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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Breakthrough Prizes

Author: Guest Writer/Wednesday, February 20, 2013/Categories: Uncategorized

When you think of Silicon Valley, the life sciences aren't the first things that come to mind. The valley, once known for its orchards and berry farms, is now the epicenter of all things software, hardware, and gadget related. Now it is also the place where recognition of the biological sciences has gained some new acknowledgement with the Breakthrough Prize in the Life Sciences created by several of the Valley's famous entrepreneurs and investors.

The first Breakthrough Prizes are being awarded by the Foundation created by the founders of Facebook, Google, and a Russian venture capitalist. The $3million awards will go to 11 biological researchers for a total of $33million. Recipients from the USA, Japan, Italy and the Netherlands, expressed shock and awe when informed of bio-medical awards that represent in financial terms twice the level of support received by winners of a Nobel Prize.
According to the Foundation, the awards are meant to assist new strategies "intended to inject excitement into the sometimes lonely, underfunded quests to understand and combat cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and other maladies."


Breakthrough Prize in the Life Sciences   (credit: Breakthrough Prize Foundation)

Maybe in the future the new Silicon Valley foundation will recognize that biology extends beyond the research lab. With the constant environmental degradation, climate change impacts, and depletion of biological diversity happening everywhere, it would be a good idea if they the Breakthrough Foundation recognized that biological research in the natural world is a critical element of the life sciences.

Recognizing with a prize, the importance of research in fields like ecosystem sustainability, marine science, restoration ecology and their natural "big data" interface with computer technology might offer some game-changing breakthroughs as well.

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