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Mark Zuckerberg, Yuri Milner, Sergey Brin launch Breakthrough Prize (pictures)

At an inaugural presentation event at UCSF, the tech luminaries who sponsored the $33 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences say they want to turn scientists into heroes.

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Jennifer Van Grove
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1 of 8 James Martin/CNET

Facebook CEO backs $33M prize to extend human life

Mark Zuckerberg is lending his name and fortune to support developments in life sciences. He and his wife, Priscilla Chan, join Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Brin's wife Anne Wojcicki, and famed venture capitalist Yuri Milner as founding sponsors of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. The prize, a $3 million financial reward, will be given out annually to scientists working to cure complex diseases. This year, 11 scientists each received the prize.
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2 of 8 James Martin/CNET

Sergey Brin, prize co-sponsor, observes the presentation

The Google co-founder didn't speak on the panel, but he watched as wife Anne Wojcicki told students that scientists should be considered heroes.
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3 of 8 James Martin/CNET

Brin captures the event with Google Glass eyewear

Brin records the proceedings with Google's high-tech specs.
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4 of 8 James Martin/CNET

Yuri Milner makes a rare public appearance to discuss prize

Milner, one of the founding sponsors and an esteemed venture capitalist, attended the inaugural presentation event hosted by Susan Desmond Hellman, chancellor of the University of California.
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5 of 8 James Martin/CNET

Zuckerberg discusses why he's sponsoring the prize

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg appeared on the panel without wife Priscilla Chan, who's also a sponsor of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Zuckerberg told attendees that he hopes to draw attention to important research that will extend human life, and wants to inspire the next generation of scientists.
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6 of 8 James Martin/CNET

Milner joins Zuckerberg in celebrating science

Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Yuri Milner founded Digital Sky Technologies, now called Mail.ru Group. The firm has invested in a number of notable Internet companies, including Facebook.
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7 of 8 James Martin/CNET

Mark Zuckerberg discusses why he's sponsoring the prize

Zuckerberg said the sponsors deliberately decided not to name the Breakthrough Prize after any one individual, so as not to detract from the mission of inspiring scientists to cure diseases.
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8 of 8 James Martin/CNET

Anne Wojcicki speaks to students during UCSF presentation

Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe, is passionate about inspiring budding scientists to pursue groundbreaking research that will cure disease. That's why she's sponsoring the annual prize with her husband, Sergey Brin.

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