MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) — The 7th annual Breakthrough Prize Awards–also known as the “Oscars of Science”–were held Sunday evening at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View.
The event honored the best in science, physics and mathematics on a night featuring Silicon Valley big shots and Hollywood A-listers.
The Breakthrough Prize Awards are sponsored by Mark Zuckerberg and Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner. The event was hosted by Pierce Brosnan.
Some notable celebrity appearances included actress Lupita Nyong’o, director Ron Howard and actor Orlando Bloom among many others.
They walked the red carpet alongside tech superstars, such as former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and the power-packed Wojcicki sisters–Anne is the CEO of 23 And Me while Susan is the CEO of YouTube.
Singer Lana del Rey was at the event as well.
“Yeah, believing in a little bit of magic, in that thoughts become things, and I think for a while, I waited for people to find me, and then I realized that so much of making things happen is about taking action,” she said.
Golden State Warriors owner and venture capitalist Joe Lacob was among the audience.
“I think it’s great that we have this, so much of the world is altered by things that go on in this valley and other places in technology, and I think for some of these scientists to get recognized is a great thing. It impacts the world in a lot of ways, might as well recognize them,” said Lacob.
Superstar Lionel Richie provided a live musical performance at the event.
A total of $22 million went to the world’s top scientists. Each $3 million prize went to researchers in life sciences, fundamental physics and mathematics. One of this year’s winners was Aron Wall, a gravitational research scientist at Stanford University’s Institute for Theoretical Physics.
Wall, a Mountain View native, won the prestigious Breakthrough New Horizons In Physics Prize.
Breakthrough Prize also honored young scientists. This year, the top winner received $250,000 for a college scholarship. $100,000 will go to the student’s school lab and $50,000 will go to the student’s professor.