Two young faculty awarded 2021 Breakthrough New Horizons Award


Recently arrived faculty members, Song Sun in Mathematics and Geoff Pington in Physics, are among 12 early career scientists sharing the New Horizons Award, which is awarded each year by the Breakthrough Foundation.

The awards were announced on September 10 with the Breakthrough Awards in Life Sciences, Fundamental Physics and Mathematics, often referred to as the Oscars of Science. The awards, totaling $ 18.75 million, will be awarded at a gala in March 2021, a postponement from the normal October event caused by the coronavirus virus epidemic.

Sun, an associate professor of mathematics who came to UC Berkeley in 2018, will share the 2021 New Horizons in Mathematics prize – including $ 100,000 – Bhargava Bhatt of the University of Michigan and Angry Logunov of Princeton University. He stated, “For many geological contributions to complex differential geometry, including the existence of results for the Kahler – Einstein metrics and connections with moduli queries and singularities.”

Pingington, who joined the Berkeley faculty in July 2020 and is a distinguished professor in physics, Arnold and Barbara Silverman, will represent three groups of researchers at the 2021 New Horizons in Physics Award. His group, which splits a third of the award, includes Ahmed Almaheri of the Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey, Natta Engelhard of the Massachusetts Institute, and Henry Maxfield of UC Santa Barbara. He was cited for “calculating the quantum information content of a black hole and its radiation.”

Urmila Mahadev is giving a computer science seminar at UC Berkeley in 2018. (Photo courtesy of Jana Eisenbrenrova, Quanta magazine)

Urmila Mahadev, a recent Berkeley graduate, inaugurated the $ 50,000 Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Award, which presents women mathematicians who have completed their PhDs within the last two years. Mahadev, who received Ph.D. Was appointed assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences in electrical engineering and computer science in 2018 and at the California Institute of Technology, “addresses the basic question of verifying the production of a quantum computation for work.”

This is the ninth year for the Breakthrough Awards, founded by Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, Yuri and Julia Milner and Anne Wojski. The awards are sponsored by individual foundations established by Brin, Chan and Zuckerberg, Ma Huateng, Jack Ma, The Milliers and Wojski.

The previous Berkeley winners of the breakthrough award were Jennifer Doudna and Saul Perlmutter and their cosmology team in 2014, and mathematician Ian Agol and physicist Kam-Biu Luke in 2015. Physicist Surjit Rajendran shared a new Horizon Award in 2016. These previous Laurets helped to select it. Winner of the year.

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