Yuri Milner’s Eureka Manifesto and Celebrating Scientists as Heroes

Yuri Milner’s Eureka Manifesto and Celebrating Scientists as Heroes

Many know Yuri Milner as the founder of one of the world’s leading technology investors, DST Global. However, before he was a successful entrepreneur, Milner pursued a career in science. He remains passionate about the subject, even signing the Giving Pledge in 2012 to commit to science philanthropy. In the same year, Milner co-founded the Breakthrough Prize, which acknowledges major scientific achievements.

In 2021, Yuri Milner published Eureka Manifesto: The Mission for Our Civilisation. The short book looks at humanity’s place in the Universe and our role in its future. Eureka Manifesto also advocates for celebrating scientists as heroes through initiatives like the Breakthrough Prize.

Yuri Milner’s Mission: Exploring the Universe

From NASA to Google, most organisations have a mission that steers them towards success. In Eureka Manifesto, Milner asserts that humanity also needs a mission to survive and thrive as a civilisation. But where do we look for a common goal?

Milner takes inspiration from the Universal Story to arrive at an answer. He also references Carl Sagan’s belief that, as humans, our capacity for knowledge gives us fundamental significance. We have evolved sentient minds that allow us to think and question where we came from. Therefore, our mission should be to explore and understand our Universe.

Eureka Manifesto includes a five-point plan of action that could help humanity further its mission. The plan includes recognising the contributions of great scientists past and present and celebrating these individuals as heroes.

How The Breakthrough Prize Celebrates Scientific Heroes

Brilliant individuals like Einstein and Galileo were Milner’s heroes when he was discovering science. Milner believes that a greater appreciation of scientists and their discoveries could help create a culture that values knowledge. In these conditions, young people may be more likely to pursue careers in science and make remarkable discoveries.

Milner and his wife Julia helped found the Breakthrough Prize to encourage the celebration of scientists as cultural heroes, motivate further advances, and inspire the next generation. Their Breakthrough Prize co-founders are Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, Sergey Brin, and Anne Wojcicki.

Breakthrough Prize laureates receive $3 million prizes. There are also prizes for early-career mathematicians and physicists ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.

The Breakthrough Prize places these prizes in a broader cultural context. Each year, the organisers broadcast the Breakthrough Prize gala award ceremony internationally.

Often called the “Oscars of Science,” the glamorous ceremony places the stars of science centre stage. Celebrities from the worlds of entertainment and entrepreneurship attend the event to help highlight the scientists, drawing the attention of media and audiences worldwide. Millions of viewers globally have watched the “Oscars of Science” over the years.

In September 2023, the Breakthrough Prize announced its 2024 laureates. The 10th annual Breakthrough Prize ceremony will celebrate the winners on 13 April 2024 in Los Angeles.

Milner hopes that, through initiatives like the Breakthrough Prize, he can contribute towards the progress of the mission to explore and understand our Universe.

About Yuri Milner

As a Giving Pledge signatory, Yuri Milner has founded several global philanthropic projects that support science. Aside from the Breakthrough Prize, these projects include:

  • Tech For Refugees. The non-profit supports humanitarian programs that leverage technology to help refugees worldwide.
  • The Breakthrough Initiatives. The collection of space science programs explores the deep mysteries of life in the Universe, such as whether aliens exist.
  • The Breakthrough Junior Challenge. The annual, international competition inspires teenagers to engage with scientific ideas. To enter the contest, students create short, original videos that explain a tricky concept in maths or science.

Milner’s Breakthrough Foundation has also committed $2.5 million to a new CERN outreach centre in Switzerland and several million dollars in support of Ukrainian scientists.

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