The Breakthrough Prize Foundation on Sunday announced in San Francisco the winners of the 2018 Breakthrough Prizes in fundamental physics, life sciences and mathematics, together with several other prizes to encourage young scientists.
The announcement was made at an annual event held in Silicon Valley in San Francisco in the western U.S. state of California.
The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was awarded to Charles Bennett from Johns Hopkins University, Gary Hinshaw from the University of British Columbia, and three scientists from Princeton University, Norman Jarosik, Lyman Page Jr. and David N. Spergel, to recognize their major insights into the deepest questions of the universe.
The prize in life sciences went to Joanne Chory from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Don W. Cleveland from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of California, San Diego, Kazutoshi Mori from Kyoto University, Kim Nasmyth from the University of Oxford, and Peter Walter from the University of California, San Francisco.
The prize honors the biologists' transformative advances toward understanding living systems and extending human life, and the work that contributes to the understanding of neurological diseases.
The foundation awarded the prize in mathematics to Christopher Hacon from the University of Utah, and James McKernan from the University of California, San Diego, to recognize their major advances in the field as the best mathematicians in the world.
"It is always the right time to celebrate great scientists," said Internet investor and science philanthropist Yuri Milner, who is one of the sponsors of the Breakthrough Prize. "All of our futures depend on them."
For the sixth year, the Breakthrough Prizes, the most generous science awards, were presented to recognize the contributions of the world's top scientists, with each prize amounting to 3 million U.S. dollars.
"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 and Facebook 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," Zuckerberg said.
In addition, two separate third-prize awards in new horizons in physics and new horizons in mathematics were given to six young researchers to encourage them to explore new scientific progress in their future studies.
The New Horizons in Physics Prize was shared by Christopher Hirata from Ohio State University, Andrea Young from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Douglas Stanford from the Institute for Advanced Study at Stanford University.
The New Horizons in Mathematics Prize was awarded to Aaron Naber from Northwestern University, Maryna Viazovska from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Zhiwei Yun from Yale University, and Wei Zhang from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University.
This year, a total of 22 million dollars was awarded to the recipients of the 2018 Breakthrough Prize.
Since its inception in 2012, the Breakthrough Prizes, dubbed "the Oscars of Science," have awarded close to 200 million dollars to honor paradigm-shifting research in fundamental physics, life sciences and mathematics.
Ma Huateng, also known as Pony Ma, chairman of China's Tencent company, will join as one of its founding sponsors, the foundation announced on Dec. 1.