1 August 2012, 19:52

New Russian physics prize three times bigger than Nobel

New Russian physics prize three times bigger than Nobel

Excelling scientists should be paid even better than successful business executives. At least so says former Russian physicist, now Internet billionaire Yuri Milner. The Forbes Magazine estimates his wealth at around $1bn. On Tuesday, he announced his decision to use some of this tremendous fortune for paying prizes to excelling physicists.

From now on, there will be two annual Milner prizes. One will be awarded for fundamental achievement in theoretical physics, and the other, for seminal research carried out by young physicists.

Mr Leonid Solovyov is the chief spokesman for the Yuri Milner Foundation. He spoke for The Voice of Russia:

"The Milner prize for fundamental achievement amounts to $3mn. This is three times more than is paid to Nobel laureates. Importantly, unlike the Nobel physics prize, the main Milner prize can be awarded to a theorist whose conclusions are yet to be confirmed in experiment. ‘The New Horizons’ prize - the one to be awarded to young physicists – carries a check for $100,000. The first nine winners of the Milner prizes work in leading laboratories in the US, France and India. Three of them were born and educated in Russia."

Picking the winners was Yuri Milner. From next year, the choice will be done by a committee of Milner laureates from among nominees picked by the scientific community with the help of a dedicated website.

Mr Solovyov again:

"Next year, the first nine winners will form the committee. Further on, other winners will be invited to sit on it. Each Milner winner will be expected to deliver a public lecture about his of her achievement in physics. This is important for raising public awareness of the importance of fundamental physics."

Yuri Milner is 50 years old. In 1985, he graduated from Moscow State University and then spent 5 years on the research staff of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

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