Oscar Winners of Science

Beginning in 2012 eight scientists, philanthropists, and business entrepreneurs founded an international awards ceremony called the Breakthrough Prize. It is similar to the annual Nobel Prize ceremony, but with a bit more flair, showmanship, and business ventures to attract a different, wider viewing audience and consumer than strictly traditional one of dull academics—an event of more limited exposure and much less profitable potential. After all, factual science developed through renown institutions over years or decades does not sellout theaters, online customer streaming ques, or make lucrative, marketable products and services as the high-tech dramatic, fantastical entertainment industry does. Modern Asian and American consumers demand awe and wow spectacular optics and mind-bending fiction as the entertainment drug-of-choice with multi-billion dollar box-office and streaming subscriptions that draw FAT bottom-lines. This is the proven, indisputable consumer trend the last 10-15 years.

This past November 3, 2019 nineteen winners were announced at a televised gala in three areas of science: Mathematics, Life Sciences, and Fundamental Physics. Each winning Laureates receive $3-million in prize money and the televised ceremony detailing all the remarkable achievements hopefully inspires many young future scientists. Following are this years 2020 Breakthrough Prize winners and their extraordinary achievements that must be recognized and understood in a world rot and overwhelmed with popular superstitions.

In Fundamental Physics

The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration
Collaboration Director Shep Doeleman of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics will accept on behalf the collaboration. The $3 million prize will be shared equally with 347 scientists co-authoring any of the six papers published by the EHT on April 10, 2019.
Citation: For the first image of a supermassive black hole in the Messier 87 galaxy, taken by means of an Earth-sized alliance of telescopes from several observatories around the globe simultaneously.

In Mathematics

Alex Eskin, University of Chicago
Citation: For revolutionary discoveries in the dynamics and geometry of moduli spaces of Abelian differentials, including the proof of the “magic wand theorem” with Maryam Mirzakhani.

In Life Sciences

Jeffrey M. Friedman, Rockefeller University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Citation: For the discovery of a new endocrine system through which adipose tissue signals the brain to regulate food intake.

F. Ulrich Hartl, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and Arthur L. Horwich, Yale School of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Citation: For discovering functions of molecular chaperones in mediating protein folding and preventing protein aggregation.

David Julius, University of California, San Francisco
Citation: For discovering molecules, cells, and mechanisms underlying pain sensation.

Virginia Man-Yee Lee, University of Pennsylvania
Citation: For discovering TDP43 protein aggregates in frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and revealing that different forms of alpha-synuclein, in different cell types, underlie Parkinson’s disease and Multiple System Atrophy.

New Horizons In Physics

Xie Chen, California Institute of Technology, Lukasz Fidkowski, University of Washington, Michael Levin, University of Chicago, and Max A. Metlitski, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Citation: For incisive contributions to the understanding of topological states of matter and the relationships between them.

Jo Dunkley, Princeton University, Samaya Nissanke, University of Amsterdam, and Kendrick Smith, Perimeter Institute
Citation: For the development of novel techniques to extract fundamental physics from astronomical data.

Simon Caron-Huot, McGill University, and Pedro Vieira, Perimeter Institute and ICTP-SAIFR
Citation: For profound contributions to the understanding of quantum field theory.

New Horizons in Mathematics

Tim Austin, University of California, Los Angeles
Citation: For multiple contributions to ergodic theory, most notably the solution of the weak Pinsker conjecture.

Emmy Murphy, Northwestern University
Citation: For contributions to symplectic and contact geometry, in particular the introduction of notions of loose Legendrian submanifolds and, with Matthew Strom Borman and Yakov Eliashberg, overtwisted contact structures in higher dimensions.

Xinwen Zhu, California Institute of Technology
Citation: For work in arithmetic algebraic geometry including applications to the theory of Shimura varieties and the Riemann-Hilbert problem for p-adic varieties.

Breakthrough Prize Junior Challenge

The Junior challenge is an annual competition for students, ages 13-18, to share their passion for math and science with the world! Each student submits a video that explains a challenging and important concept or theory in mathematics, life sciences, or physics. The winner receives a $250,000 college scholarship. The winning student’s teacher and school also benefit: $50,000 for the teacher and a state-of-the-art $100,000 science lab for the school. Jeffrey Chen is a senior at Burlingame High School in California. He won the global award because of his video entry designed to inspire high school students into creative thinking about fundamental concepts in the life sciences, physics, and mathematics. Here’s his video:

I must admit that in many ways this award ceremony is such a very positive promotion and inspiration for future scientists, mathematicians, intellectuals, and physicists to improve human life and our planet’s survival until as a supposedly intelligent species (hopefully) we can colonize another Goldilocks Planet to literally save ourselves and as many animals on Earth from total extinction. Here’s to hoping and here’s to factual, truthful, authentic, confirmed hardcore science and eventually the purging of all superstitions! 🙂


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Rhythm, Sound & Beat: Our Genetic Cadences

For all of you music enthusiasts. Certainly for any of you drummers, you maestros of rhythm, or Lords of the Skins!

Here is the mystery:  If the rhythm is right, if the translation between inner mood and the drum membrane are perfect, then you know it instantly. “Ah, this goes with my body tempo, this connects how I feel today, how fast my heart is beating, what my thoughts are, what my hands feel like.” Drumming on the Edge of Magic: A Journey Into the Spirit of Percussion, by Micky Hart, Fredric Lieberman and Jay Stevens (1990)

I was inspired yesterday by a fellow blogger and musician (Ark)—if he considers drummers “musicians” (wink)—to write this post about how natural, how biologically embedded rhythm, patterns in sound vibrations, and beats or pulse are to the human neurology. Maybe it is different for percussionists and maybe it isn’t, the mathematics of rhythm that is, and how almost endlessly it can be shifted, divided, multiplied, or derived from previous… well, derivatives. The patterns, rhythms, and beats often have a common denominator, a baseline if you will. Yet, it is wonderfully and by no means permanent.

When the rhythm is right you feel it with all your senses, every corner of your soul and being. You don’t fight it, but instead allow yourself to be propelled and consumed by its insistent yet familiar feeling. All sense of the present moment disappears, the normal categories of time become meaningless. — Ibid

There are 12 distinct components or moods and pulses in this following 9-minute instrumental entitled La Villa Strangiato (An Exercise in Self-Indulgence). It is a human journey in sleep by a man with a lucid imagination coupled with a propensity for some extreme anxiety and/or tranquility. The epic song by Rush is from the very apropos cerebral album HemispheresOne of the tranquil components:  To Sleep, Perchance to Dream… and anxious components:  Monsters! and Monsters! (Reprise) both adaptations of a 1937 Raymond Scott jazz instrumental. I cannot fully express how masterful this piece is in complex mathematical drumming and syncopation by one Lord of the Skins that should give any percussion aficionado goose-bumps, Neil Peart!

We live on a planet of rhythm and time. A planet that completes its cycle around the sun every 365 days, with a moon that cycles around us every 28 days, and we rotate around our own axis every 24 hours. These cosmic cycles and our bodily ones, all connected to the circadian dance of day and night. The mystery of rhythm and time found for a moment in the soul’s drum. When it is right, you feel it with all your senses, every thread of your being. It is the ‘sweet spot’ of connection [to this cyclical planet and the celestial heavens in which it and we revolves]. — Ibid

Medical studies repeatedly show that getting your heart-rate up drumming or dancing, or both, for just 30 minutes a day is equal to one anti-depressant pill. My own studies have shown that dueling and complimenting another drummer on her/his kit (below) is equivalent to two pills of euphoria… similar to ecstasy, but better! And naturally legal! Can you imagine how healthy it is participating in a drum-circle with dancing!? Exercise! Get down and hard, get steamy sweaty!

Or if you prefer something more indigenous, reflective of our evolutionary roots, more primal, more Latin, then I give you Evening Samba by Mickey Hart and his indigenous percussion ensemble:

How about something highly erotic that reaches deep inside to the twisted Sorcerer/Sorceress unleashing a beast inside? And then hits your natural release, the endorphins to help carry us away, floating while time stands still, A Different Drum:


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Drum & Dance Always

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