Nima Arkani-Hamed, a scientist at Princeton University, is among 9 scientists receiving the biggest prize ($3,000,000 each) in theoretical physics. Nima is the son of Jafar Arkani-Hamed, former professor and chairman of Physics Department at Tehran's Sharif University of Technology.
New York Times: Physicists are rarely wealthy or famous, but a new prize rewarding research at the field’s cutting edges has made nine of them instant multimillionaires.
The nine are recipients of the Fundamental Physics Prize, established by Yuri Milner, a Russian physics student who dropped out of graduate school in 1989 and later earned billions investing in Internet companies like Facebook and Groupon.
“It knocked me off my feet,” said Alan H. Guth, a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was among the winners. He came up with the idea of cosmic inflation, that there was a period of extremely rapid expansion in the first instant of the universe.
When he was told of the $3 million prize, he assumed that the money would be shared among the winners. Not so: Instead, each of this year’s nine recipients will receive $3 million, the most lucrative academic prize in the world. The Nobel Prize currently comes with an award of $1.2 million, usually split by two or three people. The Templeton Prize, which honors contributions to understanding spiritual dimensions of life, has been the largest monetary award given to an individual, $1.7 million this year.
The $3 million has already appeared in Dr. Guth’s bank account, one that had had a balance of $200. “Suddenly, it said, $3,000,200,” he said. “The bank charged a $12 wire transfer fee, but that was easily affordable.”
Mr. Milner said that he wanted to recognize advances in delving into the deepest mysteries of physics and the universe. “This intellectual quest to understand the universe really defines us as human beings,” he said.
Four of the physicists work at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.: Nima Arkani-Hamed, Juan Maldacena, Nathan Seiberg and Edward Witten. They work on theories trying to tie together the basic particles and forces of the universe, particularly with a mathematical machinery known as string theory >>>
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