At a ceremony this evening in Geneva, Switzerland, the Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation will award the $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize for accomplishments in fundamental physics. The event, hosted by US actor Morgan Freeman, will feature an introduction by CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer and performances by singer Sarah Brightman and concert pianist Denis Matsuev.
Russian tech-investor Yuri Milner launched the $27 million Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation in July last year to advance our knowledge of the universe. The foundation will award $3 million every year to researchers in fundamental physics, who are then invited to select recipients of future prizes.
There are four different prizes, three of which will be awarded annually to physicists selected by previous years’ recipients after a nomination process. One of these, the $300,000 Physics Frontiers Prize, honours recent work that pushes to expand the field of physics. One individual or one group will be selected from laureates of the Physics Frontiers Prize to win the Fundamental Physics Prize. That winner will be announced tonight.
The fourth prize is the special Fundamental Physics Prize, which may be awarded at any time. This year the special prize honours some of the leaders of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CMS and ATLAS projects from the time the LHC was approved by the CERN Council in 1994. Peter Jenni, Fabiola Gianotti, Michel Della Negra, Tejinder Singh Virdee, Guido Tonelli, Joe Incandela and Lyn Evans share a prize, awarded "in exceptional circumstances" for their leadership roles in the endeavour that led to the discovery of a Higgs boson by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at the LHC.