MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) — The glitter was bright Sunday night as stars from Hollywood, Science and the Silicon Valley gathered in Mountain View for the annual Breakthrough Prizes.
The event — founded by Tech titans Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, and Yuri and Julia Milner — honors the most innovative, ground breaking and transformative research being done in the fields of math, science and medicine.
But instead of a golden statue, the winners Sunday night took home $22 million in cash awards. A total of seven Breakthrough Prizes were given, each worth $3 million.
Three $100,000 New Horizons in Physics Prizes were also given out to three early-career physicists and three New Horizons in Mathematics Prizes totaling $300,000 were awarded to four early-career mathematicians.
To add glitter to the event, organizers brought in many of the entertainment industry’s top performers. Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman was the host, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Kerry Washington and Mayim Bialik were among the presenters.
Hip hop artist Wiz Khalifa teamed up with Nana Ou-Yang for a special musical performance.
“I think its so special to be here,” Washington said. “We celebrate ourselves a lot in Hollywood so it’s nice to be a part of an evening where we are shifting the spotlight and the focus to people who are doing really important work in the sciences.”
Zuckerberg said the evening served as a source of inspiration.
“The world needs their (the winner) inspiration, and their reminder that even though it doesn’t always feel that way, we are making steady progress toward building a better future for everyone,” he said.
The 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences was awarded to Joanne Chory (Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Howard Hughes Medical Institute), Don W. Cleveland (Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at University of California, San Diego), Kazutoshi Mori (Kyoto University), Kim Nasmyth (University of Oxford) and Peter Walter (University of California, San Francisco).
The 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was awarded to Charles L. Bennett (Johns Hopkins University), Gary Hinshaw (University of British Columbia), Norman Jarosik (Princeton University), Lyman Page Jr. (Princeton University), and David N. Spergel (Princeton University).
The 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics was given to Christopher Hacon (University of Utah) and James McKernan (University of California, San Diego).