Jewish Russian tech investor Yuri Miller made instant millionaires out of nine renowned physicists when he transferred $3 million to their banks accounts this week, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
Among the nine recipients of the Fundamental Physics Prize, which was established by Milner, was Israeli Professor Nathan Seiberg of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, NJ, whose research focuses on various aspects of string theory, quantum field theory, and particle physics.
Eliezer Rabinovici of the Hebrew University's Racah Institute of Physics told Yedioth that Seiberg was the first Israeli to be accepted as a member at the IAS.
"We are all very proud of him," Rabinovici said.
Seiberg previously worked at the Weizmann Institute
According to the New York Times, Milner is a former physics student who dropped out of graduate school in 1989 and later earned billions investing in Internet companies such as Facebook and Groupon.
NYT reported that Milner declined to explain in detail how he selected which accomplishments to honor or why all of the winners are men. "I truly see this as a start," Milner said. "Going forward, it’s going to be up to the committee to make those considerations."
Alan H. Guth, a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was also among the winners. "It knocked me off my feet," NYT quoted the professor as saying.
Guth said that before the transfer his bank account had a balance of $200. "Suddenly, it said, $3,000,200," he said. "The bank charged a $12 wire transfer fee, but that was easily affordable."