This year’s recipients of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize, which recognizes outstanding contributions in science and mathematics, will be honored live on National Geographic Channel tonight, November 8th at 10/9c. The third-annual ceremony will be hosted by Emmy-nominated Cosmos executive producer and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, with a special performance by ten-time Grammy Award winner Pharrell Williams. Presenters include Academy Award winner Russell Crowe, Academy Award winner Hilary Swank, Lily Collins, Kate Hudson, Christina Aguilera, and Thomas Middleditch and Martin Starr of HBO’s Silicon Valley.
We’ll be streaming live on Periscope from the Red Carpet starting tonight at 8:30/7:30c (5:30p PT local time in San Francisco).
The prize’s past winners have spanned many fields within physics, life sciences, and mathematics since its inception in 2012, and all of them have revolutionized their fields through their discoveries.
Last year’s honorees represent a huge variety of scientific fields and discoveries, covering the farthest reaches of the universe all the way to hidden corners of the human brain. In physics, 2015 winners from the Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-z Supernova Search Team have added greatly to our understanding that the universe’s expansion is accelerating, rather than slowing down, as 20th century physicists had long believed. These discoveries add to a body of work in physics that dates back to the days of Edwin Hubble, the pioneering astronomer who discovered the fact of the expanding universe in 1929 (and for whom the famous Hubble Space Telescope is named).
In the life sciences, the 2015 prizes were awarded for work in neurology, specifically for treatment of Parkinson’s disease, and several sub-specialties of genetics. These sub-fields include the mechanisms behind gene expression, genome editing, and lesser-known storehouses of genetic information such as microRNA. All of these discoveries have been applauded for both their pure scientific ingenuity and for their future usefulness to medical and biological research. In mathematics, last year’s five prizewinners span a huge variety of disciplines, all of which will be explored in greater depth during the Breakthrough Prize ceremony.
The Breakthrough Prize recognizes the rock stars of the science world, bringing together the heaviest hitters in modern research for one night each year. In the past, the Prize has been awarded for work on topics like black holes and quantum mechanics, string theory, strides toward creating a unified “theory of everything” in physics, stem cells, genomic instability and cancer, and many more.
Another mission of the Breakthrough Prize is to inspire a future generation of scientists, both by demonstrating the enormous scope of the research world and by increasing social support and enthusiasm for the sciences and mathematics. This year, for the first time since its founding, the Breakthrough Prize ceremony will include the Breakthrough Junior Challenge for students. An award of $400,000 in educational prizes will be given to a student for creating a video that most elegantly presents a scientific or mathematical principle. The winner will be announced during tonight’s live broadcast.
For more information, visit breakthroughprize.org and join us tonight, Sunday Nov. 8th, for the live broadcast of the Breakthrough Prize at 10/9c only on National Geographic Channel. A condensed one-hour version of the show will be presented on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 7-9 pm ET/PT on FOX.