Zamolodchikov Honored at Star-Studded Ceremony for 2024 Breakthrough Prize

Stony Brook University Distinguished Professor and C.N. Yang/Wei Deng Endowed Chair Alexander Zamolodchikov was honored April 13 at the star-studded ceremony for the 2024 Breakthrough Prize in Los Angeles, California.

Zamolodchikov was co-recipient of the 2024 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, along with John Cardy of All Souls College, University of Oxford. The pair was cited “for profound contributions to statistical physics and quantum field theory, with diverse and far-reaching applications in different branches of physics and mathematics.” They will share one of the five $3 million prizes announced by the Breakthrough Foundation.

The Breakthrough Prize honors an esteemed group of the world’s most brilliant minds for impactful scientific discoveries, including a subset responsible for substantial progress in the understanding and treatment of major diseases.

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One of the movie-style posters made for the event on Zamolodchikov and Cardy’s research.

The Prize — popularly known as the “Oscars® of Science” — was created to celebrate the wonders of our scientific age by founding sponsors Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, Julia and Yuri Milner, and Anne Wojcicki.

Professors Zamolodchikov and Cardy were recognized for their contributions of a “lifetime of deep insights into quantum field theories, which describe not only particle physics, but emergent phenomena from magnetism and superconducting materials to the information content of black holes, and have also become a rich field of study in mathematics.”

The 10th annual ceremony was held at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, hosted by James Corden, and is the only one of its kind that places scientists on center stage. It is attended by luminaries in film, sports, comedy and music, to lend their spotlight to shine on scientists. Presenters included some of the biggest names in entertainment: Jessica Chastain, Lily Collins, Alicia Keys, Zoe Saldaña, Olivia Wilde, Venus Williams, Michelle Yeoh, Robert Downey Jr., Kim Kardashian, Regina King, Brie Larson and Rob Lowe.

Stars of hollywood honor stars of science 10th breakthrough prize ceremony backstage
Alexander Zamolodchikov and John Cardy with their Breakthrough Prize awards. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize)

Zamolodchikov is one of the most accomplished theoretical physicists in the world, and has made groundbreaking advances with impact in many physics fields, such as condensed matter physics, quantum statistical physics and high energy physics, including fundamental matter and forces. His insights have profoundly influenced the way that theoretical physicists think about foundational concepts, providing new paths that are being explored at many leading theoretical physics centers.

This is the third Breakthrough Prize for Stony Brook University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and the second for the C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics. Distinguished Professor Emeritus Peter van Nieuwenhuizen was honored for the discovery of supergravity in 2020, and Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy Chang Kee Jung and his group won in 2016 for the fundamental discovery and exploration of neutrino oscillations with the Super-Kamiokande, K2K and T2K experiments.

The full 2024 Breakthrough Prize ceremony will premiere on YouTubeon Sunday, April 21, at 2 pm EST.

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