Die Breakthrough Prize Foundation ist eine 2013 von den Facebook-Milliardären Marc Zuckerberg und Juri Milner gegründete Stiftung, die mit einem dreistelligen Millionenvermögen die finanziell höchstdotierten Preise im Bereich der Wissenschaften vergibt. (Breakthrough Prize, dreimal so hoch dotiert wie der Nobelpreis.) Zum aktuellen Kriegsgeschehen veröffentlicht sie ein Statement, das von Edward Witten als “disappointingly vapid” (enttäuschend leer) bezeichnet wird:
The Breakthrough Prize Foundation was established to help nurture humanity’s highest qualities. Honesty. Curiosity. Creativity. These values are at the root of all scientific progress. Science looks forward. It is our only reliable way to predict and protect the future, through the knowledge it reaps and the technologies it seeds.
War is the opposite. It shows humanity at its worst. It feeds on lies, prejudice, destructiveness. It breaks us apart, and chains us to the errors of the past. The current war in Ukraine is no exception.
The Enlightenment began half a millennium ago. Today, we have the knowledge to build a long, brilliant future for all humanity. But we will not reach it unless we are prepared to leave the anachronism of war behind.
In the light of the devastating war and tragic humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine, the Breakthrough Prize Foundation today pledges to make an emergency donation of $3 million to help the victims of the conflict. The funds will go to an international relief organization.
Stephen Hawking was convinced that humans must gain control over our aggressive instincts in order to survive. We owe it to ourselves, and the whole planet, to embrace our highest qualities.
Offenkundig als Reaktion auf dieses Statement hat die Mehrheit der bisherigen Preisträger (darunter alle Mathematiker bis auf Donaldson, Eskin, Kontsevich und Lafforgue) heute einen offenen Brief veröffentlicht:
We, recipients of the Breakthrough Prize, stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine in support of their unqualified right to peace, security, and self-determination.
We have watched Russia’s unprovoked attack with horror, as a nascent democracy fights for its life against a powerful neighbor with fearsome firepower. President Putin’s actions are cold-blooded, senseless, and entirely unjustified, violating both international law and the fundamental human rights of the Ukrainian people.
We stand in admiration of the many Russians, inside and outside the country, who have spoken out against this evil, including scientists, writers, and people from all walks of life. Many have done so at great personal risk, and we commend them for their courage.
Most of all, our hearts go out to the Ukrainian people, who are suffering unimaginable losses in this senseless war. We profoundly admire their bravery and sacrifice, which serve as a beacon to all who struggle for democratic self-determination and freedom.