Science’s richest prizes, the Breakthrough Awards, were presented at a star-studded ceremony in California last night.

Science’s richest prizes, the Breakthrough Awards, were presented at a star-studded ceremony in California last night. Seven prizes, each worth $3 million, were awarded to a total of 34 scientists and mathematicians in three categories — fundamental physics, life sciences and mathematics.

In physics, the big cash went to the 27 members of the team that mapped the temperature of cosmic microwave background using NASA’s WMAP satellite. The pattern of hot and cold spots in this radiation leftover from the big bang 13.7 billion years ago has advanced our understanding of the origins and the evolution of the universe and transformed cosmology into a precision science.

Christopher Hacon at the University of Utah and James McKernan at the University of California San Diego share the Breakthrough Prize in mathematics for their contributions to algebraic geometry. This field

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