Berkeley researchers celebrated at star-studded Breakthrough Prize Awards ceremony

April 15, 2024

Hannah Larson and John Cardy, two Berkeley researchers affiliated with the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, were recognized at the 10th annual Breakthrough Prize Awards ceremony.

This past weekend, Hollywood stars and academic luminaries alike gathered at the 10th annual Breakthrough Prize Awards ceremony. Hosted by performer James Corden, this illustrious event cast a spotlight on the 2024 Breakthrough Prize laureates alongside a select group recognized from 2020-2023. 

Hannah Larson, an assistant professor of mathematics at UC Berkeley, was among this year’s distinguished honorees. Amidst a glamorous backdrop, tennis star Venus Williams and acclaimed actor Zoe Saldaña presented Larson with the 2024 Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Prize, a recognition reserved for women mathematicians who have recently completed their Ph.D.s. After learning about her award in September 2023, Larson shared, “I am honored to receive this award for my research on algebraic curves. Maryam Mirzakhani was and continues to be such an inspiration, especially to young women in math. To be given this award in her honor is very special.” 

John Cardy, an Emeritus Fellow at All Souls College, University of Oxford, was a senior researcher for many years at UC Berkeley. Focusing his work on quantum field theory, he published several papers during his tenure. Cardy received the 2024 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamentals of Physics from Academy Award winners Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Robert Downey Jr.

The Breakthrough Prize honors the achievements of the world’s foremost scientists and their pioneering endeavors. With over $15 million in prizes awarded annually, this event recognizes excellence across the fields of Life Sciences, Fundamental Physics, and Mathematics. In addition to the coveted Breakthrough Prizes, the ceremony also bestows New Horizons Prizes in Physics and Mathematics, each valued at $100,000, to outstanding early-career researchers. Notably, the Maryam Mirzakhani New FrontiersPrize, valued at $50,000, pays homage to women mathematicians who have recently completed PhDs and produced important results.

Videos and photos from the ceremony can be found online.

The show will premiere on Sunday, April 21 at 11:00 AM PT and can be viewed in full on Youtube.

Four women in formal dresses in front of Breakthrough Prize step and repeat.

(L-R) Venus Williams, honoree Laura Monk, honoree Hannah Larson, and Zoe Saldaña pose with awards. Photo courtesy of Breakthrough Prize.