Yesterday, November 9, California held its annual Breakthrough Prize Awards for outstanding achievements in science and medicine. 12 scientists received three million dollars each.
The Breakthrough Prize differs from the Nobel Prize by the fact that it is awarded to young researchers, those who have just started their scientific careers.
Jennifer Dudna from the U.S. and Emmanuel Charpentier from Germany received biomedical award for the discovery of the Crispr/Cas9 mechanism, which protects the bacteria from virus attacks. Their product detects viruses by DNA and produces Cas9 enzyme, acting as a pair of scissors, cutting through the genetic material of the aggressor. However, the scientists have found that with the help of Crispr/Cas9 it is possible to rewrite the defective human DNA, replacing damaged genes with healthy ones.
Also the Prize was awarded to four biologists, Frenchman Alim Louis Benabid – for the development of deep brain stimulation procedure (Deep Brain Stimulation, DBS), which has revolutionized the treatment of Parkinson"s disease, Americans David Allis, Gary Ruvkun and Victor Ambros – for the works in the field of gene regulation.
The Breakthrough Prize in fundamental physics was awarded to Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, Adam Riess and 48 their colleagues on the project, who have already won the Nobel Prize in 2011 for the study proving the accelerated expansion of the Universe.
The French scientist of Russian origin Maxim Kontsevich, the Englishmen Simon Donaldson, Richard Taylor, the US-Australian scientist Terry Tao of Chinese origin and the American Jacob Lurie won the Breakthrough Prize in mathematics.
All winners of this year will be included in a special committee, which is to identify those who will receive the award in 2015.
It is to be recalled that the Breakthrough Prizes Awards was established in 2012 by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google founders Sergey Brin and his ex-wife Anna Wojcicki, and Yuri Milner (Mail.ru Group).
The main purpose of the award was popularization of scientific researches and giving scientists the status of real stars.