Facebook CEO Zuckerberg Giving $3 Million Prizes to Mathematicians
By Julie S | Dec 14, 2013 11:04 AM EST
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with his partner Russian entrepreneur-philanthropist Yuri Milner announced Friday during an awarding for biomedical researchers that they plan to award $3 million to mathematicians as well.
The Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, as the award was aptly named, will be awarded to outstanding mathematicians who have achieved considerable and outstanding research in their chosen field beginning 2014. The winner will get $3 million which is much bigger than the prize given to Nobel Prize winners.
Yuri Milner told New York Times: “Einstein said, Pure mathematics is the poetry of logical ideas. It is in this spirit that Mark and myself are announcing a new Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The work that the Prize recognizes could be the foundation for genetic engineering, quantum computing or Artificial Intelligence; but above all, for human knowledge itself.”
However, the announcement has triggered criticisms about the academic initiatives. Some claim that the prizes for the “Fundamental Physics Prize” awards had biased targets to specific fields of physics study. One of the researches that bagged the prize was about biomedical research which intends to treat diseases mostly affecting developed countries. Further, all the winners were remarkably all-males.
Further, some physicists are hesitant to or don’t even attempt to join the research program because of the ill-effects of the awards and prizes. Unfortunately, these unimpressed physicists would not come out publicly to provide open criticisms perhaps because of negative implications to their career and personal lives.
For the new math award, Milner and Zuckerberg will be selecting the awardee/s but they will also be consulting with experts to ensure that the winners are deserving of the prize. They didn’t mention how many will receive the award.
The recent life sciences and physics awarding ceremony was held at the Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., co-hosted by Vanity Fair magazine and presided over by the actor Kevin Spacey.