I just heard that the newest and most lucrative prize in physics has been awarded to eight noted theorist. Each of them will receive $3 million for their lifetime of contributions to the fundamentals of physics. And unlike the Nobel prize, this one doesn't get divided (and it is focused more on the theorists than experimentalists).

For those who haven't heard of this prize, it was set up by a Russian theoretical physicist and Internet entrepreneur who wanted to encourage research in fundamental physics. Some people have argued of late that other prizes such as the Nobel have become too conservative and no longer serve to recognize important (but unconfirmed) contributions in the fundamentals of science.  

For example, two of the inaugural recipients of the Fundamental Prize are Guth and Linde, who developed the theory of cosmic inflation thirty years ago. It hasn't been definitively confirmed in experiments, but it is such a simple solution to several problems, and has withstood numerous experimental tests, that very few physicists seriously doubt its validity anymore. 

This new prize should be more interesting to watch over time.

This year eight prizes were awarded, but in future they will award only one or two per year. The plan is to have previous winners serve as a jury to determine which ideas in fundamental science or theoretical physics have had the biggest impact on the academic world, and to reward such powerful theories by awarding $3 million to their creators. 

Congratulations to all of the inaugural winners!