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Very rubin observatory, Credit: Rubin Obs/NSF/AURA

Live from Geneva: Davide Gaiotto and Stephen Hawking honoured by the Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation

Perimeter Faculty member Davide Gaiotto and Perimeter Distinguished Visiting Research Chair Stephen Hawking are among those being honoured at the inaugural Fundamental Physics Prize Ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. The ceremony, hosted by actor Morgan Freeman, can be viewed via a live webcast on the CERN website at 3:15 pm EST.

Gaiotto is one of three laureates of the New Horizons in Physics Prize, each valued at $100,000, recognizing work with high potential to lead to future breakthroughs. According to the prize citation, Gaiotto was chosen for his “far-reaching new insights about duality, gauge theory, and geometry, and especially for his work linking theories in different dimensions in most unexpected ways.”

Davide Gaiotto explaining something on a chalboard
Perimeter Faculty member Davide Gaiotto

Hawking will receive one of two Special Fundamental Physics Prizes of $3 million each, with the other special prize being shared among seven leaders of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project. The Foundation is foregoing the regular nomination process in light of the recipients’ spectacular contributions. In Hawking’s case, the Foundation highlighted “his discovery of Hawking radiation from black holes, and his deep contributions to quantum gravity and quantum aspects of the early universe.”

Portrait of Stephen Hawking in the Atrium at Perimeter Institute in 2010
Perimeter Distinguished Visiting Research Chair Stephen Hawking

The Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation is a new organization that offers a suite of prizes in physics. Although new, these awards are already considered major distinctions. In contrast to the Nobel Prize, which has a strong leaning toward tangible, quantifiable, or practical discoveries, FPP prizes are intended to recognize theorists and researchers who are “dedicated to advancing our knowledge of the universe at the deepest level.”

About PI

Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement. 

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