CRF Blog

Tech Billionaires Spend Millions on ‘Science Oscars’

by Bill Hayes

In Tech Billionaires Spend Millions on ‘Science Oscars,’ Bloomberg Businessweek reports on the Breakthrough Prizes.

[Russian investor Yuri] Milner, along with Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google (GOOG) co-founder Sergey Brin, and Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma — combined net worth: about $52 billion — have for the past year tried to turn scientists into celebrities. At the end of 2012, they began handing out Breakthrough Prizes, awards of $3 million given to people working out some of the toughest questions in physics and the life sciences. On Dec. 12 the group announced a second group of winners, and the addition in 2014 of a math prize, at a ceremony held at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. The usual technology moguls showed up, and so did Hollywood celebrities including Glenn Close, Anna Kendrick, Rob Lowe, and Kevin Spacey. It was an unlikely group assembled to fete some of the leading experts in intracellular protein degradation and deep brain stimulation. [more]