Russian-Jewish billionaire gives out $22 million in science prizes


Russian-Jewish  billionaire Yuri Milner gave out nearly $22 million in Breakthrough Prize Awards for contributions to life sciences, math and physics.

Milner was joined Sunday night at a televised ceremony in Northern California’s Silicon Valley by prize co-founders Sergey Brin, a co-founder of Google, and his ex-wife, Anne Wojcicki; Alibaba founder Jack Ma and his wife, Cathy Zhang; and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

The prize was established three years ago in an effort to make the sciences more popular.

Animator Seth MacFarlane hosted the black-tie event at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. Singer Pharell Williams performed.

The 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, worth $3 million, was presented to Ian Agol of the University of California, Berkeley and the Institute for Advanced Study.

Five Life Sciences prizes of $3 million each were presented to Edward Boyden of MIT; Karl Deisseroth of Stanford and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; John Hardy of University College London; Helen Hobbs of the University of Texas’ Southwestern Medical Center and Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

The prize in Fundamental Physics, worth $3 million, was awarded to five experiments investigating neutrino oscillation. It will be shared equally among all five teams, comprising 1,377 scientists.

Several other prizes, including the New Horizons awards that recognize the achievements of young scientists, were presented.

Milner announced in July that he would dedicate $100 million to a 10-year project launched with astrophysicist Stephen Hawking to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life.

Iran accuses Israel of plotting Bulgaria bus attack


Iran’s U.N. envoy accused Israel on Wednesday of plotting and carrying out a suicide bomb attack on a bus in Bulgaria a week ago in which five Israeli tourists were killed.

A suicide bomber blew up the bus in a car park at Burgas airport, a popular gateway for tourists visiting Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, killing himself, the Israeli tourists and the Bulgarian bus driver and wounding more than 30 people.

Israel has accused Iran and the Lebanese Islamist group Hezbollah of the bombing. Iran has denied the accusations.

“It’s amazing that just a few minutes after the terrorist attack, Israeli officials announced that Iran was behind it,” Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee told a U.N. Security Council debate on the Middle East. “We have never and will not engage in such a despicable attempt on … innocent people.”

“Such terrorist operation could only be planned and carried out by the same regime whose short history is full of state terrorism operations and assassinations aimed implicating others for narrow political gains,” Khazaee said. “I could provide … many examples showing that this regime killed its own citizens and innocent Jewish people during the last couple of decades.

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Haim Waxman said Iran’s fingerprints were all over the bomb attack in Bulgaria, as well as dozens of other plots in recent months around the world.

“These comments are appalling, but not surprising from the same government that says the 9/11 attack was a conspiracy theory and denies the Holocaust,” Waxman said in a statement.

Some analysts believe Iran is trying to avenge the assassinations of several scientists involved in its controversial nuclear program that it blames on Israel and the United States. Israeli diplomats have been targeted in several countries in recent months by bombers who the Jewish state maintained had struck on behalf of Tehran.

“The time has come for the world to put an end to this campaign of terror, once and for all,” Waxman said.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Jackie Frank

Iran accuses Israel of attacks on scientists


Iran has accused Israel of attacks on two Iranian nuclear scientists.

One of the scientists was killed and another injured Monday in two separate attacks in Tehran. The government of Iran immediately blamed the CIA and the Mossad—the intelligence agencies for the United States and Israel—for the bombing attacks, which reportedly were carried out by men on motorcycles.

Iranian state television blamed “Zionist agents,” according to reports.

Majid Shahriari, who was killed, and Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, who was injured in the attacks, were physics lecturers at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University; the attacks took place near the university. The scientists were senior figures in Iran’s nuclear program, according to reports.

“The Zionist regime this time shed the blood of university professor Dr. Majid Shahriari to curb Iran’s progress,” the office of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a statement posted on its website, according to the French news agency AFP.

Shahriari reportedly was working on a nuclear project for Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency.

The attacks come just days after Iran said its first nuclear plant was fully loaded with fuel rods and awaiting several tests before going online for the first time.

Kids Page


The Red Valley

Have you seen the Red Planet lately? A few weeks ago, Mars came closer to Earth than it has in thousands of years. Usually, Mars is 50 million miles away. Although it is now receding, it is still about 34 million away. That means that it’s 16 million miles closer than it has been in thousands of years!

On Mars, there is a valley called Ma’adim Vallis. Scientists think it was created by water that gouged out a lake. The name for the valley was taken from the Hebrew word for Mars: Ma’adim, which comes from another Hebrew word, adom (red).

Mitzvah Makers

Please tell us, in no more than 50 words, about a mitzvah that you or someone else did that you think would make a great story and be a great example to others.

Send your essay, including a photo of the mitzvah-doer,
to The Jewish Journal, 3580 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1510, Los Angeles, CA 90010.
If you do not have a photo, you can e-mail the essay to kids@jewishjournal.com . Deadline is Monday, Oct. 20, 2003.

You could win a $10 gift certificate.

Seeing Stars

F.W. Herschel, a Jewish astronomer who lived from 1738 to 1822 is one of the six astronomers represented on the Astronomers Monument at The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Herschel discovered the planet Uranus.