Twelve Breakthrough Prizes were announced at a formal awards gala held in the unofficial capital of the U.S. technology industry, commonly known as Silicon Valley. Among the winners were two teams of astronomers that discovered that expansion of the universe is accelerating, as opposed to slowing down.
Five mathematicians shared the first-ever Breakthrough Prizes in their field, while six scientists shared the Life Sciences Prizes for work on such topics as the regulation of genes and bacterial immunity.
Each of the 12 prizes is worth $3 million.
The Breakthrough Prizes were co-founded by Russian billionaire investor Yuri Milner, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Jack Ma and Cathy Zang of China’s online retailer Alibaba, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. According to its website, the prizes “aim to celebrate scientists and generate excitement about the pursuit of science as a career.”