2023 Breakout Awards announced; $15.75 million awarded to the winners

The Breakthrough Award Foundation announced 2023 Prize winners, honoring scientists in three categories — basic physics, mathematics and life sciences — with the world’s most lucrative cash prizes for achievements in science.

At a cost of $3 million each, Sergey Brin founded the awards – sometimes referred to as the “Oscars of Science”. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg; Julia and Yuri Milner; and Anne Wojcicki, who have provided the foundation with financial support and awards since its inception over a decade ago.

Award winners are known as “winners” and, as part of their recognition, attend an award ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments and inspire the next generation of scholars. They also participate in a program of lectures and discussions and serve on selection committees to select subsequent laureates.

Three 2023 awards in the life sciences were awarded to:

  • Clifford B. BrangwynPrinceton University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Marine Biology Laboratory; And the Anthony A. HeymanMax Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics for their discovery of “an essential mechanism of cellular regulation mediated by phase separation of proteins and RNA into membraneless liquid droplets.”
  • Demis Hesabis and John Jumperdeep mind; To “develop a deep learning method for artificial intelligence that quickly and accurately predicts the 3D structure of proteins from their amino acid sequences.”
  • Emmanuel MinotStanford University School of Medicine and Masashi Yanagisawa, University of Tsukuba; “For the discovery that narcolepsy is caused by the loss of a small group of brain cells that make a substance that promotes wakefulness, paving the way for the development of new treatments for sleep disorders.”

The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was shared by four individuals for foundational work in the field of quantum information:

  • Charles H. BennettIBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center
  • Jill BrassardUniversity of Montreal
  • David GermanOxford university
  • Peter W. Schurwith

The 2023 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics has been awarded to:

  • Daniel A. SpielmanYale University for “contributions to theoretical computer science and mathematics, including spectral graph theory, the Cadison-Singer problem, numerical linear algebra, optimization, and coding theory.”

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In addition to the main awards, six New Horizons awards, each worth $100,000, are shared by 11 early-career scientists and mathematicians, chosen to make an early but fundamental impact on their fields.

Three Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Awards, each worth $50,000, have been awarded to female mathematicians who have recently completed their Ph.D. with significant results.

Three 2023 New Horizons in Physics Awards have won awards:

David Simmons DauphinCalifornia institute of technology

Anna GraslinoFermilab

Six scientists participated in the New Horizons Prize for developing optical tweezer arrays for use in quantum information science, metrology, and molecular physics.

  • By Hannes Bernie University of Chicago
  • Manuel AndresCalifornia institute of technology
  • Adam M KaufmanJILA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, University of Colorado
  • Kang Koen NeHarvard university
  • Hans BechlerThe University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • Jeff ThompsonPrinceton University

Three new 2023 Prizes in Mathematics have been awarded to:

  • Anna KarianiImperial College London and University of Bonn;
  • Ronen El DinWeizmann Institute of Science and Microsoft Research;
  • James Maynardand the University of Oxford and the Institute for Advanced Study.

The new Maryam Mirzakhani Awards 2023 have been awarded to:

  • Maggie MillerStanford University and Clay Mathematics Institute (PhD from Princeton University 2020);
  • Jinyoung ParkStanford University (PhD from Rutgers University 2020);
  • Vera TroupUniversity of Bonn (PhD from University of Bonn 2020).

The founders of the Breakthrough Prize praised this year’s winners for their outstanding contributions to basic science. “Congratulations to all the Breakthrough Prize winners, whose incredible discoveries will pave the way for scientific discovery and spur innovation,” Chan Zuckerberg initiative Founders and Co-CEOs Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg. “These awardees and early-career scholars are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in research and science, and we are thrilled to honor their achievements.”

“Breakthroughs in neurodegenerative diseases, quantum computing, protein structure in AI solution, and more…” said Sergey Brin.

“Today’s winners embody the wonderful power of basic science, to reveal profound truths about the universe, and to improve human lives,” said Yuri Milner.

“The 2023 award winners have produced a very impressive flag,” said Anne Wojcicki. “The creativity, ingenuity and perseverance that went into this work is amazing.”