Press Release

Winners of 2020 Breakthrough Prize Will Lead Discussions on Cutting-Edge Research with Inspiring “Ted” Talk –Style Sessions

By SpaceRef Editor
October 30, 2019
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Winners of 2020 Breakthrough Prize Will Lead Discussions on Cutting-Edge Research with Inspiring “Ted” Talk –Style Sessions


WHAT:        The 2020 Breakthrough Prize Symposium, held the day after the Breakthrough Prize Awards ceremony, features both current and former laureates leading “TED”-style talks on cutting-edge science research initiatives and the significance and future of scientific discovery.


Topics include future directions in pain therapy; the future of super gravity; protein folding – what it means for future health and how it impacts neurogenerative diseases; multi-dimensional mathematics; and how appetite is impacted by genetics.


Shep Doeleman, 2020 Laureate and leader of the 347-member, international Event Horizon Telescope team, will present The Next-Generation Event Horizon Telescope: Making Black Hole Movies in the Coming Decade.”


The event will conclude with three cross-disciplinary panel discussions between laureates past and present, about broad philosophical subjects around science and technology.  The topics of this year’s discussions include: Can Black Holes Reveal the Nature of Reality? The Future of Cancer Therapy, and How Do We Think About Higher Dimensions? 


For a detailed schedule of the program, visit



WHEN:        Monday, November 4, 2019

UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center
1675 Owens St.
San Francisco, CA


Breakthrough Prize Laureate Talks

9:30AM – 5:00PM PST


Evening Cross-Disciplinary Panel

5:30PM – 7:00 PM PST





 (9:30AM – 5:00PM PST)


10:30 AM  Beyond Opiates: Future Directions in Pain Therapy

David Julius, 2020 Laureate

10:55 AM  Signals from the Beginning of Time: Our Quest in the Next Decade

Jo Dunkley, 2020 New Horizons 

11:20 AM  Transmission of Misfolded Proteins in Neurodegenerative Disorders: Where Do We Go From Here?

Virginia Lee, 2020 Laureate

11:45 AM  Structure Hidden in Chaos: Past and Future

Alex Eskin, 2020 Laureate

12:10 PM  The Next-Generation Event Horizon Telescope: Making Black Hole Movies in the Coming Decade

Shep Doeleman, 2020 Laureate

1:35 PM  Will Nature Confirm Supersymmetry and Supergravity?

Dan Freedman | 2019 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

2:00 PM  10 Year Vision: Improving Upon Natural Protein Quality Control in the Setting of Disease

Arthur Horwich, 2020 Laureate

2:25 PM  Understanding Protein Folding in the Cell: Opportunities for Improving Human Life in the Decade Ahead

Ulrich Hartl, 2020 Laureate


2:50 PM  The Future of Supergravity: Dream of Reality?

Peter van Nieuwenhuizen, 2019 Laureate


3:45 PM  Supersymmetry: Reflections on the Future of a Symmetry from the Future

Sergio Ferrara, 2019 Laureate


4:10 PM  To Eat, or Not to Eat?

Jeffrey Friedman, 2020 Laureate

4:35 PM  New Perspectives into the Universe in the Coming Era of Multi-Messenger Astronomy

Samaya Nissanke, 2020 New Horizons



(5:30 – 7:00PM PST)


Can Black Holes Reveal the Nature of Reality?

Shep Doeleman, Fundamental Physics, 2020 Laureate; Andrew Strominger, Theoretical Physics, 2017 Laureate; and Samaya Nissanke, Experimental Astrophysicist, 2020 New Horizons.

The Future of Cancer Therapy 

Napoleone Ferrera, Cancer Biologist, 2013 Laureate; Robert Weinberg, Cancer Biologist, 2013 Laureate; and Michelle Arkin, UCSF Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry.


How Do We Think About Higher Dimensions? 

Alex Eskin, Geometer; 2020 Laureate; Emmy Murphy, Geometer; 2020 New Horizons Geometer and Terence Tao, Number Theorist; 2015 Laureate.

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES: All events are free and open to the media, but seating is limited. Please RSVP to Emily Gest / / 917-690-7823.


The Breakthrough Prize Symposium partners include Stanford University, the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of California, Berkeley.


The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences honors transformative advances toward understanding living systems and extending human life. The Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics honors the world’s best mathematicians who have contributed to major advances in the field. The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics recognizes major insights into the deepest questions of the Universe.


For more information on the Breakthrough Prize, visit The symposium can be viewed live on the Breakthrough Prize Facebook page.


SpaceRef staff editor.