A depiction of gravitational waves — the discovery of which just won a $1 million Kavli Prize.
Nine scientists just won an award that’s worth more than a Nobel Prize, earning a cool $1 million for their cutting-edge research.
Called the Kavli Prize, these lofty awards are handed out by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Kavli Foundation, and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.
The idea is to honor the most groundbreaking work by scientists in astrophysics (the study of our universe), nanoscience (the study of the very, very small), and neuroscience (the study of the human brain).
The three winners in astrophysics this year were Ronald Drever, Kip Thorne, and Rainer Weiss. The trio won for detecting the ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves — arguably the most remarkable scientific achievement of the year, if not the past 100 years.
“This detection has, in a single stroke and for the first time, validated Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity for very strong fields, established the nature of gravitational waves, demonstrated the existence of black holes with masses 30 times that of our sun, and opened a new window on the universe,” the Kavli Prize wrote in a press release.
kavli prize.JPGKavli Prize/ScreenshotThe 2016 Kavli Prize winners.
For nanoscience, Gerd Binnig, Christoph Gerber, and Calvin Quate received the award for the invention in atomic force microscopy, a breakthrough in imaging so sharply that you can see single atoms at a time. Binnig already won a Nobel in 1986 for designing another microscope technique.
And Eve Marder, Michael Merzenich, and Carla Shatz won the neuroscience category for their research on mechanisms modeling brain functions, and unraveling how the brain changes throughout life.
Since its inception in 2008, the Kavli Award has honored scientists for things like pioneering the theory of cosmic inflation, for advancing the microscopes we can use to image the very small, and for discovering specific brain networks.
We can’t wait to see the discoveries these new winners will continue to make, especially since they now have more money than Nobel Prize winners get, which these days is “only” about $964,000.
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