Making a monumental scientific breakthrough is really kind of its own reward. Even so, it’s always nice to get extra recognition in the form of unexpected money. For the 347 scientists around the world who made history when they captured the first image of a black hole, the event itself is pretty sweet. The cake of notoriety recently gained some icing, because the group has been awarded a $3 million Breakthrough Prize.
The prize, known as “the Oscars of science”, was created eight years ago with the goal of furthering scientific advancements in the areas of physical science, mathematics, and life science. Created by tech investor Yuri Milner, the Breakthrough Prize is funded by other deep-pocketed notables like Sergey Brin and the Zuckerbergs. This year’s theme is “seeing the invisible”. Prizes will also be awarded for discoveries toward non-opioid pain relievers and the study of neuro-degenerative disorders.
Each of the black hole imaging scientists will receive $8,645.53 when the prize is awarded in a televised ceremony on November 3rd, which is going down at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA. In lieu of parading all 347 scientists across the stage, [Shep Doeleman] of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Director of the Event Horizon Telescope project, will accept the award on their behalf.
What exactly are black holes, and how did they come about? Explore their origins with [Will Sweatman] in this feature from 2018.
Black hole wire frame CC0 Public Domain via Phys.org
Black hole image via NASA