Breakthrough Prizes recognize the world’s top scientists. Each prize is $3 million and presented in the fields of Life Sciences (up to four per year), Fundamental Physics (one per year) and Mathematics (one per year). In addition, up to three New Horizons in Physics and up to three New Horizons in Mathematics Prizes are given out to junior researchers each year. The Breakthrough Prizes are sponsored by Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, Ma Huateng, Yuri and Julia Milner, and Anne Wojcicki.
A Total of $22 Million Awarded for Breakthroughs in Treatment for the Leading Genetic Cause of Infant Death, Super-Resolution Imaging, Discovery of a New Kind of Electronic Material, and Other Major Achievements.
The discoveries recognized for the year 2018 include:
In the Life Sciences to C. Frank Bennett and Adrian R. Krainer were awarded for gene therapy drug, Spinraza, that treats Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a deadly infant disease.
Xiaowei Zhuang for super-resolution imaging technology that transcends traditional light microscopy revealing entirely new internal structures of cells.
Zhijian “James” Chen for the revelation of a mechanism by which cells detect foreign DNA and trigger an immune response, with implications for cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Angelika Amon for insight into how abnormal numbers of chromosomes are implicated in almost all cancers and can otherwise wreak havoc in the human body.
In Fundamental Physics to Charles Kane and Eugene Mele for mind-bending theoretical advances including the discovery of a new class of electronic materials that simultaneously conduct and resist electricity and could prove transformative for quantum computing.
In Mathematics to Vincent Lafforgue for elegant and groundbreaking contributions to the Langlands program in the function field case.