The 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was awarded to Iranian Harvard Physicist, Prof. Cumrun Vafa.
The three winners of the 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, who will share a cash award of $3 million, were Cumrun Vafa (Harvard University), Andrew Strominger (Harvard University) and Joseph Polchinski (University of California, Santa Barbara).
The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was founded in 2012. The prize aims to recognize those individuals who have made profound contributions to human knowledge, and major insights into the deepest questions of the universe. Each year winners are selected by a committee comprised of previous Breakthrough Prize laureates. All three winners of the 2017 prize were chosen on account of their research in transformative advances in quantum field theory, string theory, and quantum gravity.
Founded by Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang, Yuri and Julia Milner, and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, the Breakthrough Prizes are funded by Mark Zuckerberg’s fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Brin Wojcicki, Jack Ma, and Milner foundations.
“There has never been a more important time to support science,” said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. “The 2017 Breakthrough Prize laureates represent the leaders in scientific research in physics, math, and life sciences. Their breakthroughs will unlock new possibilities and help make the world a better place for everyone.”
About Prof. Cumrun Vafa
Cumrun Vafa was born in Tehran in 1960. He attended the prestigious Alborz High School, before going to the US in 1977 as an undergraduate at MIT, where he got his bachelor’s degree in math and physics, as a double major. He then went on to Princeton University for graduate work, where he got his PhD in Physics, in 1985. He then became a junior fellow at Harvard, where he later got a junior faculty position. In 1989 he was offered a senior faculty position, and he has been there ever since.
Professor Vafa, is the Donner Professor of Science at Harvard University. He is one of the main initiators and one of the leaders of research in String Theory – one of the leading physics theories for describing the interactions and forces of nature.