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November 19, 2018

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Scientists ponder the future of mankind

The Breakthrough Prize, known as the “Oscars of Science,” was launched in 2012 by a group of Silicon Valley billionaires, with big names in high-tech industries joining every year.

The US$22 million awards, sponsored by tech celebrities such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and newcomer Tencent’s Pony Ma, were given to scientists in life sciences, mathematics and physics at a ceremony last week, each winning US$3 million.

The winners included the first cure for a deadly baby disease called spinal muscular atrophy, a new kind of matter that only conducts electricity on its surface, and an enzyme that launches the body’s immune defense against infections and cancers. They were among hundreds of scientific breakthroughs and discoveries across the world — from spotting a new pulsar star in the heaven to inventing a new material on Earth.

Shanghai Daily talked to top scientists at the recent World Laureates Forum in Shanghai, where more than 30 renowned scientists including 26 Nobel laureates brainstormed in the city.

We found out what they thought about whether there are aliens, how much longer can human beings survive, whether we are to be substituted by robots, and whether we can communicate faster through quantum mechanics, among others.


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