SILICON VALLEY, Calif. – Dr. Cumrun Vafa, an Iranian American string theorist at Harvard University, received a Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics at the Silicon Valley award ceremony on December 5th.
The Breakthrough Prize Foundation annually awards millions of dollars in prizes to leading scientists, aiming to celebrate science and generate excitement about the pursuit of science as a career.
Held at NASA’s Ames Research Center, the ceremony was hosted by Morgan Freeman and featured a musical performance by Alicia Keys. Presenters included Jeremy Irons, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vin Diesel, will.i.am, Sienna Miller, Alex Rodriguez, retired NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, and retired NASA Astronaut Captain Mark Kelly and Kevin Durant.
The $3 million prize was split between Dr. Vafa, Dr. Joseph Polchinski, and Dr. Andrew Strominger, recognizing their major insights into the deepest questions of the universe.
Dr. Vafa’s specific breakthrough was his creation of F-theory, a promising advancement in connecting string theory to particle behavior.
Born in Tehran in 1960, Dr. Vafa obtained his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1985, and is currently Donner Professor of Science in the Department of Physics at Harvard University.
PAAIA congratulates Professor Vafa on this remarkable achievement.