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From giant businesses and charities to small organizations and non-profits, humans are capable of remarkable things when they collaborate. Often, the successful organizations are the ones with a shared objective and strategy.
Yuri Milner believes that the largest collective of all — human civilization — would also thrive with a common goal. He proposes that humanity’s mission is to explore and understand our Universe. This idea is the subject of his 2021 book Eureka Manifesto: The Mission for Our Civilization.
In Eureka Manifesto, Milner discusses humanity’s past, present, and future in the context of the Universal Story. The Universal Story is the story of everything we know about life on Earth and the wider Universe. It starts with the Big Bang and leads to this moment in human civilization.
Milner explains that our shared mission, to explore and understand the cosmos, arises naturally from the Universal Story. The very fact that we exist, and can gaze up at the stars and wonder how we got here, means we should continue searching for answers.
Until now, humans have often acted against their collective best interests. We tend to focus on short-term needs, blind to long-term risks and rewards. We squabble over plentiful resources and struggle to deploy them to solve our shared problems.
Pursuing our mission would allow human civilization to realize its potential, replacing our chaotic progress with a clear trajectory.
The Universal Story is far from over. According to Milner, the “human adventure” has only just begun. In Eureka Manifesto, he explains that science has helped us unravel and make sense of the Universal Story. Now, science will help us further our mission.
Milner believes that, to drive humanity’s progress, we must invest in scientists and their ideas. He and his wife Julia joined the Giving Pledge in 2012 to formalize this belief.
Soon after, the Milners set up the Breakthrough Foundation to invest in science-focused initiatives. The Breakthrough Foundation supports prominent researchers in fundamental science and mathematics. It also spreads scientific ideas to young people and invests in advanced space programs.
Here are the initiatives Milner’s Breakthrough Foundation supports and how they relate to the ideas he explores in Eureka Manifesto.
The Breakthrough Prize celebrates the world’s leading scientists. Each year, it awards prizes ranging from $50,000 to $3 million to researchers who are innovating in physics, the life sciences, and mathematics. Many refer to the star-studded Breakthrough Prize ceremony as the “Oscars of Science.”
Milner co-founded the Breakthrough Prize in 2012. The initiative links directly to his plan to advance the mission he outlines in Eureka Manifesto. This plan includes celebrating scientists as heroes, raising their profile and prestige to inspire the next generation of brilliant minds.
Inspiring young people to engage with science is also the motivation behind Milner’s Breakthrough Junior Challenge. The annual competition invites high school students to create and submit videos that simplify complex scientific ideas.
The Breakthrough Junior Challenge prizes include a $250,000 college scholarship, $50,000 for a teacher who inspired the winner, and a $100,000 science lab for their school.
The Breakthrough Initiatives are space science programs that work to uncover evidence of alien life and develop space travel technology. The multi-million-dollar programs also promote scholarly debate on these subjects and broader discussions of how we could communicate with aliens.
The Breakthrough Initiatives represent Milner’s commitment to fundamental research investment. His plan of action in Eureka Manifesto specifies that humanity should invest resources into fundamental science and space exploration. Funding these areas is important as they’re the most fertile ground for transformative technologies and discoveries.
Tech For Refugees is Milner’s latest initiative. He launched the non-profit in 2022 to support refugee relief efforts through technology. Tech For Refugees partners with organizations like Flexport.org and UNICEF USA and funds their humanitarian aid programs.
In Eureka Manifesto, Milner discusses how the power of technology — especially artificial intelligence — can drive scientific progress and significantly improve people’s lives.
I am James, a UK-based tech enthusiast and the Editor and Owner of Mighty Gadget, which I’ve proudly run since 2007. Passionate about all things technology, my expertise spans from computers and networking to mobile, wearables, and smart home devices.
As a fitness fanatic who loves running and cycling, I also have a keen interest in fitness-related technology, and I take every opportunity to cover this niche on my blog. My diverse interests allow me to bring a unique perspective to tech blogging, merging lifestyle, fitness, and the latest tech trends.
In my academic pursuits, I earned a BSc in Information Systems Design from UCLAN, before advancing my learning with a Master’s Degree in Computing. This advanced study also included Cisco CCNA accreditation, further demonstrating my commitment to understanding and staying ahead of the technology curve.
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