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Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation Announces Physics Frontiers and New Horizons in Physics Prizes Along With Two Special Prizes

NEW YORK and GENEVA, December 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --


Two $3,000,000 special Fundamental Physics Prizes have been awarded to Stephen Hawking and to seven scientists who led the effort to discover a Higgs-like particle at CERN's Large Hadron Collider

The winner of the 2013 Fundamental Physics Prize will be announced at a ceremony at CERN[i] on March 20, 2013

The Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation Selection Committee, which is comprised of prior recipients of the Fundamental Physics Prize and includes Nima Arkani-Hamed, Alan Guth, Alexei Kitaev, Maxim Kontsevich, Andrei Linde, Juan Maldacena, Nathan Seiberg, Ashoke Sen and Edward Witten, is pleased to announce:

1. The laureates of 2013 Physics Frontiers Prize are:

Charles Kane, Laurens Molenkamp and Shoucheng Zhang for the theoretical prediction and experimental discovery of topological insulators.

Alexander Polyakov for his many discoveries in field theory and string theory including the conformal bootstrap, magnetic monopoles, instantons, confinement/de-confinement, the quantization of strings in non-critical dimensions, gauge/string duality and many others. His ideas have dominated the scene in these fields during the past decades.

Joseph Polchinski for his contributions in many areas of quantum field theory and string theory.  His discovery of D-branes has given new insights into the nature of string theory and quantum gravity, with consequences including the AdS/CFT correspondence.


2. Laureates of the 2013 Physics Frontiers Prize will become nominees for the 2013 Fundamental Physics Prize. The winner of the Fundamental Physics Prize will be announced by the Selection Committee at a prize ceremony that will take place at CERN on March 20, 2013.

3. The Physics Frontiers Prize laureates who do not go on to be awarded the Fundamental Physics Prize will each receive $300,000 and will automatically be re-nominated for the Fundamental Physics Prize each year for the next 5 years.

4. The laureates of 2013 New Horizons in Physics Prize are:

Niklas Beisert for the development of powerful exact methods to describe a quantum gauge theory and its associated string theory.

Davide Gaiotto for far-reaching new insights about duality, gauge theory, and geometry, and especially for his work linking theories in different dimensions in most unexpected ways.

Zohar Komargodski for his work on the dynamics of four-dimensional field theories. In particular, his proof (with Schwimmer) of the "a-theorem" has solved a long-standing problem, leading to deep new insights.

Each of the laureates will receive $100,000.


5. In addition, the Selection Committee, foregoing the regular nomination process, announces the laureates of two Special Fundamental Physics Prizes of $3,000,000 each:

One to Stephen Hawking for his discovery of Hawking radiation from black holes, and his deep contributions to quantum gravity and quantum aspects of the early universe.

One to be shared by the leaders of the LHC project, CMS and ATLAS experiments from the time the LHC was approved by the CERN Council in 1994, including Peter Jenni, Fabiola Gianotti (ATLAS), Michel Della Negra, Tejinder Singh Virdee, Guido Tonelli, Joe Incandela (CMS) and Lyn Evans (LHC), for their leadership role in the scientific endeavour that led to the discovery of the new Higgs-like particle by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at CERN's Large Hadron Collider.

6. All prizes will be funded by the Milner Foundation

"Choosing this year's recipients from such a large pool of spectacular nominations was a very difficult task," said Nima Arkani-Hamed, a member of the Selection Committee. "The selected physicists have done transformative work spanning a wide range of areas in fundamental physics. I especially look forward to future breakthroughs from the first recipients of the New Horizons in Physics Prize." 

"It is a great honour for the LHC's achievement to be recognised in this way," said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer"This prize recognizes the work of everyone who has contributed to the project over many years. The Fundamental Physics Prize underlines the value of fundamental physics to society, and I am delighted that the Foundation has chosen to hold its first award ceremony at CERN."

"I am very much pleased with the decisions of the Selection Committee," commented Yuri Milner. "I hope that the prizes will bring further recognition to some of the most brilliant minds in the world and the great accomplishments they have produced."



About the Prizes

The Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation established by the Milner Foundation and dedicated to advancing our knowledge of the Universe at the deepest level by awarding annual prizes for scientific breakthroughs, as well as communicating the excitement of fundamental physics to the public. According to the Foundation's rules, laureates of all prizes are chosen by a Selection Committee, which is comprised of prior recipients of the Fundamental Physics Prize. The Selection Committee for the 2013 prizes is comprised of the following:

  • Nima Arkani-Hamed
  • Alan Guth
  • Alexei Kitaev
  • Maxim Kontsevich
  • Andrei Linde
  • Juan Maldacena
  • Nathan Seiberg
  • Ashoke Sen
  • Edward Witten

Information on the Fundamental Physics Prize is available at:

i. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its member states are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Romania is a candidate for accession. Israel and Serbia are associate members in the pre-stage to membership. India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have observer status.

Media Contacts

Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation:
Leonid Solovyev 

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