Russian tycoon kicks off physics prize with $27 million in awards

Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner inaugurated his new prize program for fundamental physics today with a big bang: awards of $3 million each to nine of the world’s best-known theorists.

Among the honorees are MIT’s Alan Guth and Stanford’s Andrei Linde, who developed the theory of cosmic inflation that currently stands as the most widely accepted model for the expansion of the universe.

In a Stanford news release, Linde said he could hardly believe what he was hearing when a telephone caller told him about the prize. At first, he told the caller that he’d have to think about accepting the money.

“Then I realized that I was making the most stupid joke of my life, and said that I would of course accept it,” he said. “It’s a huge prize. It’s unbelievable.”

The newly minted Fundamental Physics Prize is now the world’s richest academic award, eclipsing the $1.2 million Nobel Prize as well as the $1.7 million Templeton Prize for science and spirituality.

Milner, 50, is himself a trained physicist who began his business career as an banking specialist and built up his fortune through a string of Internet investments, including stakes in Facebook, Zynga and Groupon. This year, Forbes estimated his net worth at $1 billion.

The $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize is to be awarded annually by the nonprofit Milner Foundation to recognize “transformative advances in the field.” The $3 million prize may also be given at any time outside the formal nomination process “in exceptional cases,” according to today’s announcement from the foundation.

“I hope the new prize will bring long overdue recognition to the greatest minds working in the field of fundamental physics, and if this helps encourage young people to be inspired by science, I will be deeply gratified,” Milner said in the announcement.

Promising junior researchers will be eligible for a different $100,000 annual award known as the New Horizons in Physics Prize.

To kick off the program, nine $3 million prizes were awarded today, and the nine recipients were invited to help select future honorees. In addition to Guth and Linde, the recipients include four string theorists at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton: Nima Arkani-Hamed, Juan Maldacena, Nathan Seiberg and Edward Witten. The three other honorees are Caltech’s Alexei Kitaev, who focuses on quantum computing; Russian mathematician Maxim Kontsevich; and Indian string theorist Ashoke Sen.

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Digital Solid State Propulsion Awarded Second Prize in 2012 NewSpace Business Plan Competition

http://spacefrontier.org/2012/07/space-ground-amalgam-wins-competition/

Digital Solid State Propulsion Awarded Second Prize

The competition judges have awarded Space Ground Amalgam, LLC first place in the 2012 NewSpace Business Plan Competition and presented them with the $100,000 prize.Digital Solid State Propulsion, LLC earned second place in the competition and the $10,000 prize. In a last minute addition, Honorable Mention is given to Terapio Corporation for providing an unusually commendable technology that will address one of the inherent risks of space settlement. The hosting organization, the Space Frontier Foundation, and judges congratulate the winners and thank all the finalists for their participation. The awards were presented on July 28th at the NewSpace Awards Gala, the culminating event of the NewSpace 2012 Conference.

“All three of the winners provide key disruptive technologies and are outstanding candidates for institutional funding,” said Thomas M. Atchison, one of five competition judges and Chairman of the Mavericks Civilian Space Foundation. “These companies, their products, technologies and services, will bring down the barriers to commercial activity in space.”

The judges feel that all of the finalists deserved to be in the running and that the competition was very strong. The judges encourage all the finalists to continue to seek funding, as all are viable. The finalists presented their business plans to the entire NewSpace 2012 Conference on July 27th, after honing them during the previous two days of business plan boot camp with industry professionals and investment experts.

“This competition is becoming the premier event for finding investment opportunities and deals related to disruptive technologies of the future,” said Eva-Jane Lark, a competition judge and vice-president of the BMO Nesbitt Burns investment firm in Canada. “I recommend all institutional and angel investors look to the 2013 NewSpace Business Plan Competition for more innovative technologies to consider.”

The Space Frontier Foundation and judges would like to extend their heartiest thanks to NASA’s Emerging Commercial Space Office for its generosity in providing funding for this prize. The dramatic increase in prize money inspired a new level in quality and quantity of competitors. By supporting this competition, NASA and the Office of the Chief Technologist are truly enabling commercial space companies to meet its needs and the needs of the space industry as a whole, and we hope to see further supports from NASA for this type of activity in the future.

The Space Frontier Foundation also sincerely thanks the judges, bootcamp coaches, sponsors and all who worked on the 2012 NewSpace Business Plan Competition. Their contributions were truly invaluable.

Another CrowdFunding Site: http://spacehive.com/

What is Spacehive?

The world’s first funding platform for neighbourhood improvement projects. We make it as easy for you to buy a new park or playground for your area as buying a book online.

Spacehive is powered by an all-or-nothing funding model which means projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.

Who can fund a project on Spacehive?

  • Local people with brilliant ideas – like creating relaxing green spaces, shiny new sports facilities, or giving the high street a makeover.
  • Design professionals with imaginative plans that they think communities will like.
  • Public bodies looking for a way of funding capital projects.
  • Businesses and brands keen to leave a tangible community legacy.

Spacehive helps people fund the capital costs of one-off projects, not ongoing running costs. Projects must have a clear deliverable – an asset that you can touch, see and access.

Learn more about our project guidelines.

Who are the key players involved in creating and supporting projects?

  • Funder: someone that pledges money to a project (and pays if it goes ahead). A funder could be a local resident, business, grant body, brand sponsor, or the council.
  • In-kind contributor: someone offering a thing, not cash. For example a company might pledge trees, labour, or materials like paving.
  • Project Promoter: the person or organisation leading the campaign to make their project a reality. Promoters manage the project pages on Spacehive.com.
  • Project Delivery Manager: the person or organisation responsible for receiving and spending the money raised and ensuring the project is delivered as promised. Project Delivery Managers are able to hire contractors, architects, suppliers etc to get the project done. It doesn’t matter if the Project Delivery Manager is also the Project Promoter.
  • Contractor: the firm responsible for building or installing the project.

Why do people support projects?

Everyone wants to improve their local area. Sometimes it’s to increase the quality of life by creating a nice relaxing green space, or somewhere for the kids to play. Sometimes it’s for economic reasons – transforming a drab high street into a place that people want to visit is good for business.

My project is only little. Is Spacehive for me?

Absolutely. You can use Spacehive to fund anything from goal posts to grand pedestrian promenades. If the community support you and you can get the necessary permission, go for it.

What’s the maximum amount I can raise?

There is no restriction on the amount of money you can raise.

How risky is the process? What if I pledge money and the project doesn’t get built?

Spacehive reviews every project before it can start fundraising. We require:

  • Promoters to provide evidence of the viability of their project – like planning permission, full costings, and a contingency fund, if appropriate.
  • Project Delivery Managers to sign an agreement accepting responsibility for receiving and spending funds raised and overseeing delivery of the project.

Once these things are confirmed, the project’s status is updated to “Verified”. The project is then free to start fundraising.

The two payment systems we use are extremely secure:

  • PayPal is one of the world’s most trusted payments services and
  • Transpact is a secure online escrow service registered with the Financial Services Authority and HMRC.

On top of that, every Spacehive project must be fully-funded before any money changes hands. So funders only pay if the project actually goes ahead.

It doesn’t mean that funding a project is risk free – there’s always a chance the builders could find Roman ruins – but the system does help to protect funders.

Does Spacehive acquire any ownership or intellectual property rights over projects it helps to fund?

Absolutely not. The project becomes the property of the landowner – often the local authority.

How do I start a project?

Go to the “Create A Project” page and click “Let’s Get Started”. It only takes a few minutes to post a project concept, and a little longer if you’ve got a fully-developed project plan that’s ready to fund.

About Spacehive^ Top

Who is Spacehive?

Chris Gourlay, Rod Schwartz, Maddie Yullie, Niraj Dattani, Chris Campbell and Andrew Teacher.

We are advised by Chris Satterthwaite, Charles Mills, Elizabeth Buchanan, Sunand Prasad, Eric Reynolds, Leon Benjamin and Victoria Thornton. Spacehive is grateful to receive support from Deloitte and its subsidiary Drivas Jonas Deloitte, as well as the Lottery-funded Big Venture Challenge initiative.

We’re based in central London. Check out our team page for more!

Who supports Spacehive?

Spacehive is grateful to have received funding from the BIG Lottery Fund’s Big Venture Challenge initiative, UnLtd, and a group of socially-conscious investors. We have received substantial in-kind support from Deloitte, as part of their drive to support innovation in the social enterprise sector. Deloitte’s subsidiary, Drivas Jonas Deloitte, played a key role in designing Spacehive’s innovative contractual framework, which helps communities commission and fund projects in public space without depending on councils. Spacehive is also supported by the Nexters programme.

We are currently working with a range of organisations to help communities develop projects. These include: the Royal Institute of British Architects, Design for London, London 2012, and Your Square Mile, as well as several corporates and a large number of local community organisations and councils.

Where can I find out more about Spacehive on the web?

You can find Spacehive on Twitter and Facebook, as well as keeping up to date on what we’re doing by checking our blog.

How can I contact Spacehive?

There’s a “Contact” link at the bottom of this page, in the site footer.

Crowdfunding Civic Projects — Interest Groups Playground or a Cost Cutting Solution?

http://www.govloop.com/m/blogpost?id=1154385%3ABlogPost%3A2286308

Did you ever have something that you wanted done in your community — but your elected leaders wouldn’t pay attention or kept saying that they don’t have the money. What if you could have like minded people come together to help fund those projects. The idea — the crowdfunding of civic projects — has some people interested.

There are still many questions, but some are looking at it.

 

Neighbor.ly creator and CEO Jase Wilson told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program how it works.


The Neighbor.ly model is not just for individuals to help pay for civic projects, but it also allows corporations to participate. 

“For this to work there has to be another level of commitment. We have a success and a failure trigger. Money sits in an escrow account until a project is approved by the government. If it’s not approved the money goes back to the original investors,” said Boly. 

Here’s a video on one of Neighbor.ly’s project: The Kansas City Street Car.

 

Neighbor.ly is only a few weeks old. But Boly hopes the site will be able to work alongside the government for a long time.

The Mayor of Kansas City is on board with Neighbor.ly. He told the Huffington Post, “I can only imagine that other municipal leaders throughout this country will take his lead on backing programs like this as it is abundantly clear that federal dollars and the political climate in Washington, D.C. aren’t getting any better. Cities across the country are having big budget problems. They are facing skyrocketing interest rates on money they borrow to pay for new amenities. This makes new projects and amenities less and less likely. However, these are the very projects that raise a tax base, create jobs, and lead to economic growth and development. This is one reason why civic crowdfunding is the next big thing. I don’t see any elected official being against a private entity raising money as basically a down payment on new infrastructure that elevates civic pride and builds a better community.”

If you want to know more about how the financials work at Neighbor.ly click here

But we want to know what you think. Is CivicFunding the savior for local governments? Or is it a way for special interest groups to get their projects passed?

Space Ground Amalgam Wins 2012 NewSpace Business Plan Competition

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=37972

Digital Solid State Propulsion is Awarded Second Prize.

Silicon Valley, CA – The competition judges have awarded Space Ground Amalgam, LLC first place in the 2012 NewSpace Business Plan Competition and the $100,000 prize was presented by competition Project Manager, Tom Olson. Digital Solid State Propulsion, LLC earned second place in the competition, along with a $10,000 prize. In a last minute addition, Honorable Mention is given to Terapio Corporation for providing an unusually commendable technology that will address one of the inherent risks of space settlement. The hosting organization, the Space Frontier Foundation, and judges congratulate the winners and thank all the finalists for their participation. The awards were presented on July 28th at the NewSpace Awards Gala, the culminating event of the NewSpace 2012 Conference.

“All three of the winners provide key disruptive technologies and are outstanding candidates for institutional funding,” said Thomas M. Atchison, one of five competition judges and Chairman of the Mavericks Civilian Space Foundation. “These companies, their products, technologies and services, will bring down the barriers to commercial activity in space.”

The judges feel that all of the finalists deserved to be in the running and that the competition was very strong. The judges encourage all the finalists to continue to seek funding, as all are viable. The finalists presented their business plans to the entire NewSpace 2012 Conference on July 27th, after honing them during the previous two days of business plan boot camp with industry professionals and investment experts.

“This competition is becoming the premier event for finding investment opportunities and deals related to disruptive technologies of the future,” said Eva-Jane Lark, a competition judge and vice-president of the BMO Nesbitt Burns investment firm in Canada. “I recommend all institutional and angel investors look to the 2013 NewSpace Business Plan Competition for more innovative technologies to consider.”

The Space Frontier Foundation and judges would like to extend their heartiest thanks to NASA’s Emerging Commercial Space Office for its generosity in providing funding for this prize. The dramatic increase in prize money inspired a new level in the quality and quantity of competitors. By supporting this competition, NASA and the Office of the Chief Technologist are truly enabling commercial space companies to meet its needs and the needs of the space industry as a whole, and we hope to see further support from NASA for this type of activity in the future.

The Space Frontier Foundation also sincerely thanks the judges, boot camp coaches, sponsors and all who worked on the 2012 NewSpace Business Plan Competition. Their contributions were truly invaluable.

Company Descriptions:

Space Ground Amalgam provides inflatable satellite reflector components to meet and increase higher industry bandwidth demands, while reducing launch costs and increasing design flexibility. Their technology can also be used for booms and solar arrays. The founders are Rick Sanford, Michael Potter, Chris Stott, Dr. Raz Itzhaki Tamir and Daniel Rockberger. They are seeking funding of $3.5M and their market consists of satellite companies for HDTV, Mobile TV, high-speed Internet, bi-directional cellular, NASA, GPS, military, industry and academia. www.spacegroundamalgam.com

Digital Solid State Propulsion, LLC has created the world’s first “smart energetic materials” that are a game-changing platform technology for diverse industries and applications. DSSP’s high performance electrically controlled solid and liquid propellants replace the 50-year old technologies that are still the industry standards today. The founder is Dr. Wayne Sawka and DSSP is seeking $6M in funding. The target markets are space and tactical rocket propulsion, gun systems, ignition systems, warheads, oil/mining explosives and entertainment pyrotechnics. www.dsspropulsion.com

Terapio Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutics based on the membrane-associated RLIP76 protein. Initial applications include developing the RLIP76 protein as a countermeasure for radiation exposure to civilian, military and first responder populations. The founders are consists of Dr. Casey Cunningham, Kevin Lalande and Dr. Sanjay Awasthi. They are seeking $10M in funding. Their target markets include an unmet public safety and national defense need both domestically and abroad, with customers such as the NIH, DoD and NASA. The estimated global market size for radiation countermeasures (RCM) is $400M annually. www.terapio.com

IDEO Make-a-thon Thanks & Recap!

https://openideo.zendesk.com/entries/21033302-ideo-make-a-thon-thanks-recap?u…

 

Thanks to everyone who attended the IDEO Make-a-thon this weekend!

Your enthusiasm, passion, creativity and skills helped make the prototype of this event spectacular and generated some truly original ideas.

We hope you enjoyed the event as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

If you want to continue work on the 8 OpenIDEO open-source projects from the IDEO Make-a-thon, please use the project brief links below. Please add your relevant links / files / images / photos, or videos from your projects. If you would like to leave comments and feedback about the event, please leave comments on this post.

Over the next few weeks we will be documenting our learnings from the prototype IDEO Make-a-thon on OpenIDEO Field Notes and IDEO Labs. Keep an eye out!

The photos of the Make-a-thon are up! Check them out here…

In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap of all the IDEO Make-a-thon teams and projects:

Village People

Brief: The Future of the Village Fête

Starting with the question ‘What is the urban fête?’ The Village People team created a new grassroots movement where London locals can plan and stage their own fête interventions. Prototypes included a fantastic brand, video testimonials from locals and a concrete ‘deaddrop’ where locals can share digital fête music.

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concrete_sml.jpg

Team: @brendandawes@neilchurcherCharlene LamEmilie Sheehan, Nazia Parvez, @robinhowieLawrence Willmott, Ivo Vos, Chris Grantham.

 

Team Xtreme

Brief: Boris Bikes for Tourists

Team Xtreme were tasked with improving the Boris Bike scheme for London visitors. They created a number of innovative prototypes including a receipt docket that gives you a sightseeing cycle route and a custom clip that can be used to mount cameras, maps, flowers to your Boris Bike.

Look out for the soon-to-be-released 3D product on thingiverse.com!

Screen_shot_2012-02-20_at_7.05.16_PM.png

Team: @basil@james_croft@falkowate@ithinkihaveacat@bedford2@hadleybeeman@jude.pullen

 

Karma Comedians

Brief: Postcode Gangs

The Karma Comedians team sought to bring locals together through a skills sharing interactive phone booth. They created a seamless experience prototype by joining up technologies such as Twillio, Skype and the iPad.

Check out the open source version of the code here: https://github.com/andypiper/karma

Team: @andypiper@dnw1710, Haley Stopford, @tburrellsaward@vbrooksy, Steve O’Connor.

 

Bikewell

Brief: Cycle Safety 3.0

The Bikewell team looked at cycle safety on London streets and created a service to teach people about cycle safety as well as a series of smart bike lights that react to cars when they’re too close, or post messages to drivers in traffic.

Checkout the video of the working bike light prototype here: 

Team: @roseofwinterJosah Emsley, Larissa Seilern, @cactuslouise, Oliver Poyntz, @jeremy_ih 


Amnesty International

As part of the Make-a-thon, we also worked with 4 briefs for Amnesty in tackling unlawful detention.
Thanks to @amy_bonsall and @AmnestyInternational

Protect Yourself

Brief: Amnesty Advice Platform and Amnesty Action on Google

Protect Yourself created a live prototype of an Amnesty Checklist platform where activists, family and friends can seek advice about unlawful detention. The team worked with Amnesty subject matter experts to create the content for these checklists as well as building the platform to host them.

Take a look at the live prototype! http://hackweekend.info/

Team: @bengmorgan@tezzutezzu@sabrinatucci@hisposyrian@danieltownsend

 

Don’t Panic

The team built an alert app and platform for signaling at risk situations using Google Maps and HTML5 technologies. Accessible via mobile browsers by those at risk, individuals can hit the alert button to register when they’re in danger of being taken, sending their location and details. A group of volunteers monitor the platform and in turn alert the relevant organizations.

Check out the live panic button: http://panicbutton.herokuapp.com/
And the monitoring interface: http://panicbutton.herokuapp.com/notifications

Screen_shot_2012-02-20_at_7.29.31_PM.png

Screen_shot_2012-02-20_at_7.29.39_PM.png

Team: Zaynab Leeya, @biancaUXD, Jill Irving

 

Activate

Brief: Amnesty Observer App

The team built an app to help people record and upload human rights violations. Using HTML5 and Phonegap, they were able to create a working app for the iPhone that allows users to record video or photos and upload details about the imagery to a secure server.

Team: @iliasbartolini@gridinoc, Ralf Rebmann, @tristamsparks

 

Watchdog

A web service for determining if an `at risk` activist has gone offline and may need help. The service monitors a user’s social media usage and alerts those in their network if they haven’t registered any activity for a period of time. This is a subtle way of detecting when someone may be missing, without relying on the person to be proactive.

Team: @ideesabsurdes@joelanman@junkafarian