The prize was awarded (by the actor who played Stephen Hawking), in a Hollywood-style awards ceremony (see here) to the 51 members of the two teams responsible for the supernova data showing that the universe is accelerating, with the 2011 Nobel Prize Winners (Perlmutter, Schmidt and Riess) specifically cited as the leaders. I gather the 51 people split the $3 million, so each get around $60K. This is interestingly different than the previous prizes, which mostly went to a small number of string theorists for research that hasn’t worked out very well (my prediction of an award to Polchinski, the runner-up for the past two years, was quite wrong). I’m quite curious what caused the change of policy here. The only previous prize for experimental work in physics was a special award for the Higgs discovery, and that went to the experiment spokespersons, not to all the physicists involved (which was controversial at the time).
Anyway, quite interesting and surprising, kind of an about face from theory to experiment, and from rewarding just leaders to recognizing full collaborations.
Update: More here. It seems that the $3 million is not split equally among everyone involved, but that half goes to each of the two teams, and for each team, one third of their winnings goes to their leaders (all to Perlmutter in one case, split equally by Riess and Schmidt in the other).
Video from the ceremony here.
Update: For more details about the ceremony, there’s Vanity Fair. I had heard that relatively few actual scientists were getting invited (and no one really wanted to hear from the mathematicians…). It does seem that a big motivation here is to bring Silicon Valley guys and Hollywood/music biz women together for a party:
Christina Aguilera, who performed during the event, also noticed a difference between tech types and her entertainment-industry colleagues: “Through Yuri, I’ve been hanging out with the Google guys, Facebook guys. I find them all to be so down to earth. It’s really refreshing.”
Unlikely duos chatted over a dinner of lasagna and chicken by the French Laundry’s Thomas Keller. Aguilera conversed with Twitter C.E.O. Dick Costolo. Elon Musk and Kate Beckinsale were instantly alight in each other’s company.