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back to article Stephen Hawking gets $3m physics prize from Mail.ru tycoon

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has won a Russian entrepreneur's $3m special Fundamentals Physics Prize for his lifetime of achievements. Seven scientists who led the effort to find the Higgs boson at CERN's Large Hadron Collider also won, bagging another of the special prizes from Yuri Milner. Milner, who describes himself …

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Er

CERN director general Rolf Heuer said it was a "great big pile of free cash" for the LHC scientists to be recognised by the committee.

Fixed that for you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Er

Cynical much? :)

I'm sure he's not displeased at receiving a big ol' pile of cash, but I still applaud Milner for rewarding people who actually deserve it - unlike, say, the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS* the 'mericuns throw at their athletes just for running fast.

* Some big number. Not precisely 1E9

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Er

"Cynical much? :)

... I still applaud Milner for rewarding people who actually deserve it - unlike, say, the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS* the 'mericuns throw at their athletes just for running fast."

Milner is mainly (with some exceptions thrown in as an afterthought) rewarding string theorists for speculative ideas that have failed, for 40 years and more, to yield falsifiable predictions or any point of contact with reality. That they "deserve" to be rewarded is a _very_ dubious proposition. And cleverly, these advocates of a completely failed research program will decide where the next round of prizes go - thereby insuring that the prizes continue to go to advocates of their failed research program. Do you think that the chance of winning a $3 million prize is not going to have an distorting effect on the progress of physics theory?

And, by the way, how do the salaries of American athletes compare to football players in Europe and the rest of world?

Ignoramus much?

Apparently so.

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Holmes

Re: Er

> Do you think that the chance of winning a $3 million prize is not going to have an distorting effect on the progress of physics theory?

No.

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So he has made (and sometimes later withdrawn) completely unprovable claims about the universe and religion... but what truly useful, practical achievements has Hawking actually made in real science?

I suspect there are several hundreds if not thousands of scientists actually producing worthwhile results which are directly beneficial to humanity, who are far more worthy of that award.

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So he has made (and sometimes later withdrawn)

You seam to have missed one of the fundamental properties of science.

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Re: So he has made (and sometimes later withdrawn)

No, not at all - I understand that perfectly well. What I'm not aware of is where he has made a properly verified fantastic scientific discovery...

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You're suggesting theoretical physics is not "real science"?

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When it's down to the level of completely unprovable and probably unfalsifiable conjecture, yes - I'm saying it's not real science. Philosophy, certainly - which has its place - but not useful science.

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@Neil B

'Course it's not "real science". No airships, no robots, no doomsday devices, no jet packs.

Hawking is of no use whatsoever in the field of mad real science.

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Re: @AJ Macleod

Nope, he's saying what Stephen Hawking is a Philosopher rather than a Scientist.

By my understanding though there's a lot more maths involved in what Stephen Hawking does than what's involved in traditional Philosophy.

Some of that maths even proves or disproves things, apparently, it's beyond my ken.

Just because I don't understand it doesn't make it unscientific though, possibly it is in fact the distillation of science to it's purest form, depending on who you ask.

The physicist frowns at the chemist who in turn frowns at the biologist, which of them is the most "science-y"

Perhaps in the same way that Technology can appear as magic to the uninitiated, Theoretical physics can appear as philosophy to the uninitiated (which is quite a large percentage of the population, myself included)

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Anonymous Coward

@Christopher Michaelis Re: @AJ Macleod

Odd, that you know how to write, but not how to read.

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Re: @AJ Macleod

The physicist frowns at the chemist who in turn frowns at the biologist, which of them is the most "science-y"

http://xkcd.com/435/

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Joke

What about the Hawking radiators?

If they hadn't installed the Hawking Radiators at the LHC we would all be swallowed up into tiny black holes!

$3M hardly covers his services to humanity.

Of course they also made sure their Heisenberg insurance policy was paid and installed a Schroeder cat flap in the back door at the LHC so they could deliver valid results.

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Coat

Perhaps, then again, go to the bank and choose your self the ones you think deserve your millions.

Nice to see Hawking without the "s" though.

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Joke

Re: What about the Hawking radiators?

Schrodinger's cat has 18 half-lives?

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Joke

Re: What about the Hawking radiators?

But what does it turn into once it decays? Maybe a mouse? oh the irony

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Anonymous Coward

And so, Dr. Hawking dictates an email

From:

Dr. Stephen Hawking

To:

Jessie James

Monster Garage

Subject: RFQ: modifications to my wheelchair

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Facepalm

"The Fundamental Physics Prize underlines the value of fundamental physics to society"

Not saying it's not well-deserved, but technically it only underlines the value of fundamental physics to a Russian billionaire, not society.

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That's a bit unfair....

Is he not a part of society then?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That's a bit unfair....

You seem to think that "one particular Russian billionaire' is somehow equivalent to 'the whole of society".

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Re: That's a bit unfair....

Well what is "the whole of society then"?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That's a bit unfair....

If he gave it to some girls at spearmint rhino we'd see just as much negativity.

He can give his money to whomever he likes, just because he didnt give any to you, you get all shirty

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Boffin

Every scientist to a greater or lesser extent is also a philosopher?

And while it may or may not be true that the public persona or image of Prof Hawking on tv and/or in print is closer to being a philosopher maybe that is because he is using words that most people understand rather than the physical modelling he may be using in his professional academic and research jobs?

Will the prize also turn into something like the Nobel prize over time?

Maybe a link to Prof Hawking's research papers available to his peers might speak for themselves?

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Boffin

Or look at Google Scholar

Right here

Not only has he got a huge list of publications, having 4-figure citation counts on so many papers does mean something (at minimum that the authors of that many papers claim to have read those works ;-) )

Yes there are other physicists who deserve such a price. Maybe next time?

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FAIL

mail.ru?

In my experience mail.ru is a malware outfit. I have cleared many infections from friends/family.

Did stuff like browser hijack, enforced home page, search result hijack and tough to remove tool bar shit.

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TRT
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Re: mail.ru?

Exactly. I expect that in order to claim the prize all he has to do is send them a £600 bank payment clearance fee by Western Union transfer...

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FAIL

Re: the comments that theoretical physics is not "proper science".

What is it about theoretical physics that you don't think is scientific?

Quantum physics is born from experimental results that did not square with the common sense of the time.

Then, theories were formed based on those results.

Then the theories were tested by making predictions: that's what the LHC is all about FFS.

Predictions are made regarding gravitational lensing, and even Hawking radiation and can be proved by atronomical observation.

There is a lot of maths in physics but that is a means to an end in terms of theory formation.

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Alert

I hope all these great minds don't quit science

and spend the rest of their days in private swimming pools drinking champagne.

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Anonymous Coward

"The Milner's Prize"

Keep the money in the cult*. HHOS

It's pretty difficult to know who deserves a prize much less money when there is no competition. So of course it's his to give to whomever. Though if it has anything to do with the Cult of Science*, I personally wouldn't put any weight on it.

* (If you don't know what I'm talking about, that's alright. I'm sure your happy just going with it because some other smart guy in lab coat said so.)

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Holmes

Hawking, a proper scientist?

Maybe, but is he better than Einstein?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zn7-fVtT16k

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WTF?

Let me fix that.

"The entrepreneur, who made his money from internet web firm Mail.ru and investing in Twitter, Spotify and Facebook..."

Should surely read:

"The entrepreneur, who made his money from internet web firm Mail.ru and investing in Twitter, Spotify and then lost a shitload of it investing in Facebook...."

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