Breakthrough Prize program awards $25 million

Black hole merger

An artist’s conception shows the merger of two black holes, which gives off a burst of gravitational waves. The detection of such waves won researchers one of this year’s Breakthrough Prizes. (SXS Graphic)

A program that’s richer than the Nobels rewarded more than a dozen researchers tonight with Breakthrough Prize awards amounting to $25.4 million in all.

The Breakthrough Prize program was founded in 2012 with support from such tech luminaries as Google co-founder Sergei Brin and his wife, Anne Wojcicki (23andMe); Russian entrepreneur-investor Yuri Milner and his wife, Julia Milner, and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan (also known for her part in the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative).

Since then, more than $200 million has been handed out.

The backers of the Breakthrough Prizes are allied with several science-boosting Breakthrough Initiatives, including efforts to detect signals from extraterrestrial civilizations and send nanoprobes to the Alpha Centauri star system.

Most of tonight’s winners were revealed during a ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley – with Morgan Freeman, star of the “Through the Wormhole” science documentary series, serving as host.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Award-winning science writer, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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