A record 12 Breakthrough Prizes were awarded to scientists in three categories: mathematics, life sciences and fundamental physics.

The award was created two years ago, and is backed by Russian billionaire venture capitalist Yuri Milner, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and other prominent tech industry figures.

It’s goal? To bring excitement to scientific accomplishments. Yeah, $3 million per prize will definitely add some excitement.

“Most of our time is spent on mundane matters,” Yuri Milner said. “Tonight we thought about the molecules of life, the structure of prime numbers, and the fate of the Universe. It was an uplifting occasion for everyone.”

This year was the first to honor achievements in mathematics. 5 prizes were handed out in work ranging from analytic number theory to breakthrough results in the theory of automorphic forms.

Other awards were given to scientists specializing in Life Sciences and Physics.

Hollywood added some flair to the 2nd Annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony. Kate Beckinsale, Cameron Diaz, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jon Hamm and others were on hand as presenters. Seth MacFarlane hosted yesterday’s ceremony.

“We’re so glad that you all suck at sports,” MacFarlane quipped to the scientists in attendance.

“This year’s life sciences laureates have made some spectacular discoveries, from a new kind of gene to a Parkinson’s treatment that has improved the lives of many,” Anne Wojcicki said. “It’s energizing to be in the company of such brilliant and fertile minds.”

There’s still a few more awards to go out. Today, The Breakthrough Prize Symposia will be held at Stanford University. Talks from last night’s winners and leading scientists will be featured. Seven more awards will be given out for junior researchers in physics. The New Horizons Physics Prize will net each winner $100,000.

It’s great to see intelligent folks not in Silicon Valley get recognition for their work.

You can read details about each winner’s work here.

Image credit: Reuters

When I’m not playing Rocket League (best game ever), you can find me writing about all things games, space and more. You can reach me at alex@newsledge.com

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