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Breakthrough Prizes give $22M to science pioneers

Breakthrough Prize ceremony
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Russian billionaire investor Yuri Milner speak onstage during a Breakthrough Prize awards ceremony in 2016. (Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize / Kimberly White)

The program known as the “Oscars of Science” has revealed who’ll be getting the spotlight — and almost $22 million in awards — at next month’s Breakthrough Prize ceremony in Silicon Valley.

The Breakthrough Prize Foundation and its sponsors listed nine researchers as recipients of the Breakthrough Prize for important achievements in the life sciences, fundamental physics and mathematics, plus 12 early-career scientists who’ll be getting New Horizon Prizes.

Each of the Breakthrough Prizes is worth $3 million, which exceeds the $1.1 million cash value of the longer-running Nobel Prize. Each New Horizon Prize is worth $100,000. In some cases, multiple researchers share the prize.

The Breakthrough Prize program, now in its seventh year, is sponsored by Russian billionaire investor Yuri Milner and his wife, Julia; Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan; Google co-founder Sergey Brin; 23andMe CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki; and Tencent Holdings CEO and co-founder Ma Huateng.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, 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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