back to article Russian tech baron shocks physicists with £3m cash wad

A Russian social-network billionaire has set up a foundation to hand out the biggest prizes in physics history to nine lucky theoretical physicists every year. Yuri Milner, who's made his billions by founding and going on to invest in web firms like Twitter, Spotify and Facebook, started up the foundation and handed …


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  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    I wionder how many physicists ignored the email?

    Just imagine. You get an email from <somewhere>.ru with a title Congratulations: You have won $3 Million. How many people would read that?

    Maybe it's time to start paying a little more attention to my spam folder

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: I wionder how many physicists ignored the email?

      Hi, Pete 2,

      I wonder how many metaphysicians send them cryptic emails with enigmatic offers betatesting for advanced future virtual intelligence in top notch executive administrative systems into Power Generation and Distribution with Cyber Command and Control of Clouds and CHAOS [Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems] .... 4 Yuri Milner and Alisher Usmanov 2

      And Vladimir Putin in UKGBNI today, too, eyeing up Olympian talent. Hmmm? :-)

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Many of those words made sense on their own

    but when joined together, my brain melted!

    Congrats for the boffin-gongs.

  3. TeeCee Gold badge

    "...the study of wall-crossing phenomena."

    Is this a generic area of barrier / transiting object study of which roads and chickens is a special case?

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: "...the study of wall-crossing phenomena."

      As always in physics, observing the event is relatively easy. The really tricky bit is interpreting causality: why?

  4. David Ward 1

    would have been better if he had put the money towards funding some actual reasearch, especially in the UK where the government has decided everything needs a 3 year plan to create a new business or it isn't worth doing!

  5. tony2heads

    What about the workers

    Sorry that should be experimental and observational physicists

    I'll get my lab coat

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Seems to know which side the bread is buttered on.


    (anonymous 'cause I dig the mask)

  7. oshiewan

    What about Sheldon Cooper?

    1. Thorne

      "What about Sheldon Cooper?"

      I'm sure he's bagged more than $3M already

  8. Philius

    unless they all nominate each other

    What a great testament this is about physics, science and the educational system in general!

    Even if the board members were above reproach, the lack of links to the works of the winning researchers does mean that joe public can't expect any dosh for an ephiphany while on the throne.

    I wish someone would explain to me how this "closed shop" attitude works towards the advancement of any field of interest.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mmmm anyons, do they have a good flavor? :P

  10. mhenriday

    What strikes me as interesting about this prize

    is that in choosing the first awardees, Yuri Borisovich Milner was willing to go out on a limb and give prizes to researchers whose theories have not (yet ?) been validated (to the degree that any theory can be said to be validated). Sort of like awarding a prize to Peter Ware Higgs, Robert Brout, François Englert & Co for the Higgs mechanism/boson back in, say, 1970. It will be interesting to see whether awardees themselves, who will choose future rounds of prize winners, will dare to be so bold....


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