Three MIT researchers were honored this week in a star-studded, televised ceremony for the Breakthrough Prizes, which go to “important, primarily recent, achievements” in fundamental physics, life sciences, and math. The 2016 Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences, worth $3 million each, went to five scientists including Edward Boyden, associate professor of media arts and sciences, biological engineering, and brain and cognitive sciences. Boyden received the award for his work developing optogenetics.
Mathematician Larry Guth and physicist Liang Fu each won a New Horizons prize, worth $100,000. Guth (whose father Alan won a Breakthrough Prize in 2012, the inaugural year) was honored for his “ingenious and surprising solutions to long standing open problems in symplectic geometry, Riemannian geometry, harmonic analysis, and combinatorial geometry.” Fu and two other physicists won for their “outstanding contributions to condensed matter physics, especially involving the use of topology to understand new states of matter.”
The prizes were founded by Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang, Yuri and Julia Milner, and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. This year’s ceremony, which aired on the National Geographic Channel (and will rerun on Fox later this month), was hosted by Seth McFarlane and featured appearances by Pharrell Williams, Russell Crowe, and Hilary Swank, among others.
Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.