Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Tech Leaders Create Most Lucrative Science Prize In History

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the bucks-for-brains dept.

Businesses 147

redletterdave writes "Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and Yuri Milner have teamed up to create The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation, which now offers the most lucrative annual prize in the history of science: A $33 million pot to be split among 11 people, with individual rewards worth $3 million apiece. Comparatively, the monetary value of the Nobel prize is just $1.1 million. 'Our society needs more heroes who are scientists, researchers and engineers,' Zuckerberg said. 'We need to celebrate and reward the people who cure diseases, expand our understanding of humanity and work to improve people's lives.'"

cancel ×

147 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (4, Interesting)

vswee (2040690) | about a year and a half ago | (#42964903)

or is this some sort of advertising thing? You simply cant's trust people with money and power to be genuine these days.

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42964941)

Most likely in it to take advantage of some tax relief loophole.

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (4, Funny)

jmhobrien (2750125) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965543)

NO WAY! This is a genuine philanthropic endeavor by some of the most altruistic people on the planet. They are giving away their fortunes out of the goodness of their hearts. And besides, isn't it better that we let the righteous distribute their earnings as they see fit, and not let those socialist tax collectors get in the way?

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (5, Insightful)

the gnat (153162) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967023)

And besides, isn't it better that we let the righteous distribute their earnings as they see fit, and not let those socialist tax collectors get in the way?

One of the stranger complaints I've read about the philanthropy of Bill Gates was that it unfairly allows Bill Gates to decide which causes are worthy, instead of the people of the United States. This is rather perverse if you consider what he's spending the money on - how many Americans do you think die from malaria each year? Any guesses how many Americans would vote to continue funding research into malaria versus, say, obesity or Alzheimer's or other 1st-world afflictions? Basically, people are upset that his charity is directed at impoverished equatorial nations instead of the American middle class.

I'm no fan of how Bill Gates made his money - I still wince every time I have to use Microsoft products, with the lone exception of their optical mice - nor am I a particular fan of Facebook. But I think in this case I'll trust their judgement over that of the people who elected Bush twice.

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (1)

strikeleader (937501) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966359)

You have to worry about paying taxes first. Zuckerberg gets a pass on that. It's good to have friends in the White House.

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42964949)

Remember this story? http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/07/31/1952225/internet-billionaire-creates-huge-physics-prize

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42964969)

I think he meant we need to reward people who steal the concepts, and then further them as their own.

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965043)

Yeah, "good artists copy, con artists steal" even phrases.

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (2)

liamevo (1358257) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965593)

Is this a joke? That's not the quote... is this a *woosh* moment?

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965713)

This one's close... One of those which mess up your hair... But still a *woosh*, yeah.

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965041)

First thought when I read the names Zuckerberg and Brin was; There must be a clause in there which states that to claim the prices means handing over any and all patents.

I do agree with the sentiment that a "hero" is somebody who saves lives rather than somebody who is really good at sports, making money or generally getting themselves in front of a camera. People seem to admire the wrong people nowadays.

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965549)

People have always admired the wrong people. They admire what they desire... do most people secretly dream about winning the lottery or saving babies from fires?

Inexact summary and linked article (1)

openfrog (897716) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965935)

The article stated makes it look like this is the initiative of Zuckerberg, and manages to misreport the scale of this prize.

See the foundations website: http://www.breakthroughprizeinlifesciences.org/ [breakthrou...iences.org]

Not 11 prizes totalling 33 millions as reported, but 5 prizes of 3 M each.

Also the sponsors are listed, in that order,

                Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki
                Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
                Yuri Milner

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965303)

Nah. Just a bunch of Jews giving money to some other Jews. More of an ethnic networking sort of thing.

It's simple to explain ... (2)

afxgrin (208686) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965949)

Brin, Milner and Zuckerberg just want to live forever (or have a medical condition). They have the money to fund these sorts of things, so might as well start investing into it while you're young. I don't know their religious views, but if it involves not believing in the existence of an afterlife ... I suspect that to be highly motivating for funding a life sciences contest.

I'm kind of surprised that Elon Musk isn't involved with this some how.

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967335)

What makes you assume they were 'genuine' in days past?

Re:Was Zuckerberg always so thoughtful- (1)

jadv (1437949) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967397)

You make it sound as if having money were directly correlated to not being trustworthy.

Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year and a half ago | (#42964915)

all 11 winners are from the US.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (-1, Troll)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42964935)

That and the Nobel prize is more about encouraging left-wing politics than science.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (4, Funny)

Starky (236203) | about a year and a half ago | (#42964973)

I couldn't agree more. Because of the dread Nobel prize, radical left-wingers like Einstein, Fermi, Schrödinger, and Heisenberg have ruined physics.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965047)

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Apparently, they've reached the end of their destination, having walked all over what paved the way.
At least as far as the Nobel peace prize goes.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965255)

Way to confuse causality there.

Have a look at the prize winners from the last 20 years. It's like an all-star list of left-wingers dear to the hearts of other left-wingers. Kofi Annan? Jimmy Carter? Al Gore? Yasser fucking Arafat?!?

Then look at the earlier ones. You get these weird ones who just don't belong, like Mother Theresa or Andrei Sakharov.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965471)

You have no idea what "left-wing" means. Carter, Arafat, and Gore "left-wingers" -- what a hysterical laughing fit that induced!

Oh, you're DNS-and-BIND. That explains it.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967043)

Have a look at the prize winners from the last 20 years. It's like an all-star list of left-wingers dear to the hearts of other left-wingers. Kofi Annan? Jimmy Carter? Al Gore? Yasser fucking Arafat?!?

How many of those prizes were for science?

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

Loughla (2531696) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967107)

EVERYONE KNOWS THAT THE NOBEL IS ONLY FOR SCIENCE. HOW DARE YOU, SIR. How dare you try to use your logic and reasoning.

Please ignore this line, apparently this website thinks I'm yelling too much. So judgmental.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (3, Insightful)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about a year and a half ago | (#42964991)

noble prize don't mean anything anymore since they awarded to Obama for doing NOTHING!

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965115)

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (2)

fatphil (181876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965603)

does that mean "for not starting any new wars" in plain English?

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

Njovich (553857) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965131)

I understand what you are saying, I really do. Also, I can't speak for the Nobel committee. However, for me personally, Obama brought back the idea that the US elected someone based on being rational, that was also friendly to allies, and will not fight unjust wars over petty grievances. It brings back the US to the negotiation table. Maybe some of those ideas are false, however, they are not as you say 'nothing'. It's a big player in an important position.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (0)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965573)

He still murders plenty of people with drone strikes though. Hardly compatible with 'peace'.

But hey, once they gave it to Kissinger it was pretty much open slather...

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965795)

He still murders plenty of people with drone strikes though. Hardly compatible with 'peace'.

But hey, once they gave it to Kissinger it was pretty much open slather...

I HOPE you didn't just say that, AND voted for either Bush back in the day....... drones are not new........

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42967063)

neither are false dichotomies.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965229)

You can probably consider it an award for the American people for NOT electing McCain. Most countries, especially the Muslim majority, had a borderline to negative perception of the US after Bush tenure. Obama raised a significant amount of goodwill for the US from the world. The effect is probably hard to measure, but I do believe that his huge popularity in Indonesia and Kenya helped to reduce a lot of animosity towards the US and the western world in general.

Maybe it's like the deux ex machina in Futurama. To paraphrase, sometimes when you do the right thing, it would appear as if you weren't doing anything at all.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965233)

Obama made a few rousing speeches after his election, which at the time was enough of a promise for this Prize to be awarded. He also got it for "not being Bush". If the Nobel committee knew then what they know now, I doubt they'd consider Obama for a Prize. That's the problem with giving accolades like these, even the political ones, on the strength of hope and promises rather than actual effort and results. Oh well, the latest Peace Prize was given to the "EU"... at a time when some of us Europeans feel that EU measures are actually a destabilizing factor.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965879)

While it's true of Obama's particular prize was forward-looking, and probably so are a handful of others, I don't think it's true of the Peace Prize in general, and it certainly isn't the case with the technical prizes.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42966093)

That's the problem with giving ..., on the strength of hope and promises rather than actual effort and results. Oh well, the latest Peace Prize was given to the "EU"... at a time when some of us Europeans feel that EU measures are actually a destabilizing factor.

Unlike Obama, EU was given the Nobel prize for actual effort and results, instead of (lack of) strength of hope and promises. We'd probably be on our way to fourth world war already if the EU (including its predecessors) hadn't succeeded in uniting the old enemies.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966571)

In that case, they should have recognized those predecessors instead: the EEG, and hey, how about NATO? Giving the award to the current EC is a bit like recognizing Obama for stuff that was actually accomplished during the Bush era.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (2)

fufufang (2603203) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965437)

noble prize don't mean anything anymore since they awarded to Obama for doing NOTHING!

Well, Nobel Peace Prize has been like that for the past 4 decades. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Kissinger)

Along with North Vietnamese Politburo Member Le Duc Tho, Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1973, for their work in negotiating the ceasefires contained in the Paris Peace Accords on "Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam," signed the January previous.[20] Tho rejected the award, telling Kissinger that peace had not been really restored in South Vietnam.[28] Kissinger wrote to the Nobel Committee that he accepted the award "with humility."[29][30] The conflict continued until an invasion of the South by the North Vietnamese Army resulted in a North Vietnamese victory in 1975 and the subsequent progression of the Pathet Lao in Laos towards figurehead status.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965503)

Maybe if its not such a big deal, and the money is good,you could show us all by winning one, right ? Oh wait ....

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (5, Informative)

DMiax (915735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965015)

The Nobel Prizes for the sciences have always been very well chosen. The biggest criticism have always been about who was left out, but I have never heard of one given to a less than brilliant scientist. If you are thinking of the Nobel Prize for Peace, it is hard to disagree... In the committee's defense, the concept itself is extremely political by nature, so every choice is going to look partisan. But you should not confuse the two.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965037)

The first should go to the redneck above, for the glory of jesus.

this piece of the US sucks big monkeyballs.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965177)

That is why you need education. You need to make a difference between different aspects of the same thing. The Nobel Peace Price is not the same as a science price and the TFS speaks about the science aspect.

Furthermore: If you think "nobel peace price" when you hear "nobel price" and not about the science aspect, you need to hand in your geek card card and never, ever, ever visit slashdot again. Hearing "Nobel price" should trigger "Einstein" in your brain, not "Obama".

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

fearofcarpet (654438) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965017)

all 11 winners are from the US.

The two Dutch scientists that won [dutchnews.nl] would probably disagree.

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965073)

One of the two Dutch is actually working at the Rockefeller University in NYC, US of A

Re:Slight difference with Nobel... (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967419)

And the Nobel prize is more likely to reward science, rather than what passes for 'medical research'. Don't get me wrong, I know some life scientist, and read some life science, that conducts good rigorous work, but is that the exception rather then the rule?

Immortality. (4, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42964919)

It's a bid for immortality. Young rich guys sponsoring biotech research? They want to live forever.

Re:Immortality. (2)

cribera (2560179) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965547)

It's a bid for immortality. Young rich guys sponsoring biotech research? They want to live forever.

You need to check this http://www.2045.com/ [2045.com]

Re:Immortality. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966173)

People can fantasize all they want. Just because you have a flashy website doesn't mean there's anything of substance behind it. Just look at their timeline. It's a load of crap.

Re:Immortality. (1)

InfiniteZero (587028) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966087)

Agreed. Not the first and won't be the last, cf. Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Re:Immortality. (1)

artfulshrapnel (1893096) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966109)

I'm cool with that. Early adopters are pretty standard in tech fields.

Re:Immortality. (1, Insightful)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966145)

Oh give me a break, that's the second post here saying the same fantasy. They are not stupid, they know that there's no immortality on the table, just as they know that normal pace of medical progress can and does extend lives without them having to do anything special about it. They just want to support what's dear to them, in a way. Crossing the chasm between supporting life sciences and offering a "bid for immortality" requires a bit more support than a one liner post. Insightful, my ass. It's a troll post, that's all.

Yeah right. (3, Insightful)

KublaCant (2847303) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965001)

A moron who once had business cards with "I'm CEO, bitch !" thinks scientists are going to take him serious because of... what ? Money ? Dontlemmelaugh.

Re:Yeah right. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965127)

My thoughts exactly.
I never had much respect for him, but when I saw that business card I swung over to those who hold him in contempt.

Re:Yeah right. (5, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965343)

So just because he once had those cards made, probably as a joke, when he started the company, should he now be forever ignored? Come on...

Scientists will take this prize as seriously as the selection process is going to be. If they award this to deserving scientists, then the scientific community will, over time, take them seriously. Silly business cards of one of the founders notwithstanding.

Re:Yeah right. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966229)

Exactly! And if one thinks that scientists don't take funding seriously, then well, one has no clue what it means to be a scientist these days. If you've got your Ph.D. and have subordinates, it's very likely that quite a bit of your time will be spent in various aspects of grant hunting and fund-schmoozing. It's a sad waste of brains, if you ask me, but that's how things are at the moment, at least in the U.S. The higher you go in responsibilities, the less time you'll have for science. Feynman knew exactly what he was doing when he abstained from all bureaucracy, meetings, etc.

Re:Yeah right. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42966677)

I'm a scientist and I don't take this seriously. The problem is tech people don't understand science. That's why you see stupid comments about how the we shouldn't be funding ITER and putting all our money into Polywell. This money will do nothing for advance science. If they were serious they should donate that money to the funding agencies (DOE, NSF, NIH, NOAH, NASA, DARPA, DITRA, etc...). You will get a lot more scientific output if you divided that $33,000,000 into 66 $500,000/3 year grants.

Re:Yeah right. (1)

schlachter (862210) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967353)

The prize will come with a plaque that says, "I'm a badass scientist, Bitch"

Re:Yeah right. (1)

rmstar (114746) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965387)

A moron who once had business cards with "I'm CEO, bitch !" thinks scientists are going to take him serious because of... what ? Money ? Dontlemmelaugh.

There are a lot of scientists in the world, and some of them are quite cynical and needy of recognition - and money, anyway. I don't think they'll have trouble getting rid of that money.

My dream once. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965577)

A moron who once had business cards with "I'm CEO, bitch !" thinks scientists are going to take him serious because of... what ? Money ? Dontlemmelaugh.

There are a lot of scientists in the world, and some of them are quite cynical and needy of recognition - and money, anyway. I don't think they'll have trouble getting rid of that money.

I once had a dream of being an experimental physicist but after actally meeting some and learning about the endless begging for grant money, I realized being a scientist was like working for a charity. That fact and my handcap*, I went B-School** and I am much happier.

*-I'm fucking stupid.

** The Futurama episode with the monkey with the hat that made him brilliant until it broke at the waterfall, was something I could really relate to.

that's nice (2)

renzhi (2216300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965027)

but why only in life sciences? other kinds of sciences are not important? they wouldn't be in their current position if there were not progress and breakthrough in physical sciences and maths. Just wondering.

Re:that's nice (2)

muon1183 (587316) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965269)

Well, the Russian billionaire Yuri Milnor created the Fundamental Physics Prize about a year ago. http://www.fundamentalphysicsprize.org/ [fundamenta...sprize.org] The top prize is worth $3 million (meaning the breakthrough prize is not the largest science prize in history) and there are a number of smaller prizes worth $1 million each.

Re:that's nice (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966433)

I agree, the medical field already gets far too much attention. We live in a world where we have beaten most diseases and already live longer than we should, yet we continue to pour more and more money into the medical business because of our base fear of death.

Re:that's nice (4, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966919)

We live in a world where we have beaten most diseases and already live longer than we should

Oh yeah... beaten most disease? Give me a fucking break. We certainly nailed some big viruses, but those aren't diseases.

Let me know when you figure out how to cure something as simple as Migraine headaches. How about depression, we have 'treatments' but certainly no cures, and those treatments are a crapshoot. Maybe this drug works... oh no, well lets try this one... Yeah it works, but your heartrate doubled...

The simple fact of the matter is that the current state of 'medicine' is that your options for actually beating a disease are:
1. Take a vaccine for the cause before you actually get the disease (if a vaccine exists)
2. Take antibiotics if it is bacterial in nature. Hope that the infection hasn't caused irreversable damage
3. Take a knife and cut it out.
4. Sew it back up.

Everything else is basically palliative care. We are just now beginning to se the barest glimpse of genetic treatments, and you are considering most diseases beaten and that people live too long?

I know misanthropy is hip on slashdot, but that doesn't make you right.

Re:that's nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42967141)

You know, lightening up a little will help with both the migraines and the depression. Both are symptoms and not diseases in their own right.

Good, with a "but"... (2)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965031)

The Nobel price is not about the money, it is about the reputation the reputation is from the Nobel committee. They will have to assemble a well-functioning one, otherwise it is no more than a set of private grants.

Re:Good, with a "but"... (-1, Flamebait)

will_die (586523) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965049)

Barak is that you???
The Nobel prize gave up being there for reputation years ago, before giving it to President Obama, it is totally about getting the money and getting your name in the news by people who still think there is some reputation to the name.

Re:Good, with a "but"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965215)

Stfu. This is the nobel peace price you are talking about. It's not one for the sciences. Those are good.

beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965099)

Beware of people that focus only for the money.
The Nobel prize is not about the money.

Re:beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42967439)

Money is tangible. Reputation is intangible.

Beware of those who value the intangible more than the tangible, as they are unpredictable and dangerous.

What about improving scientists career paths? (5, Insightful)

complex_pi (2030154) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965105)

If we want to have actual heroes doing the research that will lead to such prizes, why not give reasonable career path to scientists? Right now, heroes are first selected by "who is willing to stay in academia despite the working condition", which is not a very interesting criterion in my opinion.

Re:What about improving scientists career paths? (2)

the gnat (153162) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967499)

who is willing to stay in academia despite the working condition

Actually, if you're a tenured senior professor with a good stream of grant money, like the prize winners are, life is pretty decent - and there are a few HHMI investigators on the list, so they don't exactly have to grovel for funding. Their salary doesn't put them in the top 1% but it certainly qualifies for the top 5% or better. It isn't a truly upper-class lifestyle, but if you are capable of living modestly, which most people are, it's not a bad career, and the non-material rewards are considerable. You don't have to worry about sociopaths with MBAs or law degrees fucking with you, your ultimate boss doesn't get a salary orders of magnitude higher for firing people, and you get to chose what you work on.

The real problem is for the rest of us who are competent and productive scientists, but not quite professorial caliber - I know plenty of bright, hardworking people who spent all of their 20s in school and lab and work overtime, yet are still making $50,000 a year as postdocs in their mid-30s. And since you're employed by the grace of a faculty member, who quite often is a total sociopath, the environment can be hellish. It's difficult to recommend this as a career path to anyone.

I'm CEO, bitch! (1, Funny)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965293)

Yeah, I want a "prestigious" award from that guy...

And yet it still pales .. (2)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965321)

And yet the amount of money still pales in comparison to what pro athletes make.

Re:And yet it still pales .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965737)

Yeah, but the pro athletes I see on TV tell me they have to train hard every day to get where they are, whereas the scientists I see on TV just wear labcoats, drink coffee and look down microscopes. Afterall, a University Professor is one of the easiest jobs around [slashdot.org] , right?

...Right?

Re:And yet it still pales .. (1)

Scarred Intellect (1648867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967393)

And yet the amount of money still pales in comparison to what pro athletes make per game.

FTFY. Though I'm sure some pro athletes make somewhat less per game. It still is ridiculous; depressed economy my ass!

Re:And yet it still pales .. (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967469)

Not just pro athletes but entertainers in general. Perhaps a tax on the entertainment industry that would go towards grants for science. I mean the recording industry gets to tax blank media because it might be used to copy media illegally. And certain vices get sin taxed to fund recovery programs and what not. Why not a mind numbing tax for certain entertainment avenues to go towards reversing the dumbing down [wikipedia.org] of the average person?

Ego Stroking (1)

funkman (13736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965351)

This does nothing except provide a tax write off and stroke the giver ego.

Do real scientist do this for the money and the prizes? No.

Providing a wad of cash provides no extra incentive.

If the real goal is to change the overall culture of enourgaging science - its still misguided.

Why not take that $$ and use it for more grant proposals and set fund science VC style and get more incubators?

Re:Ego Stroking (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967147)

Do real scientist do this for the money and the prizes? No.

Who made you the arbiter of what constitutes a "real" scientist? Scientists are human beings just like everyone else, with the same motivations and aspirations - in fact, to be successful on the level of the people who just won the prize, you need to have quite a bit of self-confidence, often to the point of egotism. (Eric Lander, for instance, is not known for his humility, but he does some terrific science. Craig Venter is an even more extreme example, and the list goes on and on.) In general academic scientists are content with being merely upper-middle-class instead of truly rich, with the payoff being that they can spend most of their time thinking about and working on stuff that excites them, instead of stuff that will make them money. But make no mistake, we wouldn't be doing this if we had to spend our entire careers toiling in anonymity with no reward for success. The money isn't a big deal, but not having to scramble for grants? Getting your name plastered across the NYT as a potential savior of humanity? Most professors would love such recognition, and I don't blame them.

Pffft (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965377)

So the anti-privacy king, Mark Zuckerberg, is trying to clean-up his reputation a bit? Too bad not one thing that man does is altruistic. I do dislike Mark Zuckerberg because he believes people should bow to him because of his wealth. Zuckerberg is not some Nobel Prize winning intellectual but someone who found a way to capitalize on blogging. He hasn't created anything new or novel. I don't automatically hold the wealthy on a pedestal simply due to social status.

And (4, Interesting)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965381)

I think truly great teachers should be included. Now to be fair out of the last 20 years of school I think I could nominate two profs. Good teachers are almost impossible to find. Just like great science leaders or engineers, a great teacher can inspire, the problem is 99.9999% of teachers inspire kids to give up rather then strive ( like my entire experience in elementary and secondary ).

Re:And (1)

cribera (2560179) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965571)

I think truly great teachers should be included. Now to be fair out of the last 20 years of school I think I could nominate two profs. Good teachers are almost impossible to find. Just like great science leaders or engineers, a great teacher can inspire, the problem is 99.9999% of teachers inspire kids to give up rather then strive ( like my entire experience in elementary and secondary ).

Please MOD PARENT UP. Jaime Escalante's innovative style of teaching science should be rewarded, instead of letting people like him die in poverty, and his work destroyed (he wasn't allowed to leave a legacy).

If you really want to fix science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965451)

Don't deal out kooky HUGE prizes but start a big multidisciplinary open-access journal to kill of the current predatory leeches. This is sorely needed. The journals state their mission is to further science but the only thing they actually do is further their own bank accounts!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-access_journal [wikipedia.org]

But of course this is not about doing a favor to anybody but as somebody suggested, a childish bid for immortality...

Zuck has room to talk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965555)

"...expand our understanding of humanity and work to improve people's lives."

Yeah, I'll remember you said that Zuck, as I'm staring at your freshly sliced head on a pike, high atop Privacy Mountain.

Heroes (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965579)

Is science driven forward primarily by individual heroes? They talk about inspiration, but how inspiring can it be when the difference between nr. 12 and nr. 11 is 3 million dollars?

I have an idea (or maybe not) (3, Funny)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42965763)

My plan is to emulate my hero Zuck - find a scientist with a great idea, sign up to work for him, copy all his notes, disappear for a while, reappear with his work with my name on it, claim the prize.

Re:I have an idea (or maybe not) (1)

mnemotronic (586021) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966597)

Why not just out-source the"discovery" aspect to SE Asia? Not like it hasn't been done. [phys.org]

OLPC-style innovations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42965791)

I came up with some ideas about a tablet PC that could advance 3rd world education back in 1997ish.

16 years on, if anyone could care less, I'll just post them all here in plaintext on /.

How is this rewarding science? (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966025)

>>> ... this prize will re-energize the medical field to continue their endeavors to research and battle cancer, Parkinsonâ(TM)s disease and diabetes, among other medical maladies.

Great just what we need (not), just like the Gates foundation and pretty much every "charity" out there, yet another funding source for destroying natural slelection in humans uand extending peoples lives even though we are already very good at making more people to the point where its arguable that there are already too many people on the planet.

Medical research is already a shrewd racket that just focusses on patents and symptom-supressing drugs rather than actual cures because actual cures would remove the repeat business.

I for one would like to see more money going to other more urgent and/or altruistic causes. Environmental research, theoretical physics, space, etc.

Re:How is this rewarding science? (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967261)

yet another funding source for destroying natural slelection in humans

Great, another amateur eugenicist on Slashdot. Jesus Christ, where do you people come from? As far as I'm concerned I'd happily trade one of you for a dozen starving African children with malaria, selected at random.

its arguable that there are already too many people on the planet

Why don't you become part of the solution then?

Medical research is already a shrewd racket that just focusses on patents and symptom-supressing drugs rather than actual cures because actual cures would remove the repeat business.

You've never done any actual medical research, have you? Pop quiz: how many people died from smallpox last year?

Believe me, if Big Pharma found a drug that would cure cancer, or AIDS, or Alzheimer's, they would shit themselves in excitement, because it would be worth tens (or hundreds) of billions of dollars, and probably a Nobel prize to boot, and massive positive PR for a century. There is zero incentive to degrade the effectiveness of a treatment whose patent exclusivity will wear out in less than two decades anyway. The reason we don't see "cures" like you expect is because we've already picked the low-hanging fruit, and there is much we still don't know about human physiology.

Any idiot can come up with a drug that blocks cancer-causing proteins in a test tube; pharma companies do this all the time. The problem is usually that the same drug gets chewed to pieces in the liver before it ever reaches the cancer cells, or it causes half of the test mice to go belly up, or it only works on a tiny subset of patients, etc. Promising therapies fail in clinical trials all the time for these reasons, and it makes everyone miserable. Do you really believe that medical researchers are actually going out of their way to make them less effective when they stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars invested in R&D (and billions in potential future revenue)?

I for one would like to see more money going to other more urgent and/or altruistic causes. Environmental research, theoretical physics, space, etc.

How the fuck is "space" a more urgent or altruistic cause than curing disease?

Spend some on marketing (1)

artfulshrapnel (1893096) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966295)

>> ...which will be made available to the public to help keep citizens informed on the latest developments in the science and medical fields.

The thing people always seem to miss with these prizes that the football and oscar people don't? Marketing. If you want the average citizen to care, you need to MAKE them care. Take 5 of that 33 million and use it to film a series detailing some of the competitors. Focus on their personal investments in their inventions, their struggles, etc. so that people become invested in them as human beings. Spend some more money to advertise the shit out of it during prime time and on various interweb outlets like Hulu.

When the awards show happens, and it should be a show, book a couple major performances and a popular celebrity as host. Invite some major celebrities with philanthropic or scientific interests and ensure they get a good amount of screen time talking about what's going on.

Embracing that sort of celebrity culture is a kind of selling out, but it's a kind that needs to be seriously considered if you want to invest the average celebrity-focused person on the ideas at hand.

Re:Spend some on marketing (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966693)

Embracing that sort of celebrity culture is a kind of selling out, but it's a kind that needs to be seriously considered if you want to invest the average celebrity-focused person on the ideas at hand.

Obviously you're not a bowler.

We need funding for general research as well (3, Insightful)

Pigeon451 (958201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966309)

These massive awards go to researchers who have made truly novel discoveries. They tend to be older researchers past their prime who have already reaped rewards of their research (fame and likely money).

Funding for general research in life sciences has dipped to an all time low, with success rates less than 10% (it was much higher before the economic crisis a few years ago). The top amazing research by big groups still gets funded, but there is still some excellent work that goes unfunded, particularly by young up and coming talented researchers. These young investigators don't yet have a name for themselves, and unfortunately that impedes their ability to get grants and thus do their research.

The Gates foundation is an excellent example of how this can be done -- In today's economy, I would prefer to see something similar than a massive pot going to a few amazing but well established researchers. Of course this wouldn't have made the news if it wasn't over the top...

mod Wup (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42966335)

SimiLarly gRisly be fun. It used

Thanks for saving my life. Here's a dollar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42966339)

'We need to celebrate and reward the people who cure diseases, expand our understanding of humanity and work to improve people's lives.'

Yes we do.

Maybe we should start by paying them more than the Wall Street and corporate board parasites? Come on. One? Three million bucks? As a one-time lump sum? Are you kidding me? What's the -yearly salary- of Wal-Mart's CEOs and heirs? How is Oprah so wealthy? Are the folks at the LHC who recently expanded human knowledge rewarded as handsomely as the drama-queen talkshow hostess? There's a joke in there about discovering what's been responsible for Oprah's fluxuating mass.

Still, though. Single-digit millions for such "important people" -- bestowed by people who are worth a hundred times that much... yeah. So sincere.

Flipping them a quarter and snarking over one shoulder "Don't spend it all in one place" while climbing into your limo is pretty damn transparent.

A misunderstanding of scientific breakthroughs (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966561)

The problem with promoting "heroes" is that everybody else can go and suck it. Throwing money at projects is a nice sentiment, but this is not how scientific progress works. A society or a group needs to promote a sufficiently large community of scientists, and every once in a while something really great pops out. It's a lot like catching fish: often what you really need is a bigger net. To that end, what isn't need is some token prize to hand out to a couple of "winners". This is the route you take if you want good press and a tax break. But if you want results, real progress, what you need is to promote scientific careers that, you know, pay a decent fucking wage.

Do what I say, not... (1)

rnturn (11092) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966569)

``Our society needs more heroes who are scientists, researchers and engineers,'' Zuckerberg said. ``We need to celebrate and reward the people who cure diseases, expand our understanding of humanity and work to improve people's lives.''

So I guess what he left unsaid was:

``And we more recognition of you scientists to divert attention from the people like me and the crap like Facebook that we produce.''

Their choices of scientists was interesting (1)

MerlynDavis (637066) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966743)

Listening to NPR last night about this, they mentioned that the majority of the recipients already work for very large, well-funded institutions...and the money is going directly to the scientists, not being specified for actual research. So...how is this helping science? If they wanted to help scientists, they should make the money available as grants and give them to scientists who need funding.

Zuck (1)

sproketboy (608031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42966939)

Zuck wants to make it to the singularity. Sadly he probably will - the thought of him being alive in 1000 years is disheartening.

Hollywood mentality (1)

happyfeet2000 (1208074) | about a year and a half ago | (#42967507)

It's a bit like a reality show with big prizes for a few superachievers who overcame other competitors. This is more an advertising stunt for the group of rich individuals sponsoring this. How is this going to promote science and investigation among the not so elite, which is the problem you have right now? Sure a few kids will fall for the flashy get-rich-quick appeal of the show. Until they become aware of the long hours needed to attain even a modest level of competence. Then the shine disappears.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?