National Geographic will once again air a live broadcast of the Breakthrough Prize ceremony, an annual awards show honoring the year’s leading scientists and researchers for their contributions to the fields of fundamental physics, life sciences and mathematics. The December 4 ceremony will be hosted by Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman and feature a performance by 15-time Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys, among other celebrity appearances. Following the live presentation, an edited one-hour version will air on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 7:00PM ET/PT on the FOX network and globally on National Geographic in 171 countries and 45 languages.
“We are proud to join forces with Don [Mischer, producer] and the Breakthrough Prize team not only to honor the best and brightest in science shaping the world of today and tomorrow, but also to bring this important event to the broadest global audience possible,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO of National Geographic Global Networks, ahead of last year’s awards. “National Geographic was founded on the spirit of mavericks, and this partnership affords us the opportunity to continue this great tradition by recognizing those who are breaking barriers and expanding the limits of possibility.”
Now in its fifth year, the Breakthrough Prize is one of the most lucrative awards in the world of science, recognizing both outstanding career achievement and emerging talent. Across the three categories of fundamental physics, life sciences and mathematics, eight $3 million awards will be given to 12 individuals. Additionally, another six $100,000 prizes will be awarded to the 10 winners of the New Horizons in Physics and Mathematics Prizes.
For the second year in a row, the ceremony will also recognize the winner of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, which asks students from around the world ages 13-18 to make a short film that brings to life an important scientific idea. The winning student will win a $250,000 scholarship, as well as a state-of-the-art science lab for his/her school. The student’s teacher will also win $50,000. In total, the Breakthrough Prize will award $25 million throughout the ceremony this year.
Tech industry leaders Sergey Brin (Google), Anne Wojcicki (23andMe), Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan (Facebook), Yuri Milner and Julia Milner (DST Global), and Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang (Alibaba) launched the prize in 2012 in order to celebrate scientists and generate excitement about the pursuit of science as a career. Vanity Fair editor Gradyon Carter joins them this year as a lead sponsor.
Learn more about this year’s Breakthrough Prize and browse clips from last year’s ceremony, hosted by Seth MacFarlane.