It’s purpose: “Advancing our knowledge of the Universe at the deepest level.”
How cool. One thing that separates humanity from other species is our desire to understand how the world around us works. This isn’t always a practical pursuit, and it needs the help of wealthy people like Milner.
To kick things off, the foundation is awarding nine Fundamental Physics Prizes of $3 million each.
- Nima Arkani-Hamed – The youngest prize-winner. He proposed the idea of extra dimensions.
- Alan Guth and Andrei Linde – Known for their work on “inflationary cosmology,” a theory of how the universe expanded in size the short few instances after its creation.
- Alexei Kitaev – Known for his work in quantum computing, where the hope is that computers will move beyond the binary and be able to solve problems it could never solve through 1s and 0s.
- Maxim Kontsevich – Known for bridging math and physics.
- Juan Maldacena – An Argentinian who invented the idea that we could view the entire world as hologram, that things are measurable from the outside.
- Nathan Seiberg and Ashoke Sen – Accomplished physicists.
- Edward Witten – The father of string theories.
The Foundation will award two prizes going forward on an annual basis, the $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize and the $100,000 New Horizons In Physics Price. This year’s winners will pick next year’s winners, and so on.