Some of the world’s greatest scientists won the Breakthrough Prizes for their amazing discoveries.
There are many awards and award ceremonies throughout the world. The Razzies, the Academy Awards and the Emmies are just three examples. But did you know that the Breakthrough Awards are in honor of the most brilliant of scientists and discoverers?
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The tradition for this prize ceremony was laid by Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Yuri and Julia Milner and last but not least Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang.
The awards are meant for those whose discoveries and inventions mean a lot for the future of humanity. But they rarely get recognized by the world at large due to its herd instinct mentality.
The problem seems to be that laws cannot be patented while the inventions and discoveries linked to them can be. Therein is the rub and here lies the crux of the matter. A good example of this is Marconi who earned lots of cash from his invention which was of course the radio.
But Maxwell and Hertz who were the discoverers of radio waves go unrecognized by mainstream culture due to its blinkers. It is in honor of such uncrowned high achievers and outliers that these awards have been instituted.
The Breakthrough Prizes are worth $3 million each and they are awarded in the categories of life sciences, mathematics and physics. The initial trendsetters and trailblazers not to mention pioneers are often ignored or given a pittance by society. Many such as Tesla even tend to be forgotten as eccentrics although their contribution was greater than others who were just lucky.
More people who actually change the lenses through which we see things ought to receive recognition and accolades for their untiring and relentless efforts. Our conformist and conservative society can be cruel sometimes and filter out those who do not recognize some of its blind spots. It is here that the Breakthrough Prizes tend to come in handy.
Mark Zuckerberg is especially quite vocal when it comes to this matter of unrecognized genius. He is against conventions and wants knowledge to keep expanding no matter what. Some of the limits we take for granted exist only in the mind. The life science awards for this year went to Karl Deisseroth and Ed Boyden. Their work in opto-genetics is of immense value.
“By challenging conventional thinking and expanding knowledge over the long term, scientists can solve the biggest problems of our time,” said Mark Zuckerberg. “The Breakthrough Prize honors achievements in science and math so we can encourage more pioneering research and celebrate scientists as the heroes they truly are.”
Helen Hobbs and John Hardy not to mention Svante Paabo also received prizes in the life sciences category. In mathematics, it was Ian Agol. Meanwhile, in physics it was Takaaki Kajita, Yoichiro Suzuki, Yifang Wang, Kam-Biu Luk, Koichiro Nishikawa, Arthur B. McDonald and Atsuto Suzuki. These fine fellows are the light of the world and they are the hope for the future.
“Breakthrough Prize laureates are making fundamental discoveries about the universe, life and the mind,” Yuri Milner said. “These fields of investigation are advancing at an exponential pace, yet the biggest questions remain to be answered.”
Laureates took the stage at the 3rd Annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony, an exclusive gala co-hosted by founders Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang, Yuri and Julia Milner, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. Seth MacFarlane was the host of the show, which featured a performance by Pharrell Williams.
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“This year’s laureates have all opened up ways of understanding ourselves,” said Anne Wojcicki. “In the life sciences, they have pushed forward new ideas about Alzheimer’s, cholesterol, neurological imaging and the origins of our species. And for that we celebrate them.”