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NEW YORK (AP) — Nine scientists won awards Thursday for theories about the first moments of the universe, discoveries about the brain and techniques to let researchers see ever-tinier things.
The winners, announced by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, will share three $1 million Kavli Prizes. Awarded biennially since 2008, the prizes are named after philanthropist Fred Kavli, a native of Norway. Kavli died last November.
The prize for astrophysics goes to Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Andrei Linde of Stanford University, and Alexei Starobinsky of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. They were honored for developing the theory of inflation, which holds that the universe grew extremely quickly in the first split-second after its birth in the Big Bang.
The prize for neuroscience was awarded to Brenda Milner of McGill University in Montreal, John O’Keefe of University College London and Marcus Raichle of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Milner and O’Keefe linked specific regions of the brain to particular kinds of memory and mental skills. The prize for nanoscience, the study of structures smaller than a bacterium, for example, is shared by Thomas Ebbesen of the University of Strasbourg in France, Stefan Hell of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany and Sir John Pendry of Imperial College London.