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SBU News > Newsroom > Press Release > Faculty/Student Awards > Stony Brook Professor Alexander Zamolodchikov, Co-Winner for 2024 Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics

Stony Brook Professor Alexander Zamolodchikov, Co-Winner for 2024 Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics

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Zamolodchikov featured
Alexander Zamolodchikov, C.N.Yang/Wei Deng Endowed Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Stony Brook, NY — September 14, 2023–This morning, the Breakthrough Foundation announced the winners of the 2024 Breakthrough Prizes and Stony Brook University Distinguished Professor and C.N. Yang/Wei Deng Endowed Chair Alexander Zamolodchikov was named co-recipient of the Prize in Fundamental Physics. Zamolodchikov and co-winner, All Souls College, University of Oxford Professor John Cardy were cited “for profound contributions to statistical physics and quantum field theory, with diverse and far-reaching applications in different branches of physics and mathematics.”

The Breakthrough Prize honors an esteemed group of the world’s most brilliant minds for impactful scientific discoveries, including a subset responsible for substantial progress in the understanding and treatment of major diseases. The Prize – popularly known as the “Oscars® of Science” – was created to celebrate the wonders of our scientific age by founding sponsors Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, Julia and Yuri Milner, and Anne Wojcicki.

Professors Zamolodchikov and Cardy were recognized for their contributions of a “lifetime of deep insights into quantum field theories, which describe not only particle physics, but emergent phenomena from magnetism and superconducting materials to the information content of black holes and have also become a rich field of study in mathematics.”

“The Breakthrough Prize is a wonderful and well deserved recognition of Professor Zamolodchikov, a visionary physicist who has advanced fundamental research in physics throughout his incredible career,” said Stony Brook President Maurie McInnis. “The C. N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics and more generally Stony Brook’s Department of Physics and Astronomy continue to redefine the current field of theoretical physics, inspiring our students with some of the best and most exciting faculty in the world. As the inaugural C.N. Yang – Wei Deng Endowed Chair in Stony Brook’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, Professor Zamolodchikov has made an indelible impact not only on our institution but on human’s understanding of our shared reality.”

“Distinguished Professor Alexander Zamolodchikov is one of the most accomplished theoretical physicists worldwide,” said George Sterman, Director of the C. N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics and Distinguished Professor at Stony Brook University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.  “He has made groundbreaking advances, with enormous impact in many physics fields, such as condensed matter physics, quantum statistical physics and high energy physics, including our understanding of fundamental matter and forces. His insights have profoundly influenced the way that theoretical physicists think about foundational concepts, providing new paths that are being explored at many leading theoretical physics centers, including Stony Brook. As the first C.N. Yang – Wei Deng Professor of Theoretical Physics, he continues the tradition of theoretical physics at Stony Brook at the very highest level.”

This is the third Breakthrough Prize for Stony Brook University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and the second for the C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics. Alexander (Sasha) Zamolodchikov joins Distinguished Professor Emeritus Peter van Nieuwenhuizen as the winner of this high honor (for the discovery of supergravity) in 2019, joined by Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy Chang Kee Jung and his group for the fundamental discovery and exploration of neutrino oscillations with the Super-Kamiokande, K2K and T2K experiments in 2016.

The Prize’s latest slate of laureates are driving this revolution onwards. They include 11 winners of the Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences, Fundamental Physics, and Mathematics, sharing five $3 million prizes between them. The laureates will be celebrated next April 13th at the 10th annual Breakthrough Prize ceremony, held in Los Angeles. The Breakthrough Prize ceremony is the only one of its kind that places scientists on center stage, and is attended by luminaries in film, sports, comedy, and music, to lend their spotlight to shine on scientists.

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About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University — New York’s flagship university and No. 1 public university — is going far beyond the expectations of today’s public universities. It is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. With more than 26,000 students, more than 2,900 faculty members, more than 200,000 alumni, a premier academic healthcare system and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs, Stony Brook is a research-intensive distinguished center of innovation dedicated to addressing the world’s biggest challenges. The university embraces its mission to provide comprehensive undergraduate, graduate and professional education of the highest quality, and is ranked one of the top 80 universities in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges listing. Fostering a commitment to academic research and intellectual endeavors, Stony Brook’s membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places it among the top 71 research institutions in North America. The university’s distinguished faculty have earned esteemed awards such as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. Stony Brook has the responsibility of co-managing Brookhaven National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy — one of only eight universities with a role in running a national laboratory. Providing economic growth for neighboring communities and the wider geographic region, the university totals an impressive $7.23 billion in increased economic output on Long Island. Follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter(@stonybrooku)

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