Yuri Milner’s Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation announced today the process by which future winners of the $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize will be chosen (for more about this, see here), a process which involves setting up yet another prize, the Physics Frontiers Prize. The idea is that by the end of the year, the Selection Committee of previous prize winners will pick three winners of the new Physics Frontiers Prize, and these will be the candidates for the 2013 $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize. One of the three will get the $3 million, the other two will get $300,000 and automatically renominated for the $3 million prize each year over the next 5 years. So, I guess you might not want to win immediately, since if you get passed over the first time, you might end up with $3.3 million instead of $3 million.
There’s also a separate $100,000 New Horizons in Physics Prize “targeted at promising junior researchers”. Nominations for these two categories of prizes can be made by going to the Fundamental Physics Prize website.
The press release quotes Nima Arkani-Hamed, member of the Selection Committee as:
This is a tremendous opportunity to recognize the highest levels of achievement in fundamental physics. We look forward to receiving nominations for outstanding candidates ranging across all areas of the field.
Arkani-Hamed is in India, where an interview with him appeared today (hat-tip an e-mail from him to Lubos Motl), with comments about the Milner prizes:
I really think it’s a fantastic thing for Physics—to have a showcase every year where scientists get to talk about the exciting aspects of the subject. I don’t think any physicist or scientists are motivated to research by the thought of a prize or the money involved in it. But, it definitely helps in creating awareness among the youngsters, and encourages more people to take up the subject.
There are people trying to figure out the indirect effects between the different Higgs like particles. These are very difficult experiments and will take another 20 years before any confirmation is reached.
the future of particle physics:
What’s going on in particle physics is not just the evolution of the standard model but the rise of a new branch of physics that can solve some of the age old problems. Super symmetry is a very good example of what this physics should look like. For the first time we will have some evidence that there’s actually really fine adjustments of the parameters of fundamental physics hardwired into the way nature works. This will be very shocking for many people and teach us something profound.
and string theory:
In late 1990s one of the most important theoretical discoveries was that string theory and particle physics are not different but different descriptions of the same thing. All the good viable ideas people have had in the past 40 years are now branched together to seek the truth.
Update: Haaretz reports that Witten “said he would probably donate part of the $3 million he won in a surprise award to J Street, the liberal pro-Israel group.”
Please note that any attempts to pursue, from either side, the Arab-Israeli conflict on my blog’s comment section will be immediately deleted.
Update: Just realized that the Witten/J Street news is rather old, from shortly after the announcement of the original prizes. I didn’t hear about it at the time, curious if there’s other news about what plans the prize winner have for their winnings.