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August 02, 2012

New $3 million prizes in Fundamental Physics

Yuri Milner, who made $1 billion from investments in Facebook, Twitter, Zynga and Groupon, has awarded nine initial prizes worth $3 million each to recognize advances in the field of fundamental physics, dealing with the basic laws of nature.

The nine winners will now form a committee to select a winner, or winners, for next year, Milner said.

Two categories of prizes will be awarded for past achievements in the field of fundamental physics, with the aim of providing the recipients with more freedom and opportunity to pursue even greater future accomplishments.

The Fundamental Physics Prize recognizes transformative advances in the field, while the New Horizons in Physics Prizes are targeted at promising junior researchers. All prize recipients are invited to present public talks targeted at a general audience, on subjects ranging from the basics of modern physics to cutting-edge research.

These lectures, together with supporting materials, will be made available to the public, allowing them to keep abreast of the latest developments in fundamental physics, guided by contemporary masters of the field.

The Milner Foundation has awarded nine Fundamental Physics Prizes and the recipients are:

* Nima Arkani-Hamed
* Alan Guth
* Alexei Kitaev
* Maxim Kontsevich
* Andrei Linde
* Juan Maldacena
* Nathan Seiberg
* Ashoke Sen
* Edward Witten




Nima Arkani-Hamed — For original approaches to outstanding problems in particle physics, including the proposal of large extra dimensions, new theories for the Higgs boson, novel realizations of supersymmetry, theories for dark matter, and the exploration of new mathematical structures in gauge theory scattering amplitudes.

Alan Guth — For the invention of inflationary cosmology, and for his contributions to the theory for the generation of cosmological density fluctuations arising from quantum fluctuations in the early universe, and for his ongoing work on the problem of defining probabilities in eternally inflating spacetimes.

Alexei Kitaev — For the theoretical idea of implementing robust quantum memories and fault-tolerant quantum computation using topological quantum phases with anyons and unpaired Majorana modes.

Maxim Konstevich — For numerous contributions which have taken the fruitful interaction between modern theoretical physics and mathematics to new heights, including the development of homological mirror symmetry, and the study of wall-crossing phenomena.

Andrei Linde — For the development of inflationary cosmology, including the theory of new inflation, eternal chaotic inflation and the theory of inflationary multiverse, and for contributing to the development of vacuum stabilization mechanisms in string theory.

Juan Maldacena — For the gauge/gravity duality, relating gravitational physics in a spacetime and quantum field theory on the boundary of the spacetime. This correspondence demonstrates that black holes and quantum mechanics are compatible, resolving the black hole information paradox. It also provides a useful tool for the study of strongly coupled quantum systems, giving insights into a range of problems from high temperature nuclear matter to high temperature superconductors.

Nathan Seiberg — For major contributions to our understanding of quantum field theory and string theory. His exact analysis of supersymmetric quantum field theories led to new and deep insights about their dynamics, with fundamental applications in physics and mathematics.

Ashoke Sen — For uncovering striking evidence of strong-weak duality in certain supersymmetric string theories and gauge theories, opening the path to the realization that all string theories are different limits of the same underlying theory.

Edward Witten — For contributions to physics spanning topics such as new applications of topology to physics, non perturbative duality symmetries, models of particle physics derived from string theory, dark matter detection, and the twistor-string approach to particle scattering amplitudes, as well as numerous applications of quantum field theory to mathematics.



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