadi and my family for their support, love, and encouragement.

James McKernan

Ceremony Acceptance Video

Breakthrough Prize Symposium Talks