Cosmology, Pain, and Esoteric Mathematics Merit Million Dollar Shaw Prizes

For "profound" work in mathematics and for elucidating how the skin senses pain, respectively, Jean Bourgain of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and David Julius of the University of California, San Francisco, have become instant millionaires by each winning a Shaw Prize. The astronomy prize, also worth $1 million, will be split by Charles Bennett of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, Lyman Page of Princeton University, and David Spergel, also of Princeton for leading the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) experiment, which confirmed that dark energy and dark matter comprise most of the universe. WMAP's data also allowed cosmologists to refine the age and speed of expansion of the universe. The clearer understanding of the structure and age of the universe due to WMAP was Science's Breakthrough of the Year for 2003.

The prizes, to be awarded at a ceremony in Hong Kong in September, were established in 2004 by Hong Kong film mogul Run Run Shaw.