Six years ago, tech investor Yuri Milner and several others, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google co-founder Sergey Brin, began shining a spotlight on science advancement with an annual awards show.
This year's Breakthrough Prize presented a total of $22 million to the world's top—and emerging—life scientists, physicists and mathematicians.
"Fundamental science is the bedrock of technological advancement," said Tencent Holdings co-founder Pony Ma (also known as Ma Huateng). "I believe the Breakthrough Prize can reinforce the bridge within the global community of researchers and mathematicians, facilitating mutual sharing between the East and West. In physics, life sciences or mathematics, the international science community is bringing the world closer together." Ma recently became a founding sponsor of the Breakthrough Prize.
Seven $3 million prizes were awarded—five in life sciences, one in fundamental physics and one in mathematics—and six New Horizons in Physics and Mathematics prizes of $100,000 were granted to scientists in their early career.
The one Breakthrough Junior prize was presented to 18-year-old Hillary Andales of the Philippines for her video called "Relativity & The Equivalence of Reference Frames." The prize entails up to $250,000 in scholarship funds, $50,000 for her science teacher, as well as a brand-new science lab for her school. The lab will be designed in partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a private non-profit research institute in New York.
This year's event was hosted by actor Morgan Freeman at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. It was televised on National Geographic, and, for the first time, it was also streamed on Facebook and YouTube platforms.