Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Initiatives: An Overview of the 2022 Breakthrough Discuss Conference

Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Initiatives: An Overview of the 2022 Breakthrough Discuss Conference

On June 22-23 2022, the Breakthrough Discuss conference, which has grown out of Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Initiatives, took place at UC Santa Cruz. While local delegates picked up valuable insights at the California-based event, virtual attendees from further afield participated in the conference online.

Before Breakthrough Discuss, there wasn’t a major, regular forum for scientific discussion in this field. But the one-of-a-type conference provides a space for industry leaders to illuminate cutting-edge, thorough scientific discussions, as opposed to speculation.

The 2022 Breakthrough Discuss Conference

The NASA Ames Research Center, ASU Interplanetary Initiative, UC Berkeley Radio Astronomy Lab, California Institute of Technology, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics hosted the annual, academic conference, which sits at the forefront of space science innovation and delves into topics surrounding life in the universe and unique ideas for space exploration.

This year, the Breakthrough Discuss conference showcased the latest generation of small-scale, low-cost, fast spacecraft and instruments, which are having a major impact on space science. Fascinating sessions from the conference included: “Using Artificial Intelligence to Discover New Rules of Our Universe,” “Recording the Evolution of the Universe with the Cosmic Microwave Background,” “Hunting Axions with Metamaterials: the ALPHA detector,” and “ScienceCraft for Outer Planet Exploration.”

The Three Components of the Breakthrough Discuss Conference

The three main components of the 2022 conference included:

  1. A Bigger Bang for Your Buck, which focused on affordable and innovative concepts for cosmological measurement.
  2. Low-Mass Transit, which focused on light, fast, cost-effective ways to explore the solar system and beyond.
  3. New Outlooks on Life, which focused on new approaches to detecting life and intelligence beyond earth.

These discussion segments explored the search for intelligent life and civilisations beyond Earth, habitable exoplanets, and other potential homes for primitive cellular life, not to mention the potential for our civilization to explore the galaxy using advanced space flight technologies.

Breakthrough Discuss’ Notable Guest Speakers

Speakers and attendees from a variety of scientific fields meet and cross-pollinate at the Breakthrough Discuss conference, which welcomes astronomers, astrophysicists, planetary scientists, astrobiologists, biologists, chemists, astronauts, computer scientists, and other specialists.

At the 2022 conference, industry thought leaders came together to speak on the theme, “Watch This Space! Innovations for a Low-Cost Future.” These speakers discussed the search for bio and techno-signatures, unveiled new innovations in cosmology, and explained how to reduce costs and broaden our presence in the solar system.

Speakers at the 2022 conference included Arizona State University’s Suzanne Staggs and Phil Mauskopf, Planetary Science Institute’s Slava Turyshev and Amanda Hendrix, University of Toronto’s Cherry Ng, and UC Berkeley SETI Research Center’s Steve Croft.

About Breakthrough Initiatives and Yuri Milner

Technology investor and science philanthropist Yuri Milner is the creator of Breakthrough Initiatives, a suite of space science programs that examine fundamental questions about life on planet Earth. He is also the author of the Eureka Manifesto, which explores humanity’s role in the universe and how this role will evolve.

Yuri Milner is the founder of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, which as well as investing in the Initiatives’ pioneering space programmes also supports world-class scientific and mathematical researchers and works to raise awareness of the latest scientific concepts for the next generation. Yuri Milner also came up with the idea of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge which provides young people with the opportunity to enter a global video competition, in which they create short videos explaining big science and math ideas.

In 2012, Yuri Milner and his wife Julia joined Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates’ Giving Pledge, through which they provide funding to support fundamental science. Other world-leading technology entrepreneurs who have joined them in funding the Breakthrough Prizes are like Mark Zuckerberg, Ann Wojcicki, Priscilla Chan, and Sergey Brin.

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